How China Is Boosting Patents: Make Professors File Free Patent Applications To Get Tenure

from the yeah,-that'll-help dept

Last October, we noted that China was starting to massively ramp up how many patents it had, not because it showed any increase in innovation, but because the Chinese government realized that patents are a powerful economic weapon it could use against Western countries. In that October post, it was mentioned in passing that one way that China was boosting patents was by making it easier to win tenure if you file for patents.

However, over at IP Kat, there's a report from a Hong Kong lawyer, suggesting it goes way, way, way beyond that:
"The reasons why you are seeing such a large increase in Chinese Patents filed by Academics is that for them 1) it's free and 2) they get academic credit for it. Filing patents is encouraged by the Chinese Government and Academia. The Chinese Government has given Universities (as well as local companies) funds for filing patents in order to spur innovation - one measure of which is the number of patents filed by China, as a country. Also, the Chinese Universities are ranked against each other according to how many patents they've filed. As a result, Chinese Universities have adjusted their tenure requirements and expectations such that professors who want to advance are virtually required to file patents as well as to publish papers. In one specific University I know of, filing a patent is "worth" 3 published papers. This practice has been around for at least 2.5 years. Thus you are seeing (proportionally) a very large number of Chinese Academics filing patent applications in China.
Think any of that is about actual innovation? Or is it just about increasing the number of patents in China?

Filed Under: china, innovation, patents

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  1. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), 1 Mar 2011 @ 6:17am

    Re: So?

    Right but, that's exactly the point. It's bad when it happens in any country. The government is specifically encouraging patents and would definitely never encourage anything go into the public domain - because they are not interested in an actually useful measuring stick for professors, only in a heavier swinging stick for the international IP battle.

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