11 August 2007

Middle Kingdom Patently on the Way to the Top

This could have interesting repercussions:

China has seen a sharp increase in requests for patents, according to the UN's intellectual property agency.

The number of requests for patents in China grew by 33% in 2005 compared with the previous year.

That gives it the world's third highest number behind Japan and the United States, the agency said.

Why is this important? Well, currently, patents are being pushed largely by the US as a way of asserting itself economically, notably against that naughty China, which, it is frequently claimed, just rips off the West's ideas. But as China becomes one of the world's leading holders of patents, we can expect to see it start asserting those against everyone else - including the US. Which might suddenly find that it is not quite so keen on those unfair intellectual monopolies after all....

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