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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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  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:23PM (#33817806) Journal

    I wonder how long it will be until "intellectual property" lawyers start complaining about their cases being outsourced?

    • by c0lo (1497653)
      Perhaps those lawyer will start forming some lobby groups?
      I wonder how long 'til US will become the strongest opponent to ACTA?
    • Oh man, you mean lawyers can be made cheaper overseas? I smell money...

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And have you noticed that there is no intellectual property protection for legal arguments and tactics? Someone could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of lawyer time to develop a new innovative legal defense, and then someone else can apply the same defense without paying a dime to the first party! Where's the incentive to innovate? Why is the patent establishment, the congress (largely composed of lawyers) and the lobbying industry working on IP protections for other industries while so blat

  • Perhaps now the Americans will want to eliminate unreasonable patents.
  • by danomac (1032160) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:28PM (#33817862)
    Given that there's massive infringement over there (not just software or entertainment, physical as well) does that mean that they might actually start enforcing IP rights?

    That'll be interesting to see.
    • They don't have to, it sure helps China for the rest of the world to care though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by malkavian (9512)

      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 th

      • by westlake (615356)

        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

        The US remained predominately rural and agricultural until 1860.

        That is 250 years out from the Jamestown Settlement.

        In 1790 the U.S. produced 3,000 bales of cotton.

        In 1860, 3.8 million.

        In 1860 six manufactuers control

    • One of my lecturers Dr. Stephen Morgan pointed out that while certainly there was a lot of bootlegging of Western companies' products by chinese companies the amount pales in comparison to the bootlegging of chinese companies' products by other chinese companies.
    • by Zak3056 (69287)

      Given that there's massive infringement over there (not just software or entertainment, physical as well) does that mean that they might actually start enforcing IP rights?

      I doubt they'll be enforced in China... but I have no doubt that they will be enforced in the west, against western companies.

    • by khchung (462899)

      does that mean that they might actually start enforcing IP rights?

      Why? Wouldn't it be easier to just apply patents in the US and sue US companies for profit? Who cares about enforcing IP rights back home, those companies back home have no money to sue for anyway.

  • by bersl2 (689221) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:28PM (#33817866) Journal

    1. Disregard foreign patents
    2. Acquire patents for use against foreign firms
    3. PROFIT!

    • by DukeLinux (644551)
      The US Government would be more than happy to let the Chinese come in and sue us back into the dark ages. Try suing in China. They are at least smart enough to tell the foreigners to drop dead.
      • That's because we owe them money and we're in their pocket. There was a time though when we could tell everyone to go fuck off and it would stick. I expect we won't be able to do that again till we pay them off.
        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          When you owe a bank $100,000, you have a problem. When you owe a bank $100,000,000,000, the bank has a problem.

          If the U.S. ever decides to default on its loan to China and/or China decides to dump all its monopoly money reserves, China (more specifically, the Chinese government) will be feeling the pain far more than the U.S.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TheLink (130905)

            When you owe a bank $100,000,000,000, the bank has a problem. If the U.S. ever decides to default on its loan to China

            It's not even the same problem. Why would the US ever have to default?

            The problem is more like: when TheLink owes the bank 2 trillion payable in TheLink tokens, the bank has a problem, not me.

            Since I can create as many tokens as I want :).

            Think about it more, and you'll see how even more ridiculous the scaremongering about Evil China screwing and holding America to ransom is.

            Sure if the USA creates too many trillions out of thin air, people might stop lending them money, but I think they've already created

    • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by antifoidulus (807088)
      How is this different from any other aspect of Chinese economic policy? Ever listen to Hu Jintao rail against protectionism? Then ever look at Chinese economic policy to see that it is, by FAR, the most protectionist large economy on the planet? Thats pretty par for the course for China.

      See the thing about China is that they don't know when to quit. When they were a tiny economy they could get away with a lot of this bullshit but now they are acting like a big kid whose parents never disciplined him.
    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      You pretty much described how USA moved from a rural colony to a technological powerhouse.

  • One thing we know about patents: they're overrated.
  • 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?

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

      • A really bad ugly un-fixable mess.

        The really bad part: Africa is smaller then China in terms of population.

        • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:02PM (#33818196) Homepage Journal
          Africa has been weathering the global downturn surprisingly well, and democracy is on the move across the continent. Ten years ago The Economist called Africa "The Hopeless Continent", but in a June, 2010 article they talk about the rise of entrepreneurs and better overall governance. If anything, this century may see Africa finally climbing out of the hole it's been in for so long.
        • by c0lo (1497653) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @08:26PM (#33818932)

          A really bad ugly un-fixable mess.

          As bad and ugly as it would be, the chinese are already [moneyweb.com] there.

          China's investment in Africa has grown by as much as 30% annually, faster than in any other continent, from $1.6-billion in 2008 to $5.4-billion in 2009. About 2000 Chinese companies are engaged in 8000 projects in Africa, mainly in infrastructure and agriculture.

          And here [ninemsn.com.au] you have some other numbers: "Beijing says its trade with Africa is on track to top $US100 billion ($A103.5 billion) this year" (this year means less than 3 months now, isn't it?)
          To put the things in perspective: in July 2009, US owed China 900+ billion [treas.gov] (without counting the trade deficit with China) - 10% of money that US owes China will go into Africa in less than 3 month!?!

          For your survival: learn mandarin!

      • by Bartab (233395)

        Truth, and both the Chinese and the "next cheap place" will be happier for it. Even the US will be happier, although perhaps not in the short term.

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          Truth, and both the Chinese and the "next cheap place" will be happier for it. Even the US will be happier, although perhaps not in the short term.

          I reckon long before they'll be happier, I believe US risks a de-jure disapperance from the world scene (they'll still be there but this won't matter anymore). To avoid a "Flamebite" moderation let me bring this (maybe lame) joke from memory:
          Q:How would be the men without women?
          A:Happy... then happier... then lesser by the day... then...

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        as a whole do they even have a spine?

        I know the bigwigs do, I know a few college students do, but for the other billion its presented as take it or go off and die, its really hard to stand up when there are thousands willing to dive into your seat

        what about the American worker? I once watched a local company go on strike from their 26$ an hour fluff jobs and retirement plans to get their birthday's as a paid holiday

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        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 mike2R (721965)

          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.

          We aren't talking about human rights in general, but the inevitable fact that as labour gets more scarce, workers' power increases. This is very much happenening now in China - interesting article from the Economist: The rising power of the Chinese worker [economist.com].

      • by exomondo (1725132)

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

        what rights?

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

        That might work in India but it's not likely in China. The Chinese government has absolute control of what its' citizens see, hear and think. Anyone remember The Tiananmen Square protests in 1989? By some estimates there were as many as 3000 people killed and countless others injured. The government also purged officials who were thought to support the liberal students and intelectuals that started the demonstration. I seriously doubt there will be any Chinese workers standing up for their rights if the job

      • Those who stand up for their rights in China are machine-gunned [wikipedia.org] right back down again.
      • Ironically, since China upped their minimum wage to $180/month, some manufacturing has moved to Vietnam. You have to wonder if there's a point to which even multinational companies won't stoop or governments that they wouldn't get in bed with to make a quick buck. Hell, if they thought they could make money off it they'd probably cozy up to the North Koreans.
    • 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.
    • Have you heard of competitions? You can blame the high-level managers, MBAs and lawyers, but it is nevertheless a natural progression of the economy: productions will be moved to where they can be done in the lowest cost yet with good enough quality. Outsourcing and offshoring have become popular only in recent decades, not because managers, lawyers or MBAs were nicer, dumber or ignorant these tricks, but because outsourcing and offshoring have become affordable due to the new transportation and communicati

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by scamper_22 (1073470)

      Anyone who actually believes is in the 'innovation economy' is an idiot. The includes a surprising number of academics for some reason.

      Apart from 'stealing' technology, there are a whole host of other reasons.

      1. Without low-level work, you won't get good people going into the field in the first place. Just picture yourself as a top 10% high-school kid planning your future career. You can risk becoming and engineer/scientists/entrepreneur who will work their ass off in the rare hope of making it big....

  • by OzPeter (195038)
    Patents are for communists. If you love patents then you love communism and we don't want that kinda love in the ol' capitalistic US of A ..... oh wait
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:47PM (#33818050) Homepage Journal
    The first time around, it was the United States that started as a stealer of inventions from other countries [theatlantic.com], then over time became far more interested in protecting intellectual rights. When your own industry isn't generating the ideas, you figure anyone's ideas are fair game; when your industry is coming up with new ideas, you want to protect your position.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Likewise how the motion picture industry set up shop in Hollywood [wikipedia.org] to avoid Edison's patent claims. That's right kids, the whole reason we know the industry as "Hollywood" is because they themselves didn't believe in paying for intellectual property.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        No, that's not true. There are two reasons. One is for the reason you state. The other is that at the time, los angeles was a tar pit and a bunch of tumbleweeds in the desert, and they were shooting westerns. They didn't have to go anywhere to shoot, so it was an ideal location to which to move. They could have moved almost anywhere to get the same legal benefits.

    • I wouldn't say it's got to do with whether or not you are generating ideas, but rather, whether or not you have a large, well established industry.
      • by Infonaut (96956)

        Good point. It could also be said that a large, well established industry churns out more of the kind of ideas that lead to patents and trademarked entities in particular. The infrastructure of investment, money for legal fees, and so on is in place in an established industry.

        Given that copyright protection attaches without legal filing, I'm not sure there's such a powerful relationship in the world of copyright.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pipedwho (1174327)

      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 cl

  • by AHuxley (892839)
    Dont really add anything to humanity, but great to keep a cartel, monopoly alive or sure up a loss leader until it has traction.
    Sounds more like buying a place in legal system/national pride based on pure numbers.
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:08PM (#33818252)

    > China's Huawei Technologies
    Would that be the same Huawei Technologies that stole Cisco IOS code and who's rep was caught photographing chipboards of Cisco gear in the Cisco booth after hours?

  • ...Precisely why we should pay any more respect for their IP than they have to anyone else's?

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      ...Precisely why we should pay any more respect for their IP than they have to anyone else's?

      I'm going to go one step further and ask candidely ask for an explanation: why should I pay respect for any intelectual property?
      Granted, there are some good reasons but, I believe, lately these reasons start being overshadows by other major reasons to NOT respect them.

    • by pipedwho (1174327)

      It wouldn't matter, because 'their' IP and 'your' IP are protected by the same system. So by not respecting 'their' IP, you also cease to respect your own.

      BTW, I see nothing wrong with this, and IMO, getting rid of this mess of IP law would go far to 'promoting the useful arts'.

      • by argStyopa (232550)

        They are 'protected' by the same system only if we're both playing by the rules, which was my original point.

        If we're playing cards, I'm playing by the rules and you're cheating at every hand, I'm not sure that's a great argument for the quality or usefulness of the 'rules'.

        • by pipedwho (1174327)

          Not quite. They may be cheating at every hand at the table across from you. But, at your table, the rules are still being enforced - by you. And unfortunately, those rules are benefitting the other player(s) more than they benefit you.

  • Let me help you, US. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    For all your good work on software patents, an useful link:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11487968

    Enjoy!

  • I have the impression, without any data, that the number of scientific papers in leading journals with authors with a china affiliation is exploding - does anyone have any data ?
    I see this particularly in chemistry journals like Analytical Chemistry, Langmuir and J of the American Chem Soc (all 3 published by Amer Chem Soc). Less so in the top flight molecular and cell biology journals. It would be really fascinating to get some data on this.
  • ...between patents and innovation.

  • by happyhamster (134378) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @09:41PM (#33819500)

    How many of those patents are legitimate, and not fraudulent of plagiarizing?

    "Rampant Fraud Threatens China's Brisk Ascent"
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/world/asia/07fraud.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

    One of the points the article highlights is that in Chinese culture, blatant cheating and shameless plagiarism is fine. It's just being "smart" to get ahead. Nice culture to force your hard-working population to compete with.

    • by r6144 (544027)

      From what I have looked at, I would not call many of these "legitimate" in terms of whether enforcing them (if even possible) would do the world any good. But then, IMHO hardly any patents in my field, applied in any country or by companies from any country, are what I would call legitimate. Patent trolling is so ethically reprehensible that anyone deciding to join the game might as well commit plagiarism/fraud/bribery/etc. as long as they don't get caught. It's a fair game like spying in a war.

  • Having a patent granted by our ineffective, bumbling Patent Office means nothing.
  • do not mean much because many patents and papers are low value. A better measure of innovation would be papers in prestigious journals like Nature and Science. If you look you will see a decent number of authors with Chinese names, but most of these researchers will be based outside of China.
  • because america has let this patent trolling to become a big business in itself, and even tried to push/coerce it to all the world, all the parties are now taking their precautions, including china. not to mention that those companies are also trolls, seeking to make money.

    america created its own menace, again. and in the process, created another menace, the patents, for entire world. it is quite wondersome, how america is able to create godzilla scale menaces on its own, to menace itself back, while goi
  • Considering the absurdity of some patents granted in the past years, I seriously doubt that the number of paptens on file is a good indicator of technical prowess. It merely shows the strengh of the IP regime

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