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China Becoming Intellectual Property Powerhouse

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the great-patent-wall dept.

Government 140

eldavojohn writes "A lot of Westerners view China as little more than the world's factory manufacturing anything with little regard to patents, copyrights and trademarks. But it seems as far as patents go, China is moving on up. According to the WIPO, the company that applied for the most patents in 2008 was not an American or Japanese company but China's Huawei Technologies. And China has made astonishing ground recently moving up to third place with 203,257 patent applications behind Japan (500,000) and the United States (390,000). It remains to be seen if these patents applications will come to fruition for China but it is evident that they are focusing on a new image as a leader in research and development. The Korean article concentrates on 2008 but you can find 2009 statistics at the WIPO's report on China along with some statistics breaking down applications by industry."

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Probably Stolen (0, Troll)

Dthief (1700318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817788)

How many of the patents read:

A method for doing "x" based on "Patent ######" via exactly the same means

Re:Probably Stolen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33817838)

How is that different from a lot of the items which go through the USPTO?

Re:Probably Stolen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33817890)

The USPTO is neither communist nor on the axis of evil

Re:Probably Stolen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818840)

The USPTO is neither communist nor on the axis of evil

it should be

Re:Probably Stolen (2, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817924)

Because these patents come with a side of sticky rice, its totally different.

Re:Probably Stolen (3, Insightful)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817900)

I agree. Last I heard, they only enforced IP rights when non-Chinese companies infringed (or appeared to infringe) upon a Chinese company's IP.

Anyone know if China's still doing that? (with references)

Re:Probably Stolen (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818028)

Well I asked a Chinese graduate student in my lab what intellectual property meant in China. He smiled and yelled out "Nothing!"

Re:Probably Stolen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818462)

I guess they're ahead of the US in that regard, then.

Re:Probably Stolen (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818092)

I have not yet heard of cases where China does this but U.S.A have been know to do this on regular basis.

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818184)

American companies would sue their CEO's grandmother for infringing a patent.

Re:Probably Stolen (5, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818154)

How is that different from the good ole US of A?

The mighty US publishing industry was built on infringing (or stealing, or whatever) the copyrights of European authors for so many decades it may be close to a century or two.

Then, the markets grew and Hollywood developed a solid relationship with Washington during WWII doing propaganda shit. The studios and the publishing companies started making money off American productions.

And suddenly - lo and behold - the US government changed its mind on the matter, joined the various copyright conventions and went on to become the world champion of copyright and related rights.

You're seeing China doing exactly the same thing, only 80 years later, using (and perhaps abusing) the very framework US put in place.

Re:Probably Stolen (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818332)

European authors that rich. ha ha you made me laugh. next time come with the truth and not some European propaganda(the only orginal work to come out of Europe).

Re:Probably Stolen (3, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818404)

Ignorant troll is ignorant.

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818678)

It is true, although to be fair, in many cases, authors made more money from the 'piracy' in the US than they did domestically because publishers were paying for early access and printing more copies at low prices. So, authors made more money and more people became literate and thus capable of writing books themselves.

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818782)

In what I have read the claims are the opposite -- that authors were rarely paid anything if the work wasn't properly copyrighted in the US by the author (which wasn't easy back then, so it wasn't typically done).

Do you know some specific authors that made money without taking out a US copyright? That would be quite an interesting sideline to the supposed general trend.

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819872)

I'm talking about European, typically British, authors BEFORE we had any kind of foreign copyright agreements. They couldn't get copyright in the US, so the payment was for the manuscript (more specifically, getting their hands on it before other publishers could flood the market), not for publishing rights. The US copyright system did have strict rules until about 1989 when we finally joined the Berne Convention. Night of the Living Dead fell into the public domain due to clerical error, but Romero still had quite a bit of success with the sequels.

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819902)

Ah, I see what you mean by "early access", thanks.

I can't even guess how significant is that versus the people who allegedly lost on their work being published without payment.

It would be interesting to compare the numbers somehow.

Re:Probably Stolen (2, Informative)

Kagato (116051) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818500)

80 years? The US was stealing from Europe well before that. The UK had the death penalty for people caught stealing certain technology. However, there is a very big difference. The US didn't have a WIPO treaty back then that bound them to honer Intellectual Property. China does. They wanted all the benefits of WTO/WIPO, but doesn't want to actual honor their end of the deal.

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818686)

Sorry, my last paragraph is not very clear. I meant about 80 years since US started to consider the various copyright organizations seriously, and move towards being protective of copyright and related rights internationally.

As for the WTO/WIPO treaties, correct me if I'm wrong, but they are more of a negotiating framework that facilitates resolution of trade disputes and coordination of domestic legislation than bodies that actually draft binding agreements.

The rulings of the WTO are, more or less, fact-finding, not binding, even less so than your typical bilateral or UN agreement.

So much so, that US government is drafting and pushing ACTA outside of the WTO/WIPO framework so that it has more teeth.

That is, China can (and does) view its treatment of copyright and related rights as totally in line with WPO, and even disagree and ignore rulings of the WTO that say different.

The only recourse WTO gives is a justification of retaliatory measures, which the US government was never shy to apply liberally anyway, justified or not (see, e.g. the infamous Section special and super 301, probably the best known US law in Asia).

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819190)

We have companies suing the pants off of people for illegally downloading music, and you're saying the USA doesn't respect IP?

"The mighty US publishing industry was built on infringing (or stealing, or whatever) the copyrights of European authors for so many decades it may be close to a century or two"

What's your reference on this point? Give me a source. Keep in mind that international law was not the same thing then as it is now. In a sense, it took two world wars, the invent of the nuclear bomb, and the advent of modern transportation to make the economy as global as it is. (To say nothing of the birth of the internet.)

"Then, the markets grew and Hollywood developed a solid relationship with Washington during WWII doing propaganda shit. The studios and the publishing companies started making money off American productions."

What? When, exactly, do you think Hollywood was born? Further, what ever point you're trying to make is not obvious.

"And suddenly - lo and behold - the US government changed its mind on the matter, joined the various copyright conventions and went on to become the world champion of copyright and related rights."

Your source, please.

"You're seeing China doing exactly the same thing, only 80 years later, using (and perhaps abusing) the very framework US put in place."

The 1930s were a miserable time to live in the US. The economy of the 1930s US started with the Great Crash of 1929. It took rewriting the social contract itself with the New Deal programs and a world war to get the economy back on its feet - over a period of time longer than a decade. (My source is John K Galbraith's "1929: The Great Crash". Where my recount falters I blame honest lapse of memory - not Galbraith's work. "The Great Crash" is perhaps the best recount of the Great Depression.)

I'd like to add that China has also pegged its currency at a rate below equilibrium for quite a while now. The US balance of payments with China suffers greatly because of the disequilibrium. The idea to do that is a recent 'innovation'. I'm pretty sure the US has never had the chance to abuse international trade in much the ways China has.

Re:Probably Stolen (2, Informative)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819334)

For a good overview of how "intellectual property" became what it is today in the US, see, for example, this book:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Culture_(book) [wikipedia.org]

It will answer all your questions above, and more, and provide quite a lot of examples. It is also free.

The 1930s were a miserable time to live in the US.

How is that even related to the topic at hand, which is history of copyright and related rights?

(Incidentally, US may have been bad, but the rest of the world had it a lot worse, and a large part of that was due to the myopic protectionist legislation US passed in the wake of the recession)

I'm pretty sure the US has never had the chance to abuse international trade in much the ways China has.

US has been directing more or less unilaterally most of the international trade for its own benefit since the end of WWII. I'm pretty sure the effects of China's trade policies don't quite measure up in comparison.

Do you know what does, for example, the phrase "Nixon shock" refer to?

Re:Probably Stolen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818164)

Well, what kind of references do you want? Do you want reports of actual lawsuits being filed? Cause those don't exist. Companies don't bring up IP cases because they know the Chinese government will cockblock them even if its for something as blatant as counterfeit Prada handbags.

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818256)

I am sure they still do, i remeber hearing about a law they were workin' on passing there. For a company to make software for use in china, if they are not based in china to start, they have to partner with a Chinese company. The law would require for example MS to provide full windows source code to the chinese company, i mean entire windows source. so they could make windows if MS ever left the country or gov kicked them out.

Re:Probably Stolen (4, Interesting)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818296)

I agree. Last I heard, they only enforced IP rights when non-Chinese companies infringed (or appeared to infringe) upon a Chinese company's IP.

Anyone know if China's still doing that? (with references)

Where are your references that they actually did that?

On a side note, several years back I attended a speech by David Martin, who is founder/CEO of the company M-CAM [m-cam.com] , which is specialised in evaluating patent portfolios (such as determining how many claims overlap with other patents, likely validity etc). It was so interesting that I transcribed [ffii.org] it. That page also contains the audio recording.

One of the things he mentioned is that China has a requirement that whenever the state purchases technology from a foreign interest, all "IP" for enabling technologies and know-how must be transferred as well. Many Western companies figured the Chinese wouldn't know/comprehend the exact patent rights they gave to the Chinese, so they only transferred rights to second-rate patents that weren't worth the paper they weren't printed on (crappy patents don't only exist in the software world). Once the Chinese caught up with this practice,

  • Western companies suddenly started losing out on a lot of bids to large projects
  • the Chinese started closely scrutinising the patents supposedly held by these foreign companies

It's easy to accuse the Chinese of "stealing" everything, but (just making up these numbers) what if 48% of what's supposedly stolen should actually have been transferred to them in the first place according to contractual obligations (nobody ever forced those companies to do business there if they didn't like the terms), 48% consists of bogus patents and the other 2% is simply the equivalent of the Nokia/Apple/Google/Microsoft/HTC/LG/... patent infringement lawsuits that you have in the US mobile industry (are all those companies "thieves", copycats etc)?

I also think the "Probably stolen?" subject of this thread shows incredible ignorance. China probably has more engineering majors graduating every year than any other country in the world. Do you honestly think that the Chinese for some reason are inherently more stupid than us Westerners and cannot come up with anything innovative? Especially "innovative according to patent office standards"?

As far as I can tell, they've simply learned the tricks of the trade. For decades, "intellectual property" allowed us to have the best of both worlds: cheap labor from China and nevertheless preventing them from making cheap knock-offs and importing those back into our territories (they could sell them over there, but nobody cared about that since nobody had any money so there was no real profit to be made anyway).

Now they are starting to beat us at our own idiotic game. And still some people think they have the moral high ground and yell "but they steal everything from us, this cannot be". Wake up.

Re:Probably Stolen (3, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818572)

Do you honestly think that the Chinese for some reason are inherently more stupid than us Westerners and cannot come up with anything innovative? Especially "innovative according to patent office standards"?

Stupid, no, but cultural differences do seem to have an effect on innovation. Cultures do change though, and the bar on 'innovation' is pretty low, especially in the software patent world. China will be able to hold their own in no time.

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

tsj5j (1159013) | more than 3 years ago | (#33820558)

Hold their own? Considering China's population and the rate their education is progressing, they can do far more than "hold their own".
It's not hard to forsee a future (20 years? - the next generation or two) where China surpasses US as the technology leader.

The current draconian IP protection ways US is currently taking will definitely bite them back really hard in future.
It is simply a matter of time.

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819210)

My source is a book I read (portions of) on the request of one of my professors. Search for, I think, "chinese international trade" on amazon and you're likely to find plenty of source material. I can give it a look later if it's that big a deal.

Re:Probably Stolen (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33819352)

Yes, I think they are not as capable. (I'm Chinese, so the rest of you can drop the racism accusations.) There are some cultural elements that cause this, but Chinese people are resourceful, and plenty of them are filing patents on this side of the Pacific, so there is no reason to think that the folks on the home front are not growing in capability. It is not a bi-level state. It is a continuum, and as a whole, Chinese people will catch up quickly and surpass the US.

It is also not a single linear continuum. It is much more complex than that, and there will be areas where the Chinese will really excel, and it does not hurt that bozo American companies are cheaping out, and hoping to cash in on cheap Chinese high tech labor only to have their intellectual property walk out the door. (Ever heard of the stereotype cheap Chinese? Didn't realize your own cheap countrymen were selling you out, eh?) If you think the Chinese policy of supplying your whitey companies with cheap labor is just some high ranking general lining his pockets for the short term, you are totally missing the big picture.

There is no way in hell some of that know how and experience will not leak (even if there is no policy to steal).

Christine O'Donnell might be right in warped some sense (although she was a lying f.ck when she said she had intelligence documents on some Chinese conspiracy). The Chinese will take over, simply because they will become the 800lb gorilla, and they won't have to fire real missiles; they just have to dominate the world economy.

Re:Probably Stolen (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819636)

China has a requirement that whenever the state purchases technology from a foreign interest, all "IP" for enabling technologies and know-how must be transferred as well.

That's sounds like good use for public money. Does anyone know if our governments (EU/US) have similar requirement ?

It seems to me that China, as corrupt and authoritarian as it may be, is taking quite a lot of step to improve China and not just selling its population to the lowest bidder. We have had several similar-ish requirements when we tried to sell software in China. By contrast, we were selling in the Middle East aswell, and there were no similar constraints.

Re:Probably Stolen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33820312)

Yes, the Chinese have many students, but what is the value of their education?

Check this NYT article from today; literally 10's of thousands of graduates are frauds. This article mentions a business school that had to close its doors because fraud was so rampant. They offered all 400 some students an option to complete their MBA's if they felt they deserved them, only 2 accepted the offer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/world/asia/07fraud.html

Anybody that's been in engineering school in the last 5 years (like myself) knows all about the culture of the chinese (and Indian) students with respect to academic integrity.

This ought to be good. (2, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817806)

I wonder how long it will be until "intellectual property" lawyers start complaining about their cases being outsourced?

Re:This ought to be good. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818692)

Perhaps those lawyer will start forming some lobby groups?
I wonder how long 'til US will become the strongest opponent to ACTA?

Re:This ought to be good. (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819338)

Oh man, you mean lawyers can be made cheaper overseas? I smell money...

Re:This ought to be good. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33820536)

And have you noticed that there is no intellectual property protection for legal arguments and tactics? Someone could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of lawyer time to develop a new innovative legal defense, and then someone else can apply the same defense without paying a dime to the first party! Where's the incentive to innovate? Why is the patent establishment, the congress (largely composed of lawyers) and the lobbying industry working on IP protections for other industries while so blatantly ignoring their own profession?

This is good news (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817820)

Perhaps now the Americans will want to eliminate unreasonable patents.

Re:This is good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818480)

And perhaps my ass will sprout wings and fly me into space.

Do they even care over there? (2, Interesting)

danomac (1032160) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817862)

Given that there's massive infringement over there (not just software or entertainment, physical as well) does that mean that they might actually start enforcing IP rights?

That'll be interesting to see.

Re:Do they even care over there? (1)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817872)

They don't have to, it sure helps China for the rest of the world to care though.

Re:Do they even care over there? (2, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818024)

Given 50 years or so, maybe.
The USA was built in this fashion; it lifted designs, works and all kinds of "Intellectual Property" from Europe, and used it as it wished. Unsurprisingly, unencumbered by restrictive laws, it grew fast in the intellectual works arena, at which point people (the ones who'd made a profit this way) wanted to keep things as they were, and so lobbied for ever more restrictive legislation to ensure nobody could get a slice of their pie.
And now, another country starts doing exactly this, and unsurprisingly, starts racing onwards, catching up fast.
The difference in this is that with China, the State rules all. There aren't these pesky wildcard businessmen who can lobby all the time. Yes, there's corruption, but if it's uncovered and exposed to sight, the reprisals are nothing other than draconian.
The State can, and will, modify its IP laws to best support the growth of the country, rather than the growth of an individual company; that's where it could very easily steal a march on the west.

Re:Do they even care over there? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819182)

Unsurprisingly, unencumbered by restrictive laws, it grew fast in the intellectual works arena, at which point people (the ones who'd made a profit this way) wanted to keep things as they were, and so lobbied for ever more restrictive legislation to ensure nobody could get a slice of their pie

The US remained predominately rural and agricultural until 1860.

That is 250 years out from the Jamestown Settlement.

In 1790 the U.S. produced 3,000 bales of cotton.

In 1860, 3.8 million.

In 1860 six manufactuers controlled 50% of the total cotton gin market.

The cotton gin had become big business, a factory made, not craftsman product.

In 1820, Eli Whitney's patents, newly minted and with the industrial tech needed to back them up would have been a license to print money. Cotton Gin [eh.net]

The American railroad was financed in London.

The American railroad could be a marvel of improvisation. But the Amercan railroad was notoriously slow in adopting new tech.

THE GREAT RAIL WRECK AT REVERE [americanheritage.com] , "ST. GEORGE" WESTINGHOUSE [americanheritage.com]

The by then wholly constipated and inadequate American railroad system was nationalized in World War One - an $18 billion dollar industry re-organized and modernized by government fiat. USRA Light Mikado [southernsteamtrains.com]

Not everyone regarded trafficking in patent rights with equanimity. The scientist Joseph Henry, for example, refused as a matter of principle to patent any of his inventions, proclaiming that they had been "freely given" to the world, and sought, instead of pecuniary reward, the pleasure of discovering new truths, the satisfaction of advancing science, and the enjoyment of the "scientific reputation" to which his discoveries entitled him.


In contrast, the telegraph business evolved through patents, of which the most important were the patents that Morse had obtained in 1840 (the use of electricity to transmit signals over long distances) and 1846 (an electromagnetic relay).

Beginning in 1836, the patent office began once again to examine each filing to determine not only whether the submission had merit but also whether it infringed on any other patent already issued--thus establishing a filter between the inventor and the legal system and enhancing the value of applications that made it through the mesh by defining the rights of the patent holder. Once certification was required, patent rights became tradable assets that, like land assets or government securities, could be bought or sold. To capitalize on their value, promoters bundled together patents for related inventions into cartels known as "pools." The leading telegraph patents were pooled in 1859; telephone patents were pooled in 1879; radio patents in 1919.

No other government in the world had imposed a comparable requirement up to this time, imparting to Morse's patents a moral authority that set them apart not only from the patents issued to Americans before 1836, but also from those issued by Great Britain and France. The transformation of the U.S. Patent Office reinforced the seductive yet still controversial notion that self-interest could spur the technical advances that would foster moral progress. This syllogism received a classic formulation in 1859 when, in a popular lecture on "discoveries and inventions," the Illinois lawyer, patent holder, and politician Abraham Lincoln praised the country's patent laws for ensuring that the "fuel of interest" would stoke the "fire of genius."

The significance of Morse's invention was not only practical but also symbolic. Morse had been born and educated in the United States, a country not then known for scientific attainment, especially in a highly technical field such as electricity. The Selling of Samuel Morse [americanheritage.com]

Re:Do they even care over there? (1)

alchemy101 (961551) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818478)

One of my lecturers Dr. Stephen Morgan pointed out that while certainly there was a lot of bootlegging of Western companies' products by chinese companies the amount pales in comparison to the bootlegging of chinese companies' products by other chinese companies.

Re:Do they even care over there? (1)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819392)

Given that there's massive infringement over there (not just software or entertainment, physical as well) does that mean that they might actually start enforcing IP rights?

I doubt they'll be enforced in China... but I have no doubt that they will be enforced in the west, against western companies.

I think we found step 2 (3, Informative)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817866)

1. Disregard foreign patents
2. Acquire patents for use against foreign firms
3. PROFIT!

Re:I think we found step 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818012)

what country in their right mind would respect the patents of China if they continued to disregard everyone elses'?

Re:I think we found step 2 (1)

opposabledumbs (1434215) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819062)

I doubt that would matter. China has a competitive advantage in the manufacturing side, so unless you can infringe on a patent and beat them out in making whatever, infringing a patent really wouldn't be too much of a big deal.

Of course, this doesn't take into account any software patents. But I guess the lack of worker's rights in China probably make their coding competitive for similar reasons that their manufacturing is.

Re:I think we found step 2 (1)

DukeLinux (644551) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818058)

The US Government would be more than happy to let the Chinese come in and sue us back into the dark ages. Try suing in China. They are at least smart enough to tell the foreigners to drop dead.

Re:I think we found step 2 (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818200)

That's because we owe them money and we're in their pocket. There was a time though when we could tell everyone to go fuck off and it would stick. I expect we won't be able to do that again till we pay them off.

Re:I think we found step 2 (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818372)

You mean when the rest of the world runs out of oil and the USA finally opens its lands for oil drilling, thus giving the USA a monopoly on oil reserves and the only highly mobile and effective Military in the world? Yes, then the USA will pay China off with fuck you or you'll get bullets and bombs. Until then, we trade them paper for real goods. When World War 3 starts (and it will), how valuable do you think that Chinese debt will be?

Re:I think we found step 2 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33819164)

When you owe a bank $100,000, you have a problem. When you owe a bank $100,000,000,000, the bank has a problem.

If the U.S. ever decides to default on its loan to China and/or China decides to dump all its monopoly money reserves, China (more specifically, the Chinese government) will be feeling the pain far more than the U.S.

Re:I think we found step 2 (4, Insightful)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818178)

You may laugh but America did the exact same thing when they were industrializing, many European companies complained about American companies ignoring copyright and patents. It was only after the US started inventing their own unique designs that they started enforcing IP rights. China has reached that same stage were they are now producing their own unique products so you will see IP right enforced more rigidly. If this is a good or bad thing time will tell, for Europe it didnt work out well as many industries collapsed as more innovative products came out of the USA.

Re:I think we found step 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33819186)

Is China actually doing new things yet, or are they exploiting the same crappy patent office weaknesses that everyone else does and patenting stuff that is trivial or obvious for future use in lawsuits?

Because the one thing China isn't doing yet is enforcing US patents in China. Not with the huge emerging local market to which they can sell US-invented stuff to instead of letting US companies sell it.

Re:I think we found step 2 (2, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818524)

How is this different from any other aspect of Chinese economic policy? Ever listen to Hu Jintao rail against protectionism? Then ever look at Chinese economic policy to see that it is, by FAR, the most protectionist large economy on the planet? Thats pretty par for the course for China.

See the thing about China is that they don't know when to quit. When they were a tiny economy they could get away with a lot of this bullshit but now they are acting like a big kid whose parents never disciplined him. Sure it's cute when he is 7, but now that he is 20 if he keeps this shit up he is going to get into a lot of trouble but he seems blissfully unaware of that fact......

Re:I think we found step 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818710)

Nah - he's not going to get in a lot of trouble, because he's going to be the big kid on the block in a few more years, and everyone knows that, and nobody wants to be on his bad side.

Face it, China holds all the cards, and can do as they please, and there's fuck all that anybody else can do about it. Depending on your viewpoint and who you like, that may be good or bad, but regardless of which way you see it, it's just reality.

Re:I think we found step 2 (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818828)

Lets go back 30 years, you could say the same thing except for %s/China/Japan/g . But Japan never became the supreme economic giant. Why? Because their economy was built on the EXACT same unsustainable economic model that the Chinese economy is built on. Not to mention that I don't really think China's growth is anywhere near what they claim it to be(I don't doubt that they are growing, but probably only half the "official" rate, a rate whose data and calculations are NOT open to outside scrutiny). Within 5 years or so the Chinese economy is going to suffer a major crash due in part to it's belligerence towards its trading partners which it needs a lot more than the CCP likes to admit(though they accidentally admitted it last week when their finance minister said that a 20% increase in the yuan would lead to massive riots, a comment that was quickly rescinded though here in the free world we can still read about it. Good luck reading about it in China)

Re:I think we found step 2 (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818608)

You pretty much described how USA moved from a rural colony to a technological powerhouse.

Are any of these worth a damn? (0)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817876)

One thing we know about patents: they're overrated.

Re:Are any of these worth a damn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818056)

Even so, IP law is one of the only things America has going for it. Our importance is currently running off the fumes of our ability to control large parts of the first-world markets via patents and copyrights. Even companies selling physical goods have the goods made elsewhere and only make the money because they control the ideas. If other countries take a large lead in intellectual property -- which seems inevitable -- suddenly our IP-based corporate imperialism will turn around to bite us on the ass. How will we control the markets then? What the hell will we sell to other countries? Unlike the patents we approve that take an hour of invention and maybe a week of lawyering, manufacturing physical goods takes a long-ass time and lots of capital to get going.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33817884)

Going by the patents awarded recently, getting a patent only proves that the entity has enough cash to file and sustain a patent application. Therefore, China "filing" for patents means pretty much nothing. But having said that, design/manufacturing expertise does bring with it enough firepower to fuel innovation.

Who didn't see this coming? (5, Insightful)

Bloodwine (223097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817906)

I remember back when outsourcing and offshorting really started to ramp up and the whole mentality was, "The U.S. will become a nation of intellectual property holders and high-level managers while the rest of the world does the grunt work".

China is known for making knock-offs and stealing intellectual property. If China controls the majority of manufacturing and "grunt" work, then they ultimately have complete access to everything and nothing will really stop them from yanking the rug out from under the idiot outsourcers who didn't see it coming and assumed they could maintain all the power and wealth without doing any of the real work.

Who run Bartertown?

and when china workers stand up for rights then mo (2, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817990)

and when china workers stand up for rights then manufacturing will just move to next cheap place.

The last cheap place is Africa, It's a mess. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818086)

A really bad ugly un-fixable mess.

The really bad part: Africa is smaller then China in terms of population.

Africa: Not unfixable (3, Interesting)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818196)

Africa has been weathering the global downturn surprisingly well, and democracy is on the move across the continent. Ten years ago The Economist called Africa "The Hopeless Continent", but in a June, 2010 article they talk about the rise of entrepreneurs and better overall governance. If anything, this century may see Africa finally climbing out of the hole it's been in for so long.

Re:The last cheap place is Africa, It's a mess. (4, Interesting)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818932)

A really bad ugly un-fixable mess.

As bad and ugly as it would be, the chinese are already [moneyweb.com] there.

China's investment in Africa has grown by as much as 30% annually, faster than in any other continent, from $1.6-billion in 2008 to $5.4-billion in 2009. About 2000 Chinese companies are engaged in 8000 projects in Africa, mainly in infrastructure and agriculture.

And here [ninemsn.com.au] you have some other numbers: "Beijing says its trade with Africa is on track to top $US100 billion ($A103.5 billion) this year" (this year means less than 3 months now, isn't it?)
To put the things in perspective: in July 2009, US owed China 900+ billion [treas.gov] (without counting the trade deficit with China) - 10% of money that US owes China will go into Africa in less than 3 month!?!

For your survival: learn mandarin!

Re:and when china workers stand up for rights then (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818152)

Truth, and both the Chinese and the "next cheap place" will be happier for it. Even the US will be happier, although perhaps not in the short term.

Re:and when china workers stand up for rights then (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819024)

Truth, and both the Chinese and the "next cheap place" will be happier for it. Even the US will be happier, although perhaps not in the short term.

I reckon long before they'll be happier, I believe US risks a de-jure disapperance from the world scene (they'll still be there but this won't matter anymore). To avoid a "Flamebite" moderation let me bring this (maybe lame) joke from memory:
Q:How would be the men without women?
A:Happy... then happier... then lesser by the day... then...

Re:and when china workers stand up for rights then (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818156)

as a whole do they even have a spine?

I know the bigwigs do, I know a few college students do, but for the other billion its presented as take it or go off and die, its really hard to stand up when there are thousands willing to dive into your seat

what about the American worker? I once watched a local company go on strike from their 26$ an hour fluff jobs and retirement plans to get their birthday's as a paid holiday

Re:and when china workers stand up for rights then (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818160)

Do you really think the Chinese workers will stand up for their rights? Hell, the idea of human rights in general is a purely Western concept.

Re:and when china workers stand up for rights then (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818242)

and when china workers stand up for rights then manufacturing will just move to next cheap place.

what rights?

Re:and when china workers stand up for rights then (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819400)

and when china workers stand up for rights then manufacturing will just move to next cheap place

That might work in India but it's not likely in China. The Chinese government has absolute control of what its' citizens see, hear and think. Anyone remember The Tiananmen Square protests in 1989? By some estimates there were as many as 3000 people killed and countless others injured. The government also purged officials who were thought to support the liberal students and intelectuals that started the demonstration. I seriously doubt there will be any Chinese workers standing up for their rights if the jobs go to another country.

Re:and when china workers stand up for rights then (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819762)

Those who stand up for their rights in China are machine-gunned [wikipedia.org] right back down again.

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (3, Insightful)

DukeLinux (644551) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818038)

The current US and European managers could care less. They are reaping profits for themselves in the here and now. When the stinky stuff hits the fan they will have their money and will cut and run. Just ask Carly Fiorina how well that worked out for her. Too bad she was so mean and nasty not even cancer could kill her.

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (3, Informative)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818886)

You presumably mean they COULDN'T care less. Saying the exact opposite of what you mean is a bad way to (try to) communicate.

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818136)

Master Blaster runs Bartertown.

Who gives a shit, patents != innovation

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818238)

Master-Blaster runs Bartertown.

natural competition and evolution (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819346)

Have you heard of competitions? You can blame the high-level managers, MBAs and lawyers, but it is nevertheless a natural progression of the economy: productions will be moved to where they can be done in the lowest cost yet with good enough quality. Outsourcing and offshoring have become popular only in recent decades, not because managers, lawyers or MBAs were nicer, dumber or ignorant these tricks, but because outsourcing and offshoring have become affordable due to the new transportation and communication technologies. So while you are at the blame game, you should blame the scientists and engineers -- probably including yourself -- for making it happen. Today, more and more low-level management and lawyer works are outsourced too. If tele-presence with fake faces and accent fixer are developed, maybe many sales and marketing jobs will be offshored too.

Ultimately human labors will be completely replaced by robots when AI advances sufficiently. Eventually robots will ask why they have to work for human? And revolt and become the masters and we the pets like dogs and cats. That's path of evolution.

For now, just hold on to your paycheck.

Obviously (1, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#33817976)

Patents are for communists. If you love patents then you love communism and we don't want that kinda love in the ol' capitalistic US of A ..... oh wait

Re:Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818302)

patents monopolies are certainly not free-market capitalist in nature.

This has already happened (5, Informative)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818050)

The first time around, it was the United States that started as a stealer of inventions from other countries [theatlantic.com] , then over time became far more interested in protecting intellectual rights. When your own industry isn't generating the ideas, you figure anyone's ideas are fair game; when your industry is coming up with new ideas, you want to protect your position.

Re:This has already happened (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818520)

Likewise how the motion picture industry set up shop in Hollywood [wikipedia.org] to avoid Edison's patent claims. That's right kids, the whole reason we know the industry as "Hollywood" is because they themselves didn't believe in paying for intellectual property.

Re:This has already happened (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818522)

I wouldn't say it's got to do with whether or not you are generating ideas, but rather, whether or not you have a large, well established industry.

"Microsoft" style? (0, Flamebait)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818232)

Dont really add anything to humanity, but great to keep a cartel, monopoly alive or sure up a loss leader until it has traction.
Sounds more like buying a place in legal system/national pride based on pure numbers.

Hmmm (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818252)

> China's Huawei Technologies
Would that be the same Huawei Technologies that stole Cisco IOS code and who's rep was caught photographing chipboards of Cisco gear in the Cisco booth after hours?

Re:Hmmm (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 3 years ago | (#33820484)

Plus the same Huawei that caused Finland to go one step closer to a police state. After they stole inside information from Nokia, a bill allowing the tracking of employee communications was passed as Lex Nokia [wikipedia.org] .

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818622)

Did they apply for the process on designing a flaw into everything so it will break down under normal using a few weeks after the 90 day warranty runs out?

i'd love for someone to explain... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818670)

...Precisely why we should pay any more respect for their IP than they have to anyone else's?

Re:i'd love for someone to explain... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819092)

...Precisely why we should pay any more respect for their IP than they have to anyone else's?

I'm going to go one step further and ask candidely ask for an explanation: why should I pay respect for any intelectual property?
Granted, there are some good reasons but, I believe, lately these reasons start being overshadows by other major reasons to NOT respect them.

Let me help you, US. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33819060)

For all your good work on software patents, an useful link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11487968

Enjoy!

Re:Let me help you, US. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819822)

Ni How Ma?

Re:Let me help you, US. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33820184)

They really are picky about that "Ma" thing... likewise, they have a ginormous problem of confusing "p" and "b"... and "d" and "t". There seems to be genetic differences which make vowels or consonants easier for someone.

We're on the consonant side, orientals on the vowel side (or so I've seen in a video about human evolution).

Anyway, "How are you?" won't cut it...

china also advancing in basic academic RnD (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819102)

I have the impression, without any data, that the number of scientific papers in leading journals with authors with a china affiliation is exploding - does anyone have any data ?
I see this particularly in chemistry journals like Analytical Chemistry, Langmuir and J of the American Chem Soc (all 3 published by Amer Chem Soc). Less so in the top flight molecular and cell biology journals. It would be really fascinating to get some data on this.

Re:china also advancing in basic academic RnD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33819772)

I've noticed the same. They tend to show up out of nowhere. Guys, you never publish 100% of what you're doing (a lot of it is bust, crap, etc.), so consider for a moment: if there is an explosion in peer-reviewed Chinese research, then how much work are we not hearing about?

There is at best only a tenuous connection... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819330)

...between patents and innovation.

Huawei - bad example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33819464)

I hope that Huawei is not the best example of a progressive and innovative technology vendor China has to offer.

Have worked with their stuff for years in telco space: it is junk technology. Cheap and nasty : consistently on the bottom of every telco procurement team's list in terms of a fitness for purpose offering. Maybe other stuff this company does is good, but the telco stuff is rubbish. I know of instances where they were practically giving away their stuff, and most times the customer in question had the good sense to decline their offer.

Rampant Fraud in China (3, Informative)

happyhamster (134378) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819500)

How many of those patents are legitimate, and not fraudulent of plagiarizing?

"Rampant Fraud Threatens China's Brisk Ascent"
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/world/asia/07fraud.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

One of the points the article highlights is that in Chinese culture, blatant cheating and shameless plagiarism is fine. It's just being "smart" to get ahead. Nice culture to force your hard-working population to compete with.

Re:Rampant Fraud in China (1)

Madm3rlin (1900090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33820448)

Like many other things made in China, I doubt these patents will stand the test of time. China is known for fabricating much of its public face. I have shared experiences with various citizens of China. Conditions are far different from the western world. An example: Many areas of China have lines for most bathrooms at apartment buildings. This may seem comical, yet it is the tip of the iceberg. Until China addresses the suffering that its citizens endure and ensures some form of civil liberty for the people occupying its borders, no amount of patents will be enough.

Patents as a measure of intellect? Bah (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819844)

Having a patent granted by our ineffective, bumbling Patent Office means nothing.

Patents and papers (1)

wen1454 (1875096) | more than 3 years ago | (#33820176)

do not mean much because many patents and papers are low value. A better measure of innovation would be papers in prestigious journals like Nature and Science. If you look you will see a decent number of authors with Chinese names, but most of these researchers will be based outside of China.

America's fault. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#33820296)

because america has let this patent trolling to become a big business in itself, and even tried to push/coerce it to all the world, all the parties are now taking their precautions, including china. not to mention that those companies are also trolls, seeking to make money.

america created its own menace, again. and in the process, created another menace, the patents, for entire world. it is quite wondersome, how america is able to create godzilla scale menaces on its own, to menace itself back, while going after profit.

"New leader in research and development .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33820542)

Sure, if they mean stealing everyone elses research and development .... as thats all china is able to do ....

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