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Dulling the Cutting Edge: How Patent-Related Policies and Practices Hamper Innovation in China

Prud'homme, Dan (2012): Dulling the Cutting Edge: How Patent-Related Policies and Practices Hamper Innovation in China. Published in: European Union Chamber of Commerce in China Publications , Vol. 1, No. August 2012 (August 2012): pp. 1-229.

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Abstract

This study’s statistical analysis shows that patent quality and innovation in China deserve improvement, and an in-depth legal, management science, and economic analysis in the study shows that various patent-related policies and practices actually hamper patent quality and innovation in China. Over 50 recommendations for reform are provided. The study is divided into four chapters, summaries of which are as follows:

Chapter 1: Although China became the world leader in quantity of domestically filed patent applications in 2011, the quality of these patents needs improvement. Also, while certain innovation in China is rising, the country’s actual innovation appears overhyped by some sources.

Chapter 2: There appears to be an overly heavy focus on government-set quantitative patent targets in China, which can hamper patent quality and innovation. This overemphasis involves over 10 national-level and over 150 municipal/provincial quantitative patent targets, mostly to be met by 2015, which are also linked to performance evaluations for SoEs, Party officials and government ministries, universities and research institutes, and other entities.

Chapter 3: China has a wide-range of other policies, many of which are at least partially meant to encourage patents, that can actually discourage quality patents, and highest-quality patents in particular, and innovation. Examples of these policies include a variety of measures with requirements for “indigenous intellectual property rights” that are linked to financial incentives (many of which are unrelated to government procurement); a range of other government-provided financial incentives for patent development (e.g. certain patent filing subsidies); inappropriate inventor remuneration rules; discriminatory standardisation approaches; and a wide range of others.

Chapter 4: There are a host of concerns surrounding rules and procedures for patent application review and those for enforcement of patent disputes that can hamper building of quality patents and innovation in China. These include concerns about abuse of patent rights, difficulties invalidating utility models, and a wide range of other issues.

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