This research intends to investigate the patent activity on water pollution and treatment in China (1985–2007), and then compares
the results with patents data about Triadic patents, South Korea, Brazil and India over the same periods, patents data were
collected from Derwent World Patents Index between 1985 and May 2008. For this study, 169,312 patents were chosen and examined.
Total volume of patents, technology focus, assignee sector, priority date and the comparison with other countries are analyzed.
It is found that patents on water pollution and treatment filed at China have experienced a remarkable increase and the increase
rate of patents filed at China change simultaneous with the percentage of domestic applications. However, the number of high
quality Triadic patents with priority country as China remains small. Furthermore, in addition to individual patent assignees,
both Chinese universities and enterprises also play important roles in patent activity of water pollution and treatment. In
addition, the pattern of South Korea’s development can provide short-term implications for China and the regularity in Triadic
patents’ development can provide some guidance to China’s long-term development. In contrast, the development pattern of Brazil
and India is less influential to China’s development. Furthermore, China’s technology focuses on water pollution and treatment
seem to parallel global and triadic patent trends. This research provides a comprehensive picture of China’s innovation capability
in the area of water pollution and treatment. It will help China’s local governments to improve their regional S&T capability
and will provide support the National Water Pollution Control and Treatment Project in China.