A couple months again, Bryan noted that press reports to the contrary, perhaps the U.S. did not actually do very well in the China - IPRs dispute. An Economist article from this week suggests that change may come despite the outcome in that case:
Chinese firms are also increasingly seeking patents abroad, a sign that they plan to protect their technology when exporting it to rich countries. They won 90 patents in America in 1999 but last year they received 1,225. That is still relatively few—IBM, an American technology giant, receives around 3,000 a year—but it is increasing quickly. Because it takes three to five years to issue a patent, the number issued to Chinese firms is expected to soar soon. The quality of patents issued in China is also improving. Revisions to the patent law that take effect in October strengthen the requirement for a patent’s novelty, bringing it up to global standards. Stronger patents are easier to enforce, opening the door to more lawsuits.
All these trends are important because countries that create intellectual property eventually enforce it as well, explains Dominique Guellec of the OECD. America, it is worth remembering, was the great copyright and patent infringer when it was a developing country in the 18th century.