Foreign firms can't get a fair shake in patent litigation in China, and Chinese firms are filing an exceptional number of low-quality patents in the US—right? Not according to two new empirical papers, each of which seeks to debunk one of these pieces of conventional wisdom.
The first, Patent Litigation in China: Protecting Rights or the Local Economy?, is by Brian Love, Christian Helmers, and Markus Eberhardt, and has already been reviewed on Tom Cotter's excellent Comparative Patent Remedies blog. In short, they analyze five years of patent suits in the courts with the 50 most active IP dockets and find that foreign companies win as often as Chinese patentees.
The second, More than BRIC-à-Brac: Testing Chinese Exceptionalism in Patenting Behavior Using Comparative Empirical Analysis, is by Jay Kesan, Alan Marco, and Richard Miller. They study Chinese patenting trends in the USPTO and find that despite claims of Chinese exceptionalism, these trends are "strikingly similar to the patenting trends of other Far East Asian countries whose inventors have applied for patents in the United States. In other words, Chinese innovation is moving up the value chain in product development much like other Far East Asian countries have done in the past. We also find that China appears to be setting itself apart from other BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries in successfully seeking patent protection for technological innovation and in producing products with higher levels of technological sophistication and innovation."