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Sunday, January 30, 2011

A developing country’s patent portfolio

Countries around the world are trying to innovate into the knowledge economy. It is a hard task, and although patents are a rough measure of innovation, their cost can put developing countries at a disadvantage. South East Asian countries can be measured in many ways. Here are a few patent statistics on key markets in the ASEAN region.

Patents
Indonesia
Thailand
Philippines
Vietnam
Inventor by nationality patents filed at the USPTO (2008)
13
96
69 (but query how many are Filipinos living in the US given the immigration?)
10
Inventor by nationality patents filed at EPO (2008)
3
15
6
2
Inventor nationality PCT filings (2008)
10
17
14
6
Patent applications in the country by local companies 2009
662
1025
172
258
% of total 2009 applications in the country by local companies
14%
21%
6%
10%

For comparison, India, China and Singapore far exceed these numbers. What can be concluded from this very rough data apart from the substantial gap between the more developed Asian nations and the SE Asian countries? Thailand seems to lead by several measures. Indonesia appears to be a little less patent focussed, and that’s not good considering it is a G20 member with a vastly larger population than Thailand? Why is this?

The Japan Ministry of Trade collects data on Innovation in APEC economies. This indicates the above SE Asian nations far lag the N. Asian economies of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and even China. SE Asian spends less than 1% of GDP on R&D as against over 3% in developed Asian economies and 1.49% in China. Indonesia sadly appears to spend the least of any major APEC economy at 0.05%.

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