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Sharp Rise Seen in Chinese Patents 110

Posted by Zonk
from the everyone-is-doing-it-so-why-can't-we dept.
ianare writes "According to a report by the UN's intellectual property agency, the number of requests for patents in China grew by 33% in 2005 compared with the previous year. That gives it the world's third highest number behind Japan and the United States, the agency said. China's leaders have been urging companies to become more creative, and put more of their money into developing new technology. 'Made by China' rather than simply 'Made in China' will mean that the country's economic miracle stands a far better chance of lasting longer."
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Sharp Rise Seen in Chinese Patents

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Don't be surprised if in a decade, US companies are cloning Chinese products, likely using some sort of "free market" rationale.
    • I welcome the rest of the world starting to step up to plate and contribute. Innovation isn't a zero sum game and the more creative people working in integrated and "open" economies the better. A successful China doesn't need to be a negative to the world. The competition between G7 countries results in a net positive. Admittedly China still poses many concerns with it's repressive government. However the more integrated and successful they become, the more they have to lose by not playing by internation
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        A successful China doesn't need to be a negative to the world.

        No, but strong IP law is a negative. And once China gets seriously into the game, they'll push for even stronger laws that will have the ultimate effect of suppressing innovation as is happening in the the US and Europe. Only the big corporations will benefit. Now is the time to show them and everybody else that copyrights and patents do more harm than good.
        • by Fuzzums (250400) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @10:26AM (#20203165) Homepage
          Ofcourse you realize that China here isn't the problem, but the IP system.
          Do you think any African country has even the slightest chance against us or eu companies and the effect they have on regulations in general?
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by iminplaya (723125)
            Don't know how Africa enters the picture, but China has all our money. They can do whatever they want, and soon will get pretty much anything they ask for. They've tasted the raw meat of western style consumerism, and will only want more. They will "protect their interests" in the same fashion we do ours. And they have the power to do it. I doubt we can say the same for Africa at the moment. The only clout they have is the choice to buy their weaponry from us(US and Europe) or Russia and China, which is a p
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Fuzzums (250400)
              My point was like this: For years we're protecting our markets against cheap products. Products from China, products from Africa.

              China somehow has managed to break through our protections (and we shouldn't whine if they're going to protect their markets, because that's exactly what we did too).

              The other side of the coin is that African (and South-American countries aswell) produce a lot of goods, but we're protecting our markets so they don't get any opportunity to sell their products for a fair price.

              But a
              • by iminplaya (723125)
                China somehow has managed to break through our protections...

                Sorry for the repetition, but again, China has all our money. We have no choice. There will be no protections from Chinese goods. They have the "nuclear option" that nobody else does. China is making the rules now. That's just not the case with Africa and South America.
                • China has all our money This is a wrong perception. We tend to only look at one side. But American companies are making tons of money from China too. GM, Starbucks, McDonalds, Motorola, CocaCola and every big American brand is selling their products in China and take money away from the Chinese. That's why US economy keeps growing and stock market is all time high.
                  • by iminplaya (723125)
                    But American companies are making tons of money from China too.

                    That doesn't explain the trade deficit if those numbers are to be believed. Maybe those companies should pay a bit higher tax. The stock market is so high because it doesn't take into account the accrued debt or it's assuming that these companies will pay up when the loan is called. The whole system is working on credit, or faith as the case may be, and Wall Street(and the government) is doing ok because its credit rating is still good. I would
                    • by Cathbard (954906)
                      Iraq switched oil trade from US dollars to Euro and were trying to convince OPEC to do the same. It would have completely upset the US's fragile debt based economy if opec nations flushed their accounts of dollars for euro. We all know what happened next don't we? Now China on the other hand ..... would the US invade China if it cashed in it's dollars? I doubt it and if they did, global warming would fade into insignificance. "Thank god nuclear winter cancelled out global warming" - Taranga Leela
                  • That's why US economy keeps growing
                    You, dear Sir, are living in a big fat bubble [treasurydirect.gov].
      • A successful China doesn't need to be a negative to the world. The competition between G7 countries results in a net positive.
        In terms of quality, it's only gone downward if you don't hail from Wall Street. Quite hollow of a positive unless you're wishing to recreate the Gilded Age.

        Innovation isn't a zero sum game and the more creative people working in integrated and "open" economies the better.
        Innovation has yet to happen over there. It only is a haven for those who want to escape business regulation - re
    • USPTO is not shy about issuing many patents for the same idea. I'm sure they would happily issue a US patent for a CHinese idea!
  • by biocute (936687) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @04:57AM (#20201661) Homepage
    So filing and (maybe) getting patents granted equals creativity?

    I think we have seen enough "Creative Patenting" that are comparable to "Creative Accounting".
    • I cannot agree. Creative accounting at least requires some thinking and finding loopholes in the sys.... ok, you're right.
    • by 4105 (819650)
      Please keep in mind that these patents are actually cheap knock offs of other peoples patents. (but they cost less, and contain lead, and might have ground up melamine etc.)
    • but patents are one measure to determine the way the industrial trends are moving.

      Using patents as a scoreboad are stupid though. I expect USA is over represented in http://www.patentlysilly.com/ [patentlysilly.com]. To use patents as a meaningful indicator needs better analysis than just raw numbers. Rather you need to look at the rate of patenting high quality (impoortant and non-duplicate) ideas.

  • The number of patents is not an issue. Contents of patents is.
    No matter how many patents are recoginzed. It's another issue whether they can influence the world by them.
    • Quality not Quantity
    • The thing with inventions is that its very hard to know beforehand if it will be profitable or not.

      Basically, all professionals who work creatively, be it inventors, artists or advertising people, work with quantity rather than quality. When they have enough quantity, they begin sorting it out for the quality.

      My point is that if the quantity increases by 30%, the quality might not increase by as much, but it would be strange if it did not increase at all, because quantity is the foundation for quality. With
  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @05:08AM (#20201713) Journal

    ...can relax now - because that's China's super economic growth taken care of.
    • and next they discover the wonders of "general liability", "class action lawsuits" and then they begin their decline as an empire.
  • Where do Switzerland fall in all this? I thought they were 3rd.
  • by zmollusc (763634) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @05:23AM (#20201763)
    to settle bets on whether patents are just a crazy foreign legend.
    'No way, man. Someone is just messing with you!'
    'I swear it is true, you just find something that isn't yet patented, like breathing or clicking on a triangle instead of a box, then get a patent on that, then sue everybody'
    'Bullcrap!'
    'Ok, I will patent something myself. That will show you.'
  • Sucks to be western. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (molbdeh.leinad)> on Sunday August 12, 2007 @05:36AM (#20201799) Homepage Journal
    I think the US had big hopes for selling IP to china. After having outsource pretty much anything that can be outsourced war and IP is pretty much all there is to export from USA. If China leaps ahead of US sience and production its going to be the west who stands there with their pants down and hat in hand. All this because of extreem shortsighted greed that made everyone outsource their factories instead of making them more effective. It would have been much better in the long run to have sold complete products to china instead.
    • by Eighty7 (1130057)
      That's exactly it. Due to the large amounts of cheap labor, China's entrance into trade/production acted just like rapid technological progress or a massive supply shock. Nations replaced higher-cost suppliers with lower-cost ones just as they would have if production technology advanced at home. Frankly companies didn't really have much of a choice.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rtb61 (674572)
        Not only did China get ahead with cheap labour but also with poor working conditions, no pollution restrictions, minimum or no safety/ health conditions and corruption to grease the wheels of profit for those autocrats running the corporofascist society.

        One reason for the shift to IP instead of production could quite simply be because China is currently quite busily polluting itself to death. As the level of toxic elements rises in the environment it will be interesting to see what future chemical chain r

        • You have no !@#%ing idea what you're talking about. Corporofascist? Whose ass did that come out of? I live in China, and I'm chummy with a lot of bigshot local government types, and nothing is like you describe.
          • Even if the crazy "corporofascist neocon bastards bla bla" poster has no idea about Chinese government, China is one of the most polluted countries in the world.

            The pollution has to do with how China implemented globalization. They forsake the environment in order to catch up with the rest of the major powers. I guess they're leveraging the land in that tech will fix it later.
        • by Weedlekin (836313)
          "Not only did China get ahead with cheap labour but also with poor working conditions, no pollution restrictions, minimum or no safety/ health conditions and corruption to grease the wheels of profit for those autocrats running the corporofascist society."

          China is currently undergoing an industrial revolution, and is actually treating its workers a lot better than Britain did during its industrial revolution, and massively better than Russians during their much later industrial revolution. It looks pretty b
          • by rtb61 (674572)
            Wise man say, those that pursue the politics of fifty years ago are either historians or idiots. My only concern is what is happening today and what will be happening tomorrow, history is just lessons, that people should not repeat, you kinda missed that whole not repeating history bit didn't you.

            You kind of idiot logic means it is ok to keep repeating the same mistakes, the same abuses, the same lies over and over and over again.

            Why don't reach further back into history and cite Roman slavery at brick

            • by Weedlekin (836313)
              "Wise man say, those that pursue the politics of fifty years ago are either historians or idiots."

              Wise men don't call others idiots without having some excellent points to refute their arguments with instead of childish excuses for the fact that the Chinese have done far less damage transitioning over a billion people from an agrarian economy to an industrial one than we did in the same period merely sustaining our far smaller population. I suggest you actually check up on what Western industries have been
              • by rtb61 (674572)
                That's great, give them a hard time, they deserve it but how about doing better rather than worse. For what earthly reason would I feel guilty about the behaviour of others when I am trying to seek improvement and greater democracy and freedoms and the rights of individuals. I feel absolutely free to critique any political leader from any country, I especially loathe self serving autocrats (I'll give you a hint, no matter how bad democratic leaders have been, the corrupt autocrats were far far worse, even t
                • by Weedlekin (836313)
                  "That's great, give them a hard time, they deserve it but how about doing better rather than worse."

                  I agree wholeheartedly. I'm not defending China, but simply pointing out the hypocrisy of concentrating on their flaws while ignoring our own, both in the present and the recent past.

                  "I feel absolutely free to critique any political leader from any country, I especially loathe self serving autocrats (I'll give you a hint, no matter how bad democratic leaders have been, the corrupt autocrats were far far worse
    • You're forgetting that a lot of these patents are by US companies that have research centers in China. IBM, Microsoft, Nokia - those are on the first page of what Google returns for "research centers in beijing".
  • Well, if China begins to invest massively in their own research and thus begins filiing patents and such, at some point they will really have to enforce some sort of IP Law to protect their own innovations and interests.

    Up until now, for all those cheap chinese knock-offs and blatant copies of other companies work, disregarding IP Law in China was actually useful, but with own patents and ideas, I would guess that chinese companies will be enforcing IP Law more strictly in the future because now disregard
    • at some point they will really have to enforce some sort of IP Law to protect their own innovations and interests.

      By "IP law", do you mean "copyright law", "patent law", "trademark law", or "trade secret law"? The exclusive rights under these four legal traditions have different purposes, different scopes, and different durations. Painting them all with the broad stroke of "intellectual property" confuses the issue more than it helps anyone [fsf.org].

    • by Znork (31774)
      "And yes IP Law can be useful"

      Monopoly law is always useful for those holding the monopolies. They can get revenue without having to produce a competetive product or service to obtain that revenue.

      China realizes this as well as the rest of the WIPO crowd; once you've built up your fortune, the free market will keep chipping away at it unless you either remain competetive or prevent competition. As remaining competetive is hard work, it's much easier to simply create monopoly vehicles to invest in.

      I doubt it
  • Ok, who did the feat? Who is that miracle worker that stopped the Chinese economy steamroller?

    Because that could very well be the only thing that keeps the Chinese from taking over world economy. When they now start playing the patent game and actually heed patents (due to having some parts of the cake now, too), they'll do the same everyone does who has them: Stop making and start suing.

    Whew. Our industry is saved. By dragging them down to our level.
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday August 12, 2007 @07:08AM (#20202151) Homepage Journal
    What does it say about free-market capitalism that we so fear that China will become like US?

    Or am I the only one who worries about another patent-grabbing, carbon-swilling, profit-hungry, consumer-driven super-economy on the planet, this one with a billion jean-wearing, Starbucks-guzzling, Wal-Mart-shopping para-Americans?

    You can bet that the Western Paul Wolfowitz, IMF-types are trying to figure out a way to put that genie back in the bottle. After all, they may say that global warming is a myth or "not affected by human activity" but that's only for public consumption. When they're sitting around their Emperor of Earth Gentleman's Club, you best believe they know better.

    "But first" they say, "we have to get those damn Chinese to buy into the intellectual property thing. Otherwise our whole house of cards comes down. Now pass me some-a them quail hearts, son. The donkey show starts in a few minutes."

    • Good one! (Sorry, I ain't got no points)

      May the gods bless EU, US, and one and all with more plutocratic exploit corporatism.
    • You can bet that the Western Paul Wolfowitz, IMF-types ...

      A person reasonably up to date with respect to current events would know that it was recently determined (by people who are in a position to decide WTF an "IMF-type" is) that Mr. Wolfowitz is decidedly not one of them.

      Conspiracy theorists or those in the habit of carrying placards and/or smashing windows in advocacy of certain social causes may hold a different view, of course. ;-)
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        it was recently determined (by people who are in a position to decide WTF an "IMF-type" is) that Mr. Wolfowitz is decidedly not one of them.

        Oh, the Africans and Europeans threw his ass out of the IMF, sure. He's not their kind of oligarch, but he's certainly our kind of oligarch. The people in the White House and certain National Review matriarchs still mist over when they speak of him, that's for sure.

        conspiracy theorists or those in the habit of carrying placards and/or smashing windows in advocacy of

  • Having the Chinese industries bogged down in patent disputes will slow down their innovation like what has happened in the US, thereby allowing the US to compete with them on a more level playing field.
    • The playing field could be leveled by forcing China to stop artificially lowering [npr.org] the Yaun [senate.gov], which makes China appear more competitive on the global market. This practice alone has decimated U.S. manufacturing sector and is why we have a nearly 1 trillion dollar trade deficit - with no end in sight.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by afabbro (33948)
        To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, "Revaluing the Yaun just slaps at the problem. Nerve gas solves it."
  • China's Miracle? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @08:14AM (#20202359) Journal
    Come now, you have dirt cheap labor, little to no government environmental/personnel regulation, and a fixed yuan-dollar ratio. There's no miracle, it's just simple economics. Had China not been closed for so many years, they would have reached this point a couple of decades ago.

    China will find the same problem that the west has - everyone want's to be upper (or middle) class eventually. Very few in China are reaping the benfits of the changes, and many are happy just to make a better living than they had before. Eventually, thier children - or children's children - will want far more, and will expect more. A growing middle class will not put up with the destruction of their natural environment and unsafe (or "unfair" - definine it as you wish) working conditions. Pressure will be placed on the govenerment from many sides, and the government will start changing things.

    It is simply a matter of time before things change. There are still places where manufacturing is cheap in the US. There are places in the US where $50k can provide a pleasant lifestyle for a family, and $80-90k is the local upper class. And some of those places are pretty darned nice places to live. Some may think those numbers are high, and those of you in the major metro areas will wonder how anyone can afford groceries on such an income. (Hint: in the next town over from me, there are new, 2000SF houses on a acre of land selling for under $100/sf, and taxes are under 1% of the value) As the middle class increases in China, the same wage pressures will occur, and - if they ever de-link their currency - it's going to result in the cost of goods from China increasing at a dramatic rate.

    There will be more IP based production - it's the hallmark of modern civilization. Interestingly, I think we will find globalization retreat a bit in the next 50 years. As the cost of production increases in low-wage markets, transportation costs will shift marginal items back to a local advantage. This may become accellerated by the increasing cost for fuel (which, imho, is artificially inflated by the speculation markets...but that's another show). It will not put things back to the 1960s or 70s, but a new dynamic balance will form.

    • I tend to agree with you. Historically speaking, people generally won't work for peanuts forever, and if they don't get a slice of the pie bad things happen. Still, will America even have a viable manufacturing sector in the next five or ten years, much less the decades it will take for the processes you describe to have their effect? A lot of things are happening very quickly right now, and I don't know if we have so much time.

      What we are seeing are not natural market forces at work. China's economic "m
      • by Beetle B. (516615)

        "When I dealing with a foreign company I'll choose one from Europe, thank you very much. You can do business with them ... they understand that good business means everyone walks away from the table with something.

        Yes, like the folks who funded a slave driven diamond industry in Africa?

        Or like the vulture funds in the US that work towards depriving basic necessities such as education [democracynow.org] in third world countries?

        Or those that go around supporting the murder [wikipedia.org] of union leaders in Colombia.

        Or those that decide that it's OK to make water unaffordable [wikipedia.org] for the folks in Bolivia.

        Or those that fund [wikipedia.org] a terrorist group so that they can earn a larger profit?

        Oh - I'm sorry. These guys just aren't guilty of being Chinese. Everything is

  • by Fear the Clam (230933) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @08:40AM (#20202479)
    I'm sure the rest of the world will treat Chinese IP with the same respect that they've shown for the rest of the world.

    Knowing China's penchant for taking shortcuts, I'd double-check every one of those patents against existing registries.
    • by w000t (1141427)
      Yes, I'm sure we'll find that, unlike the patents submitted by the rest of the world, the ones submitted by China will be just a regurgitation of obvious ideas for which previous art can be easily found.
    • yeah, its laughable to mention china and 'IP rights' in the same sentence.

      I was designing a hardware device and started to investigate what it would take to have it built in china. I got some ideas on the cost of plastic molding and the circuit layout and I started to shop around for partners in china.

      then it dawned on me - I would be doing all the design work and paying for the prototypes and mold for the plastic boxes; and guess what - there is NO assurance that all my hard work would be respected and th
  • by JasperCraft (719987) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @10:04AM (#20203029)
    I've talked to several people who have run into their own patents being rewritten in Chinese and patented in China by someone in China. Its amazing what they are allowing, simple google searches would reveal the patent is a copy and yet, seemingly totally legal. I wonder how many of this rise in patents is due to this policy/process/scam? However, as one of my language professors once said, translations are often creative.
  • it's not a miracle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dAzED1 (33635) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @10:41AM (#20203235) Homepage Journal
    'Made by China' rather than simply 'Made in China' will mean that the country's economic miracle stands a far better chance of lasting longer.

    I suppose it was a "miracle" when we used slaves here in the US to do farming, build railroads, etc?

    They have 1/5 the total world population...current estimate: 1,321,851,888.

    Japan has 127,433,494 people.

    And the US? 301,139,947.

    China has more than 3 times the population of Japan and the US combined.

    Further, China is taking the cheapest route on everything, and is suffering for it. The air quality there is horrendous, the water isn't drinkable - hell, we'll need to worry about them invading someone soon just so they can find someplace to be able to breathe. Cutting corners, doing no pollution control, no sanitation efforts...yeah, of course you can make extra $$ that way. At what cost, though.

    The only miraculous thing here is that they are doing so poorly despite these and other things massively in their favor.
    • by asm2750 (1124425)
      Didn't some one say it would be a couple of decades before all of their environmental and social problems catch up that will be come a total cluster f***?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by w000t (1141427)
      What? Are you saying that a population that big is actually something in their favor? It's not, that's why they have birth control laws. Unlike some people here seem to believe, China is not building an army to overtake the world (which is about the one scenario where having such a big population would be a good thing).
      Now, what I really don't get is why everyone seems is so concerned with China becoming a wealthy country... Shouldn't the fact that 1/5 of the world population lives there make it a good thi
      • by dAzED1 (33635)
        for creating GDP, a larger population is most certainly a benefit. I can't fathom why you would think elsewise.
        • by w000t (1141427)
          Well, that's any obvious meaningless truth. Of course they're bound to have an enormous GDP: they represent one fucking fifth of the planet. The fact they are not even close to that (according to Wikipedia less than 1/20) says that they are actually doing pretty bad. The GDP alone says little about how well a country is doing if you don't take into account the country's population. I would much rather be in the Norwegian situation (or a any other under populated European country) than China's.
          • by dAzED1 (33635)
            which is what I said. China's economy is no "miracle," it is actually very poor, considering all the things going for it (China's economy, not China's future or its citizenry).

            Now that I've repeated myself...
            • by w000t (1141427)
              Seems I misunderstood your original post... If with

              despite these and other things massively in their favor.
              you were talking about those things pushing their GDP growth, then we obviously agree (I misread the tone in that sentence).
              • by dAzED1 (33635)
                sorry, yes. They have so many things that should push economic growth, and should make their GDP massive, yet their economy isn't really (those factors considered) that great. There's nothing "miraculous" about their economy at all. All things actually considered, it's rather poor. The fact that they will soon pay for some of those cost-cutting methods (lack of pollution and sanitation control) just makes it worse.

                One has to then wonder why, despite those factors, their economy is in fact doing so poorl
    • I'll never forget the day I was in Shanghai and saw three men breaking up a sideway with jackhammers. All three had their faces covered in white concrete dust. Not really a big deal until you realize they were *not* wearing any eye protection and masks.

      WTF?! Seriously, if I had some safety goggles, I would have ran off the bus and handed them out. I mean, either these men are ignorant, or simply don't care about personal safety.

      Boggles the mind!
    • by ghyd (981064)
      "The only miraculous thing here is that they are doing so poorly despite these and other things massively in their favor."

      But poorly on which count, there are many things to evaluate! they seem to do reasonably well all in all, like at quickly industrializing and urbanizing, and also improving their life expectancy which is now is now 71 years old. They also seem to catch up quick in the personal income area, as you can see in the first of the following links when it is compared to US incomes:

      http://www.ted [ted.com]
  • Is it just me, or can someone explain intelligently (with backup) as to why this is an issue regarding our rights online? Sounds like a lot of FUD to me.
  • ...will Darl try his game there, or will he wisely avoid signing his own death sentence by becoming a patent troll there?

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