By Erin Geiger Smith
Feb 20 (Reuters) - China and South Korea by far outpace
other rapidly developing "BRICK" nations in new invention patent
applications, according to a study focusing on innovation in
several emerging economies.
The study, released Wednesday by the Intellectual Property &
Science business of Thomson Reuters, looked at research growth
in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Korea, defined as the
In previous years, the study focused on the group of nations
commonly referred to as BRIC, but this year's report included
In addition to new invention patent filings, the study
examined other measures of innovation, such as investment in
research and development and the output of research
The patent findings focused only on invention patents, which
do not include other types such as design patents.
Between 2006 and 2010, these patent filings have increased
by nearly 15 percent globally, the study said. In 2010, "mature"
countries like the United States and European nations accounted
for 60 percent of the total filings, according to the report.
For the BRICK nations, China and South Korea constituted 84
percent of all filings in 2010, the report said.
China has also become a leader in patent filings worldwide.
In 2011, it edged the United States to become the No. 1 filing
country in the world for invention patents, the study said.
Inventors in China filed more than 526,000 patent
applications in 2011, while 503,500 were filed in the United
States during the same period, the study said.
China patent filings have seen huge growth, rising from
63,000 filings a decade ago to 390,000 in 2010, according to the
South Korea's filings, on the other hand, have plateaued at
around 170,000 filings per year since around 2005, after surging
earlier in the decade, the study said. In 2001, these filings
were just over 100,000.
India has shown steady growth in the number of patent
filings, and it is poised to take over Russia by next year to
become third in patent filings among the BRICK countries, the
The increase in the number of patent filings in China and
other locations has not necessarily correlated into increased
work for American law firms, said Harold Wegner, a partner at
Foley & Lardner and the former director of the intellectual law
program at George Washington University Law School.
Only a very small percentage of those filing for patent
protection in China will seek similar protection in the United
States, which are the filings that are most likely to bring work
for U.S. firms, he said.
That does not mean U.S. intellectual property attorneys are
not engaged in China, however. U.S. lawyers in China help
American companies craft IP enforcement strategies, including
working with local counsel, Wegner said.
The Thomson Reuters study also examined the BRICK countries'
patent focus in particular industries.
China and South Korea focus on high-tech industries,
including electrical machinery and computer technology.
India's patent filing profile is dominated by
pharmaceuticals and organic fine chemistry, the study said,
while Russia is home to food chemistry and medical technology
patents. Brazil has a relatively even distribution of patents
Reuters is also a division on Thomson Reuters.
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