Innovation Without Patents

Innovation Without Patents

Harnessing the Creative Spirit in a Diverse World

Edited by Uma Suthersanen, Graham Dutfield and Kit Boey Chow

A question the book considers is how far legal protection should extend to inventions that may only just, or indeed not quite, meet the conventional criteria for patentability, in terms of the level of inventiveness. Innovation without Patents offers a thoughtful and empirically rich analysis of the current system in a number of developed and developing countries in the Asia-Pacific. It asks whether such innovations should remain free from patenting, or whether alternative intellectual property regimes should be offered in such cases, and indeed whether the requirements change depending on a country’s level of development. This discussion is capped by a number of proposed policy options.

Chapter 7: Japan and South Korea

Graham Dutfield and Uma Suthersanen

Subjects: innovation and technology, intellectual property, law - academic, intellectual property law


Graham Dutfield and Uma Suthersanen 7.1 Economic and Innovation Climate in Japan Does an expansion of the scope of patent rights induce more innovative effort? An analysis was undertaken in 2000 gauging whether the 1987 Japanese patent reforms had had any impact. The reforms had expanded the scope of patent: however, the authors found no evidence of a statistically or economically significant increase in either R&D spending or innovative output that could plausibly be attributed to these reforms. In a more recent 2004 report, Japan ranks ninth in terms of competitiveness though much of its R&D spending is by large corporations, rather than SMEs. Nevertheless, another report states that Japan languishes in the middle of the OECD nations in terms of investment in knowledge creation, R&D by SMEs and venture capital investment as a percentage of GDP; the same report gloomily states that as Japan’s technology gap with the United States widens, its edge over China is shrinking. Does the shrinking SME contribution explain why Japanese UM registration statistics are falling? 7.2 Historical Background The first patent law was the ‘Patent Monopoly Act’ which was proclaimed publicly in 1885. In addition to this, the UM law was enacted shortly after in 1905, in order to complement the patent system. The main aim of the UM system was to protect less significant inventions and to foster technologies of small Sakakibara, M., L. Branstetter and M.P. Page (2001), ‘Do stronger patents induce more innovation? Evidence from the 1988 Japanese...

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