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Jul 30, 2023 Paulo Mota

China's Patent Pandemic Peak

China is shooting up the patent rankings - especially during and after the pandemic. Can it keep up the momentum?

Which brings us to our next question...

Which Country is Most Innovative?

Innovation has long been the driving force behind societal progress and economic growth. Nations around the world strive to secure their positions in the global innovation ranking, as it reflects their capacity to create and harness new technologies.

So which country is on top?

In this blog post, we will explore the current state of innovation in the United States and Japan. Plus, we will analyse China's noteworthy rise in the published patent domain, positioning itself as a major player in the innovation game.

China's ascent in the global innovation ranking has been nothing short of remarkable. Prior to 2020, China already held an impressive third place in terms of published patents. However, since the pandemic, there has been a noticeable acceleration in its innovation efforts. China's ability to swiftly adapt to changing market dynamics and its massive investments in research and development have propelled it further up the ladder.


China - Patent Protection Champion?

China has the reputation for ignoring patent and other IP rights. But you might be surprised by some IP protection facts.

Most patent lawsuits in China (over 90%) involve 2 Chinese companies. Foreign companies who owned Chinese patents had a higher win rate than Chinese companies who owned Chinese patents.

In terms of respecting IP protection, China has improve. China now ranks 12th in the world, behind Germany, on WIPO's global innovation index. Cost of Chinese patent litigation is low and most court cases (75%) are won by the patent owner. China also recently introduced punitive damages (previously only actual damages were awarded). 


China - Import Magnet?

China has the reputation for being export driven. But it is also an import magnet.

For example, German exports rely heavily on China, which is their biggest buyer.

In terms of industrial manufacturing growth, Germany grew 1.8% in April 2023, while China's manufacturing shrank over 3% during the same month. 

Part of Germany's success may be due to Platform Industry 4.0, a public-private partnership established in 2014, which seeks to bring together industry, academia, and government.

As China continues to invest heavily in research and development, and with other nations intensifying their own innovation efforts, the global innovation landscape is likely to witness further shifts. Collaborative efforts, technology-sharing agreements, and increased emphasis on sustainable and inclusive innovation will be vital in shaping the future of global innovation.

On the other, placing further restrictions on imports to China could affect its innovation rise - and collaborative innovation throughout the world.


US - Top Innovator

The United States and Japan have consistently held the top positions in global innovation rankings. The US, with its robust research and development (R&D) ecosystem, world-class universities, and thriving start-up culture, remains a powerhouse of innovation. Japan, known for its precision engineering and technological advancements, has also consistently maintained a strong presence in the global innovation landscape.

Here some key facts about US innovation:

US remains an innovation powerhouse, although it only came in second in WIPO's innovation index in 2022

Patent litigation is important and growing in the US (like China), which may also account for the high number of US patents filed

While not at the top of the innovation ranking, South Korea, Germany, and Taiwan have been formidable players in the global innovation race. South Korea's emphasis on cutting-edge technologies, such as 5G and semiconductor manufacturing, has garnered international recognition. Germany's engineering prowess, coupled with a strong focus on research and development, has secured its position as a global innovation leader. Taiwan, with its specialization in the semiconductor industry, has been a significant contributor to technological advancements.


Future of Global Innovation

The global innovation ranking is a dynamic and ever-changing space, with countries like the United States and Japan leading the pack and others, such as China, South Korea, Germany, and Taiwan, striving to secure their positions. China's rapid rise in published patents post the pandemic is a testament to its growing innovation prowess. However, it also poses challenges that need to be addressed for a more inclusive and cooperative global innovation ecosystem. By fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing, nations can collectively contribute to a brighter and more innovative future for all.

So – what is the future of global innovation? Schedule a meeting with Dvorah Graeser to go more in depth about any questions that you have about innovation through tech transfer.



Published by Paulo Mota July 30, 2023