By Henry Williams.
The economy might be a few years behind, but for patents, China has just taken the global crown.
According to a Reuters report, the United States has lost out to China as the “biggest processor of patent applications”.
While processing of patents is handled at a national level and isn’t directly comparable, it does show that the experts might be wrong about China’s economy.
The U.N.’s World Intellectual Property Organization, the group assigned with promoting the concept of intellectual property, said that Chinese inventors filed over 526,000 applications in 2011. The United States filed 23,000 less. The report added: “These trends … reflect how the geography of innovation has shifted.”
In a 2012 paper, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce derided China’s patent system, claiming the increased numbers represented a drive for quantity, not quality:
Patent filings are exploding in China today, but serious concerns are emerging about rapidly declining patent quality. There appears to be an overemphasis on quantitative patent targets in Chinese planning.
Japan (342,610), South Korea (178,924), and Europe (142,793) followed the two super-states in number of filings, according to WIPO.