January 12, 2018

China among America’s top 5 patent recipients

China among America’s top 5 patent recipients

The number of US patents awarded to Chinese inventors has increased by 28% in the past year, according to a report released on January 9 by IFI Claims Patent Services.

Chinese inventors received 11,241 US patents in 2017, 10 times more than in 2008, propelling the world’s second-largest economy into the top five recipients for the first time, behind the US, Japan, Korea, and Germany, but ahead of Taiwan.

Patents are an indication of how innovative a company or country is and innovation has been a priority of the Chinese government for the last decade. By obtaining patents in the US, Chinese companies are declaring their intention to compete on the global stage. 

In “Innovation and employment,” Marco Vivarelli says that “R&D investments, especially in high-tech sectors, may not only foster competitiveness, but may also be an effective means of creating jobs.”

The biggest fields for patents are in high-tech—digital data processing and transmission, semiconductors, and wireless communications. Fast-growing fields include 3D processing, machine learning, and drones, areas where Chinese firms have been investing.

In “Knowledge spillovers and future jobs,” David B. Audretsch notes that “[t]he prospects for future job growth are likely to be diminished in countries that stubbornly stick with the traditional industries and sectors. By contrast, countries that shift to knowledge-based economic activity that focuses on innovation have the potential to generate sustainable, high-quality jobs.

“…investments in creating new knowledge are crucial for creating future jobs, spurring economic growth, and enhancing competitiveness.” 

However, Audretsch warns: “If knowledge does not spill over but remains uncommercialized, the return on public investments in knowledge creation remains low.” 

Examples of policy instruments designed to facilitate and enhance knowledge spillovers include “financial incentives to promote entrepreneurship; offices of technology transfer; science parks and incubators to facilitate spillovers from university research; and conferences, workshops, and networking events to spur the exchange of ideas across individuals and firms.”

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