Patents per Million – an Indicator of Inventiveness?
Inventive Japan grants more patents than any other country. In 2002-05, on average 1,213 were given out for every million people, according to data collected for 82 countries by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The corresponding figures for the United States are about a third in comparison to Japan. Surprisingly, size seems to be a determining factor, as the article goes on to state,
Generally, small countries grant the most patents. Switzerland, Sweden and Finland benefit from clusters of world-class companies in high-tech sectors and a highly educated workforce. Israel can thank its well-educated immigrants. Crumbling Cuba grants more patents than fast-growing India or China, though both countries are better known for their ability to copy, rather than create, intellectual property.
According to the WIPO Patent Report, 2007 Edition, the number of patent applications in the US is at an all-time high. By patent applications count, Medical Technology is the fastest growing technical field. And this surge is putting an enormous amount of pressure on the patent office. But nevertheless, Japan seems to be way ahead. Maybe it’s time we inject some more professional vigor into the patenting system to come up to speed.