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China Becoming Intellectual Property Powerhouse 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the great-patent-wall dept.
eldavojohn writes "A lot of Westerners view China as little more than the world's factory manufacturing anything with little regard to patents, copyrights and trademarks. But it seems as far as patents go, China is moving on up. According to the WIPO, the company that applied for the most patents in 2008 was not an American or Japanese company but China's Huawei Technologies. And China has made astonishing ground recently moving up to third place with 203,257 patent applications behind Japan (500,000) and the United States (390,000). It remains to be seen if these patents applications will come to fruition for China but it is evident that they are focusing on a new image as a leader in research and development. The Korean article concentrates on 2008 but you can find 2009 statistics at the WIPO's report on China along with some statistics breaking down applications by industry."
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China Becoming Intellectual Property Powerhouse

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  • Re:Probably Stolen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThorGod (456163) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:32PM (#33817900) Journal

    I agree. Last I heard, they only enforced IP rights when non-Chinese companies infringed (or appeared to infringe) upon a Chinese company's IP.

    Anyone know if China's still doing that? (with references)

  • by Bloodwine (223097) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:33PM (#33817906)

    I remember back when outsourcing and offshorting really started to ramp up and the whole mentality was, "The U.S. will become a nation of intellectual property holders and high-level managers while the rest of the world does the grunt work".

    China is known for making knock-offs and stealing intellectual property. If China controls the majority of manufacturing and "grunt" work, then they ultimately have complete access to everything and nothing will really stop them from yanking the rug out from under the idiot outsourcers who didn't see it coming and assumed they could maintain all the power and wealth without doing any of the real work.

    Who run Bartertown?

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:42PM (#33817990)

    and when china workers stand up for rights then manufacturing will just move to next cheap place.

  • by malkavian (9512) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:45PM (#33818024) Homepage

    Given 50 years or so, maybe.
    The USA was built in this fashion; it lifted designs, works and all kinds of "Intellectual Property" from Europe, and used it as it wished. Unsurprisingly, unencumbered by restrictive laws, it grew fast in the intellectual works arena, at which point people (the ones who'd made a profit this way) wanted to keep things as they were, and so lobbied for ever more restrictive legislation to ensure nobody could get a slice of their pie.
    And now, another country starts doing exactly this, and unsurprisingly, starts racing onwards, catching up fast.
    The difference in this is that with China, the State rules all. There aren't these pesky wildcard businessmen who can lobby all the time. Yes, there's corruption, but if it's uncovered and exposed to sight, the reprisals are nothing other than draconian.
    The State can, and will, modify its IP laws to best support the growth of the country, rather than the growth of an individual company; that's where it could very easily steal a march on the west.

  • by DukeLinux (644551) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:46PM (#33818038)
    The current US and European managers could care less. They are reaping profits for themselves in the here and now. When the stinky stuff hits the fan they will have their money and will cut and run. Just ask Carly Fiorina how well that worked out for her. Too bad she was so mean and nasty not even cancer could kill her.
  • Re:Probably Stolen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siddesu (698447) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:56PM (#33818154)

    How is that different from the good ole US of A?

    The mighty US publishing industry was built on infringing (or stealing, or whatever) the copyrights of European authors for so many decades it may be close to a century or two.

    Then, the markets grew and Hollywood developed a solid relationship with Washington during WWII doing propaganda shit. The studios and the publishing companies started making money off American productions.

    And suddenly - lo and behold - the US government changed its mind on the matter, joined the various copyright conventions and went on to become the world champion of copyright and related rights.

    You're seeing China doing exactly the same thing, only 80 years later, using (and perhaps abusing) the very framework US put in place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:57PM (#33818160)
    Do you really think the Chinese workers will stand up for their rights? Hell, the idea of human rights in general is a purely Western concept.
  • by EEPROMS (889169) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:58PM (#33818178)
    You may laugh but America did the exact same thing when they were industrializing, many European companies complained about American companies ignoring copyright and patents. It was only after the US started inventing their own unique designs that they started enforcing IP rights. China has reached that same stage were they are now producing their own unique products so you will see IP right enforced more rigidly. If this is a good or bad thing time will tell, for Europe it didnt work out well as many industries collapsed as more innovative products came out of the USA.
  • Re:Probably Stolen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by siddesu (698447) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:23PM (#33818404)

    Ignorant troll is ignorant.

  • by pipedwho (1174327) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:14AM (#33821120)

    Interestingly, I believe this points out the fallacy of IP protection being a driving force to innovation. It appears that the people most in the position of inventing new products are those that are already in a similar or related industry. Since most innovation is incremental, we see a dozen companies come out with similar products even though most of the engineers doing the development would have never even seen their competitors patents.

    Yes, I will admit that occasionally you see an invention that is clearly worthy of a patent. But, far too many are just small incremental changes that have already been thought of by numerous other engineers in that industry. The lawyers, of course, jump in and start a patent 'land grab' to justify their salaries. And the patent office doesn't seem to care that most of those ideas are obvious to other skilled engineers. So we end up with the mess we have today.

    Now, China comes along and starts taking out patents with equally trivial incremental advancements. But, since they also make up the majority of the prime manufacturing industry, they are better placed to know what changes can be made. In the end, the US will be locked out of the manufacturing industries that they helped create in the first place. And, China's own internal regulations and legislation will have nothing to do with it.

    In the end, the US will either be forced to considerably raise the bar on what is patentable, or risk completely losing any technological manufacturing industries it has. And without a local manufacturing industry, there won't be any engineers 'close enough to the action' to draft up any useful patents to take the industry back. (Think of all the ridiculous 'inventions' that come out of people that have no clue how things work, versus the real innovation that comes out of people that are already skilled, experienced and working directly in their fields of expertise.)

    Back in the day, most IP portfolios were locally held and helped build and sustain the wealth of locally owned industries that also had state of the art technological know-how. This is fantastic in a closed system, and especially when export dollars can be generated as a side effect to this progress. However, if a majority of the ownership goes external (ie. foreign), then the legal protections no longer foster local wealth and will most likely work to stifle it.

    Remember, China is just a third party taking US IP law and turning it to it's advantage. In that way IMO, the faster the US drops it's patent system, the less long term damage will be done. If the patents continue on this trend, US IP law will effectively be protecting the foreign incumbents to the detriment of local industry.

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