WIPO Celebrates Chinese Patent Explosion, Pretends That It's Innovation

from the patents-do-not-equal-innovation dept

We've talked in the past about patent system supporters' somewhat blatant cluelessness to China's clear recognition that its own growing patent system is the perfect tool for backdooring protectionism and trade barriers, without making it look like protectionism and trade barriers. I sometimes can't tell if this is just because those system supporters are so focused on the narrow "more patents must be good" argument that they're missing the big picture, or if they truly don't understand what's happening. Either way, we've got the latest example, as the folks at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a part of the UN, are celebrating the fact that China's patent system has received more applications than any other patent system this year.
China received 526,412 applications compared to 503,582 for the United States and 342,610 for Japan, according to the latest report from the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Now, some might wonder why this is happening -- or even look to some of those earlier examples where China has used the patent system specifically to hold back foreign competition and wonder if this is actually something worth celebrating.

But not WIPO.

It thinks that patents are good, so more patents must be excellent:
“Sustained growth in IP filings indicates that companies continue to innovate despite weak economic conditions,” said WIPO’s Director General, Francis Gurry. “This is good news, as it lays the foundation for the world economy to generate growth and prosperity in the future.”
Except almost nothing that Gurry says there is even close to accurate. It assumes -- without proof -- that increased patent filings have something to do with innovation. They don't. Increased patent filings only show people are filing for more patents. That is not the same thing as suggesting that they are innovating, because research has shown that patent numbers do not correlate well with innovation. Furthermore, a massive growth in patent applications does not "lay the foundation for the world economy to generate growth and prosperity." Again, the reality is almost entirely opposite. It lays the foundation for a massive hindrance on innovation, increasing the amount of patent trolling, protectionism and general holding back of true innovation. And this doesn't even touch on the fact that China's numbers are propped up by the crazy incentives it's been giving to people to file for patents.

This is a massive problem with groups like WIPO. They never seem to recognize that "more patents" or "more copyright" aren't automatic good things. They simply assume -- despite a total lack of evidence -- that it must be so. Considering the harm that over-protection can do to any market, it's a really ridiculous stance to take, and it makes WIPO and the UN lose nearly all credibility on the subject of patents and innovation.


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    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:29am

    It's a step up from worrying about a screensaver...

    But just a pointless rant.

    I'll pretend there's some substance, though and carp at "patent numbers do not correlate well with innovation". -- 1) SO they correlate SOMEWHAT. 2) Define "innovation".





    Mike "Streisand Effect" Masnick desperately needs your click. -- Why? -- Don't ask me! He's the one puts this link up often:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
    (IF he's so famous, why does he need to put the link up?)

     

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      Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:40am

      Re: It's a step up from worrying about a screensaver...

      "Define "innovation"."

      Innovation is the act of creating new interesting and useful products that people want to use, or improving on products that already exist.

      Patents merely protect what has already been created from being improved and thus have nothing to do with innovation.

       

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      Cory of PC (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:03am

      Re: It's a step up from worrying about a screensaver...

      OK... "carp?" You mean the fish?

      And since you may be asking a rhetorical question, it appears that you take the time to come here and not bother with your:

      in·no·va·tion
      /ˌinəˈvāSHən/
      Noun
      The action or process of innovating.
      A new method, idea, product, etc: "technological innovations".
      Synonyms
      novelty - newness

      Source: Google

      --

      in·no·va·tion noun \ˌi-nə-ˈvā-shən\
      Definition of INNOVATION

      1: the introduction of something new
      2: a new idea, method, or device : novelty
      — in·no·va·tion·al adjective

      Source: Merriam-Webster

      --

      in·no·va·tion [in-uh-vey-shuh n] Show IPA
      noun
      1.
      something new or different introduced: numerous innovations in the high-school curriculum.
      2.
      the act of innovating; introduction of new things or methods.
      Origin:
      1540–50; < Late Latin innovātiōn- (stem of innovātiō ). See innovate, -ion

      Related forms
      in·no·va·tion·al, adjective.

      Source: Dictionary.Reference.com

      --

      Innovation is the development of new customers value through solutions that meet new needs, inarticulate needs, or old customer and market needs in new ways. This is accomplished through different or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments, and society. Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself. Innovation differs from improvement in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different (Lat. innovare: "to change") rather than doing the same thing better.

      Source: Wikipedia

      --

      Boom, four links for you! If you don't like them, then get away from your computer (or whatever you're using to get to this site) and pull out a dictionary! There, you have your definition!

      And finally, since does Mike put up a link to that page? You're the one's who putting it up, you idiot! And besides, do you have ANY clue what that phrase means?! Why bother putting it up if you have no idea what it means beyond trying to say that Mike's the one who created a phrase? That's nothing special compare to other trope namers out there, dipwad.

       

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    identicon
    Applesauce, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Faith-based truths

    "They simply assume -- despite a total lack of evidence -- that it must be so."

    Another example of faith-based 'knowledge'.

    Just like:
    - Piracy is destroying the music industry.
    - The TSA is effective against terrorism.
    - etc...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:38am

    it makes me cringe to think that people like this are in such high-profile, extremely well paid positions when they haven't got the brain of a rocking horse! i class myself as being ordinary, perhaps even thick concerning some things and when i read about these clowns it just makes me glad i am. i do wonder, however, who the hell puts anyone like this up for the job? i guess it's a typical 'not what i know, more who i know' situation!

    'just because more filings are being made, doesn't mean there is more innovation'.

    more to the point, it doesn't mean there are even more patents, just attempts to secure more, possibly of the same!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:58am

      Re:

      The closest thing I can think of is "failing upwards": a phenomenon where a company thinks that someone is so incompetent that they must be promoted to do less overall damage to the company.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re:

        More like MBA trained, and so do not need to understand the business, just the use of numbers to manage it.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:59am

      Re:

      Managers and bureaucrats don't innovate, they manage the innovators. To do this they need some measure of innovation. Patents provide such a measure to their way of thinking.
      They also provide tools for protecting a market, and are especially useful for reigning in small agile innovative companies that would otherwise steal large parts of their market.

       

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        The Infamous Joe (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re:

        They also provide tools for protecting a market, and are especially useful for reigning in small agile innovative companies ...

        You don't say? Well, that sounds exactly like what we want! Something to slow down innovative companies!

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:34am

      Re:

      i class myself as being ordinary, perhaps even thick concerning some things and when i read about these clowns it just makes me glad i am.

      Maybe you're just too stupid to understand?

       

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:40am

    Holy Shit

    Move over, Religion! Intellectual Property is the new imaginary thing that people believe in without any data or critical thinking!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    I can't wait for all the lawsuits from China on Japan, South Korea and American companies. Hell yeah.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:57am

    I bet that China's patents only work one way. The will only respect their patents but not other nation's patents.

     

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:16am

    Where ????

    Between China, the US, and Japan we have 1.3 MILLION patents in a year.

    Will someone please tell me where all this new shit is so I can run out and buy it?

    I looked in Walmart and Costco, it's not there.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:41am

      Re: Where ????

      To get technical, it's not necessarily 1.3 million unique inventions. Many companies will file the same invention in multiple countries so there is certainly some double counting.

      The point is valid though. It's still a lot of "inventions."

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 9:09am

        Re: Re: Where ????

        Companies have been known to patent the same thing twice in the same cou8ntry!

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 9:16am

        Re: Re: Where ????

        Then Europe is really screwed with far less patent applications. While a common EU patent office is a good idea in theory, the problem is that every country want to have specific parts covered by patents. Since exceptions are not a very hot topics for governments we end up with a far more open interpretation of what can be patented, including, but not limited to theories, software and several other non-physical subjects.
        The easiest way to increase the number of patent applications is to remove excemptions! That doesn't mean there is more innovation. It merely means more patents are possible to achieve in the countries!

         

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      Michael, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 9:48am

      Re: Where ????

      I'm pretty sure most of it actually is at Walmart.

      Did you look in the clearance isle?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:21am

    the game is moving

    I wonder how many companies operating in China have investors from these various organizations that push for patents

     

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    gorehound (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:32am

    Patent and Copyright run Wild !
    Looking forward to people runnin riot and taking control over the Rich and Corrupt.

     

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    Byte, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    WIPO and its relevance

    Of course WIPO is celebrating; they are celebrating their own continued relevance.

     

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    Chris Brand (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 10:41am

    Rewording

    If we banned them from using the word "patent", they'd have to say something like "More people in China paid for 20-year monopolies", which might not sound quite so rosy.

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Intellectual property--the new fundamentalist religion of the 21st century.

    If you just believe in the Father Patent and his only begotten son Copyright, together with the Holy Trademark: you shall have everlasting profit--Amen

     

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    Emily Z, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 5:00pm

    Quantifying innovation

    The post points out that patents aren't a good indication of innovation, which seems reasonable. However, what *is* a good indicator of innovation? What else might we use quantify the amount of innovation going on?

    It seems difficult to argue with people who have a different sense of what drives innovation if we don't have any good ways to measure it.

     

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    Emily Souza Fei, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 10:00pm

    I could not help but agree with you Mike. There's so much pretending going on with this whole trademark boost. We all know that it is those trolls that drive this patent boost. I am hoping that China will soon change their patent registration process into a model that actually protects legitimate businesses.

    --Emily

     

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