Exclusive: American Law Firms Collaborate with Chinese Military to Obtain U.S. Patents
Patent Filings Part of CCP’s Made in China 2025 Plan.
As if our federal government weren’t asleep at the wheel enough when it comes to the Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration of the United States, we now have a federal agency actively aiding their military.
After reviewing public records from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Intrepid Research has discovered that the federal agency in charge of intellectual property protection has awarded hundreds of patents to dozens of Chinese military units and other Chinese government agencies.
While the FBI opens a new counterintelligence investigation into Chinese activities every 12 hours, the USPTO is awarding intellectual property protections to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), as well as the now-infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology, and the Ministry of Public Security, which oversees China’s domestic law enforcement and national police forces.
Additional Chinese government agencies, institutes, universities, labs, and state-owned enterprises have also been awarded U.S. patents. The majority of patents appear to be medically related, including vaccine research, though others cover dual-use technologies such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and information technology.
When a patent is filed in the U.S., the entity seeking the patent often hires an American law firm to serve as the “correspondent” to submit and handle the paperwork. Records show that dozens of American law firms across the country have served as collaborators in helping the Chinese military to acquire patents in the United States. Approximately 60 separate entities within the Chinese military have filed patents in the United States, if not more.
According to a 2018 report on Chinese patent ownership from the USPTO Office of the Chief Economist, “The share of patents (at least) partially owned by the Chinese reached 65 percent by 2016.” (See figure below)
Part of the Chinese Communist Party’s "Made in China 2025" plan includes increasing the number of Chinese-owned intellectual property protections and patents filed in foreign markets.
Upon further analysis of the U.S. patent database, awarding patents to foreign militaries does not appear to be common. A handful of patents were awarded to allied defense forces of Finland, India, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and quite a few to Israel, though no other foreign militaries were as overtly present in the database as China.
In December 2021, the U.S. Commerce Department added China’s Academy of Military Sciences to its trade blacklist. However, they are among the list of patent recipients.
Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, legal representatives of foreign entities are exempt from filing requirements as an “agent of a foreign principal” if the entity is disclosed before an agency of the U.S. government. However, assisting a foreign military could potentially violate the Logan Act.
As far back as March 2, 2011, in a hearing of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Congressman Frank Wolf grilled the then-head of the USPTO on why the agency had given China full access to the U.S. patent database, much less any access at all. The Director replied simply that it was public information.
Wolf elaborated, “China is doing espionage against us, cyber attacks against us, stealing from us. We have had IGs from different committees, Commerce, NASA telling us about the cyber attacks by the Chinese government. Why would you cooperate in any way at all?...I do not think you ought to give the Chinese anything, period. And we are going to officially ask you not to give the Chinese anything. China is taking jobs from the United States. The manufacturing base is eroding in the United States. As the manufacturing moves offshore, the research and development and innovation moves offshore. The Administration has said they want jobs here in America, not jobs in China. This material should not be given to the Chinese in any form, in any way.”
Made in China 2025
An economic, industrial, and manufacturing strategy called “Made in China 2025” was released by China’s State Council in 2015. One of the targeted sectors for growth was intellectual property and patent acquisition.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), between 2015 and 2020, Chinese patent applications abroad increased 56%. Chinese patents granted abroad increased 64%. Another WIPO report called the Global Innovation Index 2021, ranks China first for patents by origin stating, “China’s levels of patents by origin, scaled by GDP, are higher than those of Japan, Germany and the United States.”
To aid their effort, the Chinese military is not just hiring any law firms to file their patent applications. Fifteen of the American law firms that collaborated with the Chinese military to acquire patents are listed among U.S. News’ Best Law Firms for Patent Law rankings.
The following is a list of collaborators who obtained U.S. patents on behalf of Chinese military organizations:
ADAM L.K. PHILIPP
ALLEMAN HALL MCCOY RUSSELL & TUTTLE LLP
ALSTON & BIRD LLP*
ANTONELLI, TERRY, STOUT & KRAUS, LLP
APEX ATTORNEYS AT LAW, LLP
B. GREGORY DONNER
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD.*
BAYRAMOGLU LAW OFFICES LLC
BERENATO, WHITE & STAVISH
BIRCH, STEWART, KOLASCH & BIRCH, LLP*
BLAKELY SOKOLOFF TAYLOR & ZAFMAN LLP
BLUE FILAMENT LAW PLLC
BOOKOFF MCANDREWS, PLLC
BRIAN B. HO
BRINKS HOFER GILSON & LIONE*
CANTOR COLBURN LLP
CBM PATENT CONSULTING, LLC
CHRISTIE, PARKER & HALE, LLP
CKC & PARTNERS CO., LLC
CLIFFORD J. MASS
CONNOLLY BOVE LODGE & HUTZ LLP
DAVID AND RAYMOND PATENT FIRM
DAVID M. LAPRAIRIE
DICKE, BILLIG & CZAJA
DORSEY & WHITNEY LLP*
FINNEGAN, HENDERSON, FARABOW, GARRETT & DUNNER LLP*
FISHMAN & ASSOCIATES, LLC.
GEORGE D. LIU
GLOBAL IP SERVICES
GOODWIN PROCTER LLP*
HAMRE, SCHUMANN, MUELLER & LARSON, P.C.
HARNESS, DICKEY & PIERCE, PLC*
HAUPTMAN HAM, LLP
JCIP GLOBAL INC.
JOHN P. FONDER
JUDSON K. CHAMPLIN
KNOBBE, MARTENS, OLSON & BEAR, LLP*
LADAS & PARRY LLP*
LERNER, DAVID, LITTENBERG, KRUMHOLZ & MENTLIK, LLP
LOZA & LOZA LLP
MANNI LI MEI & MARK LLP
MASUVALLEY & PARTNERS
MCCOY RUSSELL LLP
MILLER, MATTHIAS & HULL LLP
NIXON PEABODY LLP*
NOVICK, KIM & LEE, PLLC
SCHMEISER, OLSEN & WATTS LLP
SCHWEGMAN LUNDBERG & WOESSNER, P.A.*
SCULLY SCOTT MURPHY & PRESSER, PC
STERNE, KESSLER, GOLDSTEIN & FOX P.L.L.C.*
T. CHYAU LIANG, PH.D.
TREASURE IP GROUP
TROUTMAN SANDERS LLP*
VLP LAW GROUP LLP*
WILLIAM P. JENSEN
WILLIAM T. CHRISTIANSEN, PH.D.
WPAT, PC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ATTORNEYS
*Listed by U.S. News among the Best Law Firms for Patent Law.
Chinese Military Organizations
The following is a list of Chinese military units, as listed in the USPTO database, that have been awarded U.S. patents:
ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCE, PLA
AFFILIATED HOSPITAL OF ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES, PLA
ARMY ACADEMY OF ARMORED FORCES
ARMY MEDICAL UNIVERSITY
BAIHUAN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER (BBRC) ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL
BEIJING INSTITUTE OF TRANSFUSION MEDICINE, ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES
BIOMEDICAL ANALYSIS CENTER, ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES
CHINA 302 MILITARY HOSPITAL OF PLA
CHINESE PLA GENERAL HOSPITAL
FIELD SURGERY RESEARCH DEPARTMENT OF THE THIRD MILITARY MEDICAL UNIVERSITY, THE
FIRST AFFILIATED HOSPITAL, THIRD MILITARY MEDICAL UNIVERSITY, CHINESE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY, P.R. CHINA
GENERAL HOSPITAL OF CHINESE PLA NORTHERN THEATER COMMAND
GENERAL HOSPITAL OF SHENYANG MILITARY REGION
GUANGZHOU GENERAL HOSPITAL OF GUANGZHOU MILITARY COMMAND
INSTITUE OF PHARMACOLOGY AND TOXICOLOGY ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES, P.L.A. CHINA
INSTITUTE OF BASIC MEDICAL SCIENCE, THE ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCE OF THE CHINESE PLA
INSTITUTE OF BIOTECHNOLOGY CHINESE PLA ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES
INSTITUTE OF DISEASE PREVENTION AND CONTROL, ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES
INSTITUTE OF IMMUNOLOGY, PLA
INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL EQUIPMENT, ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES, PLA
INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL SUPPORT TECHNOLOGY, ACADEMY OF SYSTEM ENGINEERING, ACADEMY OF MILITARY SCIENCE
INSTITUTE OF MICROBIOLOGY AND EPIDEMIOLOGY, ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES, PR CHINA
INSTITUTE OF RADIATION MEDICINE, ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES, PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY OF CHINA
INSTITUTE OF TRANSFUSION MEDICINE, ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES, PEOPLE'S LIBRATION ARMY OF CHINA
MILITARY INNOVATIVE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (BEIJING) CO., LTD.
NANJING GENERAL HOSPITAL OF NANJING MILITARY REGION OF PLA
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY, PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY OF CHINA
NAVAL AVIATION UNIVERSITY OF PLA
PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY ACADEMY OF ARMORED FORCES ENGINEERING
PLA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNIVERSITY, THE
PLA UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
QINGDAO FIRST CONVALESCENT HOSPITAL OF PLA JINANJUNQU
RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF NEPHROLOGY OF NANJING PLA, CHINA
SECOND AFFILIATED HOSPITAL, SECOND MILITARY MEDICAL UNIVERSITY
SECOND MILITARY MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF THE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY
SHANGHAI DONG HAI MILITARY TECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING CO.
THE 309TH HOSPITAL, THE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY
THE ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES, PLA ACADEMY OF MILITARY SCIENCE
THE FIFTH MEDICAL CENTER OF CHINESE PLA GENERAL HOSPITAL
THE FIRST HOSPITAL AFFILIATED TO ARMY MEDICAL UNIV
THE FOURTH MILITARY MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF CHINESE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY
THE GENERAL HOSPITAL OF CHINESE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY
THE GENERAL HOSPITAL OF SHENYANG MILITARY REGION OF THE CHINESE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY
THE INSTITUTE OF RADIATION MEDICINE, ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES, PLA
THE KEY LABORATORY OF CHEMISTRY FOR NATURAL PRODUCTS OF GUIZHOU PROVINCE AND CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
THE PLA INFORMATION ENGINEERING UNIVERSITY
THE SECOND AFFILIATED HOSPITAL OF GENERAL HOSPITAL, PLA
THE SECOND AFFILIATED HOSPITAL OF PLA ARMY MEDICAL UNIVERSITY
THE SECOND MILITARY MEDICAL UNIVERSITY AFFILIATED EASTERN HEPATOBILARY SURGERY HOSPITAL
THE THIRD INSTITUTE OF THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY
THIRD AFFILIATED HOSPITAL, THIRD MILITARY MEDICAL UNIVERSITY
THIRD MILITARY MEDICAL UNIVERSITY, CHINESE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY, P.R. OF CHINA
TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY
WUHAN GENERAL HOSPITAL OF GUANGZHOU MILITARY
WUHAN INSTITUTE OF VIROLOGY, CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
AIR FORCE ENGINEERING UNIVERSITY OF THE CHINESE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY
AIR FORCE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY
NAVAL AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY, PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY
NAVAL UNIVERSITY OF ENGINEERING
Methodology Intrepid Research conducted an advanced search of the USPTO Patent Assignment Database with the assignee country set as China and then input the following terms into the assignee name search box: “PLA,” “CPLA,” “Ministry of Public Security,” “Defense,” “Military,” “Army,” “Naval,” “Air Force,” “Ministry,” “Wuhan Institute of Virology,” and “Chinese Academy of Sciences.” Then sorted a list of entities and a list of correspondents.