If a company registers its patent in one country, it is only protected in that country. Therefore companies need to register their patents in every single country were they want to be protected. Using the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), however, they can file patent applications in different countries in an efficient way: filing at patent applications in more than one country using one patent office. A real internatonal patent does not exist yet, but the second best is to get a bundle of national patents, using the PCT.
Is China a heavy PCT-user?
A press release of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) reports that Shenzhen based Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. filed the most Patent Cooperaton Treaty (PCT)-applications in 2008, namely 1,737. More than the 1,729 PCT-applications filed by Panasonic Corporation of Japan or the 1,551 patents by Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. of the Netherlands.
One other Chinese company, ZTE Corporation, also a Shenzen-based telecommunications company, ranks at the 38th position in the top 50 PCT applicants 2008 list. So Chinese companies in general might be not heavy PCT-user yet, but two Shenzhen ( 深圳市) companies certainly are.
The People's Republic of China improved by one place, to become the sixth largest user of the PCT (overtaking United Kingdom's position). It is expected that China will France's fifth position in 2009.Read more here.