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IP Made in China -- Real or Fake?

By Andrew T. Pham

Associate General Counsel, Global Intellectual Property (
Verint® Systems Inc. is a leading provider of Actionable Intelligence® solutions and services for enterprise workforce optimization and security intelligence.

Fueled by three decades of unprecedented growth, China, with an economy valued at $1.33 trillion, passed Japan in the second quarter of 2010 to become the world's second-largest economy behind the United States. While China's economic growth is impressive, its patent growth is nearly four times its GDP growth. Despite this, intellectual property (IP) protection is still evolving - with IP enforcement being the weakest link. Consistent with its economic growth, IP in China is more about economic development than rights of inventors, which is unlikely to change in the near future. But, is this IP growth for real or a government manufactured bubble? Stated another way, are the patent filings based on genuine innovation or merely imitation filings. It certainly does look real when one looks at other evidence that would support IP growth, such as technical publications and engineering graduates.

The Growth of Patents

The growth of intellectual property in China is evident when focusing on the number of patent applications received in Ch...

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