The Economist discusses the "patent fiction" of increased Chinese filings.
From the Economist in post Patent fiction discussing the Thomson Reuters report titled “China’s IQ (Innovation Quotient),” which highlights the astonishing increase in patents filed in China:
That is why it is useful to see what percentage of Chinese invention patents are also filed at foreign patent offices, which tend to be more rigorous and transparent. (When a firm goes to the trouble of filing for patents globally, it is usually a sign that it believes its invention to be genuinely valuable.) Only about 5% of patents filed by local firms in China last year were also filed abroad, whereas over a third of patents originally filed by local firms in Japan were also filed elsewhere.
Almost all of the growth in China’s invention patents over the past three years has come from local firms, not from the Chinese divisions of multinationals. That suggests that the bureaucrats’ orders are responsible, rather than the emergence of a local ecosystem of innovation as seen in Silicon Valley. Intellectual-property rights do matter, but merely churning out patents does little to advance innovation.