Friday, December 05, 2014

The "Financial Times" whacks European patent performance

From within the article in the Financial Times titled Red tape and cost lie behind Europe’s poor patent performance

It is not that Europe lacks inventors. Measured by the ratio of patent applications to population, Germany — with one application per 3,403 people — beats the US, with one application per 5,521, and way outstrips China’s measly one application per 65,068. Instead, Europe’s problem appears to be an inability to turn inventions into sellable goods.

The technical example given is that of graphene, purportedly discovered in a Manchester physics lab in 2005.

Link: Red tape and cost lie behind Europe’s poor patent performance

But wait, have we not seen this before? Yes, the same story about graphene was used by Financial Times earlier in 2014. See "As more patent applications are filed, the quality of each new patent increases"?? .

From within the May 2014 IPBiz post:

Today's Financial Times has an article with the headline "Asia ahead in race to develop graphene". This is a technology that the British Chancellor of the Exchequer described as a "great British discovery". However, the UK has only filed 101 of the 11,372 patents and patent applications filed worldwide in the field of graphene - a mere 0.9% of the total.

One notes that the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics went to two Russians, Geim and Novoselev , "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene." From a Nobel Prize press release : Both of them originally studied and began their careers as physicists in Russia. Now they are both professors at the University of Manchester.

As was true in May 2014, the discovery was made by Russians. As is true now, recycling the story does not change things. Further, the discovery amounted to isolating single sheets from already existent graphite.

Separately, as to European patent performance, don't forget the strike. From the EPO on 27 November 2014:

A current industrial dispute involving strike action at the European Patent Office (EPO) has been the subject of some recent public comment.

Unlike national civil servants in some European countries, the civil servants of the EPO are free to exercise the right to strike.

Some of them have chosen to do so on a number of days in November and December for reasons which reflect opposition to all reforms implemented in recent years and in particular to the project to create a performance-based career system.

The strike figures are the following

20.11.14 2538 staff representing 36,7% of the workforce
25.11.14 1580 staff representing 22,8% of the workforce
26.11.14 1455 staff representing 21,07% of the workforce

The European Patent Office regrets the unnecessary disturbance caused by these actions, but once again reassures the public that all measures to ensure the normal functioning of the Office are in place and that services to users remain unaffected.
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