Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nonsense Number One

China is now being heralded as the world leader in patent filings (link here), but this world number one reveals very little about China's innovation prowess or lack thereof.  First of all, counting filings (applications) rather than approved patents is rather silly.  Anyone can apply to Harvard Law School.  What is impressive is getting into Harvard Law School.  Second, China is busy filing lots of patents in China where the process of approving patents is lax at best.  If (when?) China overtakes Germany or Japan in patents received from the USPTO or some other respectable patenting office, then and only then should we sit up and take notice.  Third, there are different types of patents representing different levels of innovation.  For example, in the USPTO system, the inherent innovation behind utility patents is all else being equal much higher than that for design patents.

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