Chinese university patents: Quantity, quality, and the role of subsidy programs

C Fisch, Joern Block, P Sandner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

66 Citations (Scopus)


Chinese university patenting has gained importance in recent years. Using a comprehensive dataset of university patents by 155 leading Chinese universities from 1991 to 2009, our study pursues two objectives: First, we analyze the quantity and quality of patents filed by leading Chinese universities. Second, we analyze the role of subsidy programs with regard to university patenting in China. With regard to the first objective, our results show that university patents witnessed rapid growth in terms of quantity while patent quality did not increase to a similar degree. Regarding the second objective, we find that a subsidy program to promote research excellence at selected universities is a significant driver of patent quantity and quality. In contrast, a subsidy program that decreases the costs of patent applications seems to enhance patent quantity but not patent quality. We conclude that innovation policies which aim to stimulate patents of higher quality should focus primarily on increasing university R&D, and to a lesser extent on decreasing the costs of university patenting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-84
Number of pages25
JournalThe Journal of Technology Transfer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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