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China Shipbuilding points to IP gains

The China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) has pointed to an increase in applied patents as evidence of gains towards independent innovation.

The corporation said on 26 April that in 2020 it applied for more than 12,000 patents: a year-on-year increase of 20%.

The company added that among these patents were more than 8,700 “invention patents”: an increase of 24% compared to a year earlier.

CSSC, which merged with its sister enterprise the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) in late 2019, also said that the cumulative number of patents that it has now applied for has reached more than 30,000.

“CSSC has implemented a high-quality development strategy, including the creation, use, protection, and management of intellectual property (IP) rights,” said a CSSC statement. “The strength of CSSC’s IP rights has been greatly improved.”

CSSC added that its efforts towards securing patents and IP were aligned with the Chinese government’s 14th Five Year Plan (FYP) and an associated commitment to develop the country’s shipbuilding capabilities.

The 14th FYP, which runs 2021–25, was formally launched by the Chinese government in March.

In terms of defence, the FYP’s top-level priorities are to “accelerate the modernisation of weapons and equipment [and] focus on independent innovation and original innovation in defence science and technology”.

According to the government, the FYP will also support China’s efforts to “accelerate the development of strategic frontier and disruptive technologies and accelerate the upgrading of weapons and equipment and the development of intelligent weapons and equipment”.

A key element of this innovation drive is China’s military-civil fusion strategy (MCF), which seeks to support gains in military capability through advanced commercial technologies and techniques.

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