China Is Creating a Huge Reservoir of Prior Art

When it comes to patents, the U.S. increasingly finds itself at a disadvantage in the innovation race with China. For example, AI patent applications from China significantly outpace those from the U.S., which means that China’s patent applications hurt U.S. innovators because they create a huge reservoir of “prior art.” This dramatically increases the amount of prior art that must be reviewed when examining a patent application. As a result, the patent examination process at Western patent offices becomes increasingly burdensome.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for inventors in the United States to obtain patents. They must prove that their inventions are not disclosed in prior art publications anywhere in the world – including Chinese language patent applications filed in China and internationally. To the extent that Chinese patents dominate prior art searches by patent offices around the world, the current dominance of U.S. patents in these global searches will erode. 

Chinese practice of over-declaration of patents in creating technical standards is also criticized. China’s companies over-identify patents as “standard-essential” in standards development organizations in order to have patents or patent applications available to them later on FRAND terms. However, standards development organizations leave the final determination of essentiality to private companies negotiating licenses in bilateral discussions between patent owners and patent users, or to the courts in the event of a dispute.

Source: Final Report – National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

Picture: kerttu /

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