TonyTib, thnak you for your comment! Links like the one you provided are very important in understanding the overall picture, as the IP makret in China is more complex than can be gleaned through the absolute number of patents alone. This has been my main issue with the WIPO press release: as a global patent filing organization, it focuses on one metric alone - number of new patent filings - without showing how this fits in the context of the country's overall enforcement efforts and the innovation cycle.
The press release also created a comparison netween China and other countires, again, based on the number of patents alone. I find that type of comparison to be misleading, as China has its own unique circumstances, as I ahve pointed out. Undertsanding the five-year plan is critical to putting this number in perspective. Understanding the increased IP enforcement efforts is also important to factor in, although the filing data (lack of foreign filers) does not quite support it yet, so we need more time to evaluate the tredns.
My take is pretty similar to yours (the author), except that according to the China Law Blog, courts in China for non-politicial matters are reasonably fair and predictable, BUT aren't like US courts (China has a more European approach plus of course cultural differences).
Here's a China Law Blog post that is somewhat related to this topic:
Sinai239, that you for your comment! As I said in my reply to the previous comment, it looks like the Chinese gov't is going in the right direction when in comes to enforcement, but the real indication of that will be foreign filings increasing, as well as activity involving buying/licensing Chinese patents by foreign copanies (as has been the case in the US, where actually some of the largest buyers or US patents are Chinese companies trying to enter the US maket). As I also indicated in my previous reply, my main point about the 1.1 million patents filed is that it follows an arbitrary goal set by the ratio of patents per capita. So when comparing among countires based on absilute number of patents, these circumstances should be taken into consideration.
Putting your opinions on H1B visas aside, or whether the Chinese inventors have formerly worked in the US or not (which is besides the point), my article was about the appropriateness of using patents as a relative measure of innovation when comparing China to the US, the EU, and other regions. My commentary had two parts: lookinf at the reason for the surge in patents, and looking at the enforcement regime in the country. As far as the reason for the surge goes, the nominal number of patents was prescribed by the party as a ratio to the number of people in the counitry. This is as arbitrary as it gets. So while I am sure there are good patents in there, it is hard to correlate this patenting activity with innovation when the number is set in advance. My other point was, IP rights are not valuable if they are not enforced in the country. One indication of the strength of the enforcement regime is the relative percentage of foreign filiers, which is very low in China. I quoted a few sources (an official gov't white paper, a study by Santa Clara School of Law) that show the Chinese gov't is going in the right direction when it comes to strengthening the enforcement in the country. It's too early for that to show up in litigation data, but if the gov't is successful then foreign filing will go up, which is the more intreresting metric to follow.
For the last 20 years or so, US companies have used H1B visas to hire low cost technical workers to the point that our young people have avoided taking engineering majors simply because they can hardly find jobs. The H1B visa workers have gained technnical know how as they pay their 5 year servitude. As many have decided to stay and worked in the US after getting the green card, many other have answered the patriotic call from their motherland to come back and build up their country's high tech industries. The China's million patents will have some low quality ones to meet the party goal but there are also high quality ones that will propel China into an innovation center of the world.
If our industrial leaders could not see past each quarterly profit, tt's just KARMA.
Efrat, Thank you for a thoughtful post. The purpose of the 5 year plan was to help China take the step from "production powerhouse" to "innovation powerhouse". In parallel to the goals you mentioned, China has established a specialized IP court. As you correctly indicate, there is no evidence to show that courts favor a Chines party over a non-Chinese party in a dispute.