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China Now Top Patent Filer 135

smitty777 writes "China has passed the U.S. as the number-one filer of patents this year, according to a report by Thompson Reuters. With an average annual increase of 16.7%, China has filed 314,000 patents last year. This brings the total share of China in worldwide holdings up from 54% to 58%. However, according to legal expert Elliot Papageorgiou: 'One thing is volume, quality is quite another. The return, or the percentage of grants, of the patents is still not as high in China as, say, in the U.S., Japan or some places in Europe.' This was also a record year for patent filing over all, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). According to their numbers, worldwide patent applications are up 7.2%, at 1.98 million in 2010. FTA: 'WIPO Director General Francis Gurry on Tuesday attributed the rise to the "knowledge economy" and globalization led by U.S. and Chinese innovation.'"
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China Now Top Patent Filer

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  • First post (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward


    Like most of China's academic papers these patents will also be worthless garbage.

    • You are clueless (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Thursday December 22, 2011 @02:56AM (#38457004)

      Yes, quality counts in academic papers, but .. crappiness counts in patents.

      Yes, crappiness mildly obstructs obtaining the patent, fine file more patents. Yet, crappiness is an incredible asset once you obtaing the patent, but the more overboard, the more people you can sue.

    • by demiurg ( 108464 )

      Patent quality not always matters, sheer numbers often are more important. As patents for certain technologies are counted in thousands, do you really think somebody can actually evaluate all these patents? Have you tried to read a patent and figure out what it is about? Patents are written in such way that it takes a lot of time to analyze. This is way in the end what counts is the number of patents, not the quality - nobody can evaluate the quality of say 10K patents.

  • Quality (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:41PM (#38454770)
    They're complaining about the quality of Chinese patents?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Thats like 1 in every 3000 people having created something worthy of a patent.

      I call bullshit on that.

    • They're complaining about the quality of Chinese patents?

      Keep in mind that all the original brands are also made in China

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:42PM (#38454780)
    The US will not be so lenient in granting patents for everything stupid little thing when it benefits non-US companies as much or more than our own.

    I suppose bias against Chinese-originated patents could stifle this... but I suppose they will just create shell companies to work around that.

    • Isn't it more likely that patriotic USPTO staff will just rush through any old rubbish (worse than now) to make sure every vague hint of an idea is owned by the US?

    • by Kenja ( 541830 )
      No, the US will just patent ALL the stupid stuff first! Do you want us to have a PATENT GAP! Well DO YOU!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The USPTO stance is that if you want to get a shoddy patent they'll let you, but it's your ass in court if it's easily invalidated. The problem is that the courts are reluctant to invalidate the bogus patents because they don't know the technology well enough.

    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
      At least, if not, it's going to be a interesting DoS attack to the USPTO. Filing at a large rate will either require more people to actually go through them carefully or simply a reform of the process. Which may come with a reform to the system.
    • Except I'm not worried about bias, I'm thinking that if the Chinese get enough patents to lock the United States out of their own patent system that will be the state of affairs that finally sinks the whole software patent thing. If you have to send two bucks to China every time you write a Hello World program, maybe that will finally display just how broken the system is.

      Once large corporate interests figure out that patents cost them more than they help them, that's when reform will suddenly become imp

  • by cmv1087 ( 2426970 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:42PM (#38454782)
    Is it where companies hoard patents on irrelevant things and use them to sue the pants off competitors?
    • Yes. Also known as the economy where you can only actually make money if you're a lawyer, right up until the economy crashes. I give it seven years.
      • Unless you can patent such an economy, in which case I give it 20 years.

      • by anubi ( 640541 )
        Well, now that there has been so much concern about recognizing information as a "property", isn't it time the tax law recognizes it as property as well?

        Paying property tax gives me the right to tell the homeless guy he can't erect his tent on my land. Our government is giving out the right to tell others what they can and cannot do. Do they pay anything for the right?

        This whole thing just seems to be a "barrier to entry" to keep competition at bay. Instead of working, our people either turn to the w
    • If it were irrelevant, nobody else would want to use it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's where you make knowledge a scare resource so that you can apply the term "economy" to it.

    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

      Is it where companies hoard patents on irrelevant things and use them to sue the pants off competitors?

      It reckon depends on the type of knowledge: patent lawyers will surely have it, they'll be surely benefiting from this economy.

    • Is it where companies hoard patents on irrelevant things and use them to sue the pants off competitors?

      Let them wear skirts!

  • companies are winning lawsuits on "clicking a phone number in an email in order to dial the number" and "switching to an app while on the phone." companies would be mad not to try to patent every tiny user interface action, technical revision, bugfix, etc. regardless of prior art or novelty. prediction, 2012 will be even bigger!!!
    • Its payout lottery. Buy a patent and you might win big. Why not buy tens of thousands of them like some companies do.

      • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

        Its payout lottery. Buy a patent and you might win big. Why not buy tens of thousands of them like some companies do.

        In other news - it doesn't help [] you still need to pay MS the extortion money.

    • don't forget rectangular screen with rounded corners.

  • Haha, oops :) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by youn ( 1516637 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:47PM (#38454822) Homepage

    hopefully the us gets an incentive to fix the patent system. China is as entitled to patents as any other country... but the fact that the usa does not want to be deadlocked by china may give an incentive to fix the patent system :)

    • These patents are being filed in the Chinese patent system.

      Enforcement in China? Priceless.

      • by nzac ( 1822298 )

        These patents are being filed in the Chinese patent system.

        Enforcement in China? Priceless.

        If they let all patents though and enforce it, along with forcing Chinese manufacturers to provide cheep products to China then they can can lock the US and others out of ever equalizing the tech trade imbalance.
        And since the government can control the courts they can influence the patents that stay valid.
        Of course that's just the begging and it would annoy a lot of people.

        • I'm curious how sending us stuff in exchange for only paper and never other stuff is harmful to us and helpful to them economically. Strategically, perhaps, but that's only if we ever go to war on opposing sides.

          • by nzac ( 1822298 )

            That paper is still good for buying stuff that makes there economy stronger. If you have paper to burn and totalitarian authority then you can fix anything economy related. They can just stop their citizens from buying expensive stuff from overseas.

            You assume that the US would work if everyone though it was only paper. No one would trade oil, food and other stuff for paper. Just like no one would want just paper for their latest technology.

            Also its "paper" that stops the Chinese factories from seizing the f

      • Enforcement would be better than what we have now, but what happens when Chinese patents duplicate US patents? If this is an issue, it may do more to push American business to move manufacturing back to America than the current patent anarchy will.

        Could there be a Dirty Jobs [] iPhone manufacturing episode in our future?
    • by Surt ( 22457 )

      So you're thinking the US will withdraw from the WIPO?

      • by youn ( 1516637 )

        No, they would have too much to lose. What exactly would happen, depends on many factors... but ideally they would lobby for different rules, make patents for obviousness a lot more difficult to obtain worldwide... probably through some secret treaty like acta

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:49PM (#38454852)

    Fixed that for you

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      China now top patent DEfiler

      I think the country with the highest number of patent trolls deserves that particular title don't you?

      (take a guess which country that is)

  • quality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "One thing is volume, quality is quite another..."

    Right. 'Cause, ya know, the U.S.A. cranks-out quality patents all day.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    its 54%, not %54

    get a brain morans

    • A method for denoting a fraction of the whole by placing a percent sign after a number between 1 and 100 has been granted a patent. The submitter is obviously using an alternate method to prevent a lawsuit.
  • by HtR ( 240250 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @08:11PM (#38455028)

    If anything, I would think that granting a higher percentage of patents is a sign of lower quality.

    But then again, I also don't see more patents as a rise in the "knowledge economy" or globalization lead by innovation.

  • >"China has passed the US as the number one filer of patents this year"

    Yes, but are they REAL patents or stupid, unfair, poor-quality software "concept" patents that have totally clogged the US system?

  • Uh, oh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thangodin ( 177516 ) <> on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @08:39PM (#38455230) Homepage

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson, in his talk at last years TAM, showed us a world map that illustrated the number of new scientific research papers filed by country. In 2000, the U.S. was still a leader. Then he showed the 2008 map, and the U.S. looked like a deflated balloon. My comment at the time was that primary research shows you applied research ten years down the road, and industrial innovation 20 years down the road. Guess I was right.

    Tyson's point was that the Bush administration's defunding of pure science was reflected in the map. Much as libertarians don't like to hear this, private research goes into low hanging fruit. Primary research is too risky, particularly since, if done right, it enters the public domain. Only a handful of companies do this (IBM and Google, take a bow--Apple and Microsoft, sit down.) Medical advances are particularly susceptible to this. The computer revolution came from NASA and the Apollo project, the internet came from DARPA funding of AT&T for the creation of resilient network (those same Bell labs are now beggars at the table of Alcatel, a French company.)

    Every other country that is a major player is spending a lot on primary research, and this funding is coming from the government. It's infrastructure, it lays the road for the business of the future, and its the one area where the government excels. China is spending a fortune on this, and we've exported all of our know how to them already, When IBM farms out manufacturing to another country, they send their engineers there to teach the manufacturers exactly what to do, and many other companies do exactly the same thing. They know almost everything we know, but we don't know everything they know--not anymore.

    The Greatest Generation, the people who grew up in the depression and fought the Axis, understood responsibility. They did a lot of things wrong, but they knew how to work together towards a better future, and our standard of living is the result of that. Can you imagine rubber and silk drives today? Americans couldn't even be bothered to pay higher taxes for Iraq and Afghanistan, even while they made noises about supporting the troops. It's time to grow up and carry not only our weight, but more than our weight, and pass a torch that burns brighter for our having held it. So the next time you hear the latest Fox demagogue complaining about taxes, and demanding lower taxes, imagine how his belly aching would have sounded in the 40's.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by X-Power ( 1009277 )

      Maybe the reason was that the war with the axis had nothing to do with stealing resources from third world countries?

      I have a feeling if a genuine evil shows up, with a genuine threat to the american life, then the current generation will become the greatest generation + 1.

      • genuine evil is hard to recognize, and the state of the media and propaganda today is totally different so that there will always be a counterpoint. In WW1 & 2 many people got their news from the radio and going to theaters. Nowadays most people have internet and can go to al-jazeera or whatever, assuming SOPA doesn't pass. Your genuine evil won't materialize till the economy is far past saving.
    • Sorry to sounds like a monopolist apologist but Microsoft does it for pure CS. THE paper on monad from ms research is purely theoretical and yet F# and linq are influenced by it. The series of papers on UI from the team that made the courier experiment are top notch but it will take almost decade for them to percolate into production.

    • When part of the funding goes to "science" like the crony BS churned out by the IPCC, I don't see spending cuts as all bad.

      Politically driven science is not science, it's politics.
    • Credit where credit is due: Microsoft has a huge research department, and is funding very basic and theoretical research in Computer Science. Quite In contrast, for example to Apple, which does not.
  • prefix or postfix? (Score:4, Informative)

    by robvangelder ( 472838 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @09:38PM (#38455574)

    The % sign does not appear before the number. Please do not make me angry.

  • ... stealing from IBM, stealing from Amazon, stealing from Google, stealing from Yahoo, stealing from Microsoft, stealing from... well, pretty much everybody.

  • Now that china has learned how to file obvious patents and make them sound kinda novel, will we have meaningful patent reform?
  • What your mind creates should not be anyone's property, not even your own. If you want complete control over your ideas and creations, keep them to yourself. Once knowledge is out, it's out, you do not own it, and neither do I.

    • What your mind creates should not be anyone's property, not even your own. If you want complete control over your ideas and creations, keep them to yourself. Once knowledge is out, it's out, you do not own it, and neither do I.

      Bollocks, if I write a poem, then it is my creation. Until we live in a communist society based on "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" I need to be able to earn money from that creation in exactly the same way a lawyer does.

      • Of course your poem is your creation, but you cannot own words.

        In the current system I can have an idea, "register" it, and then either preclude implementations, or sell a lousy implementation myself and keep other people from improving on it.

        I have no idea where your communist catchphrase enters the picture...

  • Most of their patents probably originated here anyway. They were most likely stolen off U.S. computers from the thousands of companies that they hacked into. I wouldn't issue a Chinese patent in the U.S. until I did a background check on what company they stole it from. I'm also wondering how much longer we are going to put up with this crap.
  • How many of these are patents that were filed in other countries than China that are now being filed in China by the Chinese? i.e. not new design / research / etc but grabbing the rights to such 'inside' China.

  • Maybe patents should be made harder to get. Obvious, right? With millions of patents being added every year and hundreds of millions already in effect, the system has become so convoluted that the little man inventor, the only person supposedly benefiting from a relatively cheap patenting process, doesn't stand a chance of enforcing his patent or even being sure that it's valid. Charge a million dollars for patents and use the money to buy health insurance for families, or cat food for sickly hedgehogs or s

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.