Patenting Trend in China and the United States: Implications to Innovation

Author: Yahong Li

Published in:  德法学论坛 Jahrbuch des Deutsch-Chinesischen Instituts für Rechtswissenschaft der Universitäten Göttingen und Nanjing, v. 11, p. 62-90.

Abstract: The patent systems of China and the United States have undergone significant changes lately in the trend of patent applications, patent litigations and patent law amendments. China has become more aggressive in encouraging patent applications, focused more on national characteristics and the protection for indigenous innovation through courts and legislative reform. The United State has moved away from its 30-years aggressive patent policy which encourages innovations in new technologies and two centuries’ insistence on its unique patent system, and started to pay more attention to the balance between patent rights and public interests, as well as the harmonization of its patent system with the rest of the world. The patenting trends of the two countries imply the changes of their innovation strategies. It is hard to say at this moment whether these changes will encourage or imped innovation, but one thing can be sure is that the growth of patent applications alone does not means the elevation of the innovation capability. Over-emphasis on the protection of indigenous innovation or the harmonization with international norms may not be conducive to innovation in a long run.