And Now Europe Feels The Need To Catch Up To China And The US In The Self-Destructive Patent Race

from the bad-news-for-innovation dept

Well, you had to know this was coming. When you make the very dangerous mistake of assuming that patents are a proxy for innovation, then you get concerned when other countries/regions are getting more patents than you are. We've already covered how China is ramping up their patent approvals in an attempt to create an economic weapon against the West ("sorry, you can't sell those computers here, they violate the patent of this Shanghai firm..."). And, of course, the US has stupidly fallen into line and started approving patents willy-nilly to keep up. So, over in Europe, overreacting bureaucrats are about to make the same mistake. They've declared that the EU is "falling behind" in innovation (really, patents) and are urging a more streamlined patent system that would be European-wide. The idea, of course, is that with a EU-wide patent system, it becomes easier to get patents. Of course, that only helps innovation if patents actually lead to more innovation and, sadly, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Filed Under: china, eu, patents, us


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  1. identicon
    Not an electronic Rodent, 4 Feb 2011 @ 1:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    In reality, the previous years had been flat showing no increase
    Just knocked up a quick graph of granted patents from the USPTO's own figures. Let's see....
    around 1980-1983 there's a small upswing in the trend of patents granted following a blip.
    Around about 1990 is when more US patents start getting granted to foreigners because while the total patents granted line continues trending upwards the US-sourced patent grants level off until:
    Around '97-'98 the line takes a huge leap upwards. The US-sourced figures mimic this on a much smaller scale. This is also the time of a blip then a large upswing in the number of applications. Clearly some event happened at this time
    After this around 2004/2005 it dips significantly for a year back to what would look approx the trend from the pre-'97 phase.
    Over the next 2 years it climbs back to the post '97 trend line, then around '07 dips to about 1/2 way between the 2 extrapolated trend lines but still trend upwards afterwards in keeping with the average curve.
    The final and current figure jumps massively in a way that looks similar to the '97 jump except larger, suggesting that the "new trend" if/when it levels out to "regular growth" will be signigicantly above the post '97 levels. This is easier to see on the US-sourced patent grant figures as they have trended significantly less sharply upward until this time.

    Now would you like to explain your point again related to these figures?

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