Shen Changyu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, congratulates a gold-medal patent winner at a ceremony in Beijing in mid-December. Zhang Zihong / For China Daily
The State Intellectual Property Office announced 25 winners of China's top patent awards in mid-December to "encourage interest in invention and improve patent quality".
Out of more than 1,000 candidates, mostly recommended by ministries, local IP authorities, trade associations and China's academicians of engineering and sciences, 20 were granted gold medals for inventions - ranging from energy and engineering to IT, new materials, electronics, food, medicine and agriculture - and five for industrial designs.
The awards focus on patent quality, technology advancement, economic value, market prospects and industry influence, SIPO Commissioner Shen Changyu said at a ceremony on Dec 15.
Since 1989, SIPO in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization has presented the annual awards to those that "have outstanding performance in patent creation, use, protection and management", Shen said.
This year's gold-medal winners generated 149.3 billion yuan ($23 billion) in sales, 33.4 billion yuan in profits and 10.4 billion yuan in exports by the end of 2014, organizers said.
One of the winners is a hybrid power system developed by automaker BYD. The system features a new type of clutch, which avoids planetary gears to increase mechanical reliability at reduced cost.
That was the first gold medal for patents for domestic new-energy vehicles, said Luo Hongbin, vice-president of the company.
With the nation facing energy shortages, excessive emissions and environmental pollution, developing new-energy vehicles has become a strategic need, Luo said.
The patented hybrid power system has broken an overseas technology monopoly and reduces both pollution and oil consumption, he said.
"We believe technology is the key to development - it can change our lifestyles and will ultimately change the world, so what we do is not just simply production expansion or wealth accumulation, but to use technologies to improve our environment," he said.
Jian Xigao, a professor of polymeric materials at Dalian University of Technology, led his team to redesign the molecular structure of a substance and develop a new type of material with solubility and high temperature resistance, which has been widely used in various sectors including aviation and space, nuclear energy, petrochemicals, electronics and rail transit.
Jian, who is also a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the audience that hundreds of researchers have been engaged over the past 25 years in the research that won the award, to meet the country's demand for new materials.
"Despite countless difficulties and sleepless nights, our faith in creation and innovation have never been shaken," the senior scientist said.
Wang Jianqing, vice-president of Dongxu Group, another gold-medal winner for its patented glass substrate technology, said, "The award is the epitome of our research over a span of nearly 20 years."
"Over the years, the market, environment and technology have all been changing, yet our belief in innovation remains the same," Wang said.
Wang Jiada, vice-president of Positec, a gold-medal winner for a pistol-shaped screwdriver industrial design, said the success in innovation has helped his company expand tenfold in sales and establish cooperation with mainstream retailers in the United States and Europe.
At the ceremony for the WIPO-SIPO Awards for Outstanding Chinese Patented Inventions and Industrial Designs, another 507 inventions and 57 industrial designs were granted awards for excellence.
Wang Binying, WIPO deputy director-general, cited a WIPO report saying that, since 2005, more than one-quarter of total patent filings worldwide in the frontier technology fields of 3-D printers, robotics and engineering have come from China.
"As China accelerates its integration into the international economic system, it is a trend that IP created in the country is sure to go global with Chinese products, investments and services," she said. "It is predicted that China's status will rise further on the global innovation landscape in the near future."