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  • Kathryn Paisner

Innovation Nation

We were grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the Nature Biotechnology feature article, "Innovation Nation," an intriguing exploration of the emerging Chinese biopharmaceutical industry.


KP2 LLC's founder, Kathryn Paisner, a regular contributor to Nature Biotechnology, is always delighted by the new data-storytelling challenges the inquisitive minds at that publication send to her desk. This particular study explored the flow (or lack thereof) of biotechnology innovation, in China and in the United States, as represented by patent activity in both countries.


The Chinese patent system is newer, and less developed, than the American patent system is, and lingering concerns about enforcement likely suppress activity. Nevertheless, the majority of biotech-related, Chinese-issued invention patents, the Chinese model most similar to the US utility patent, originated outside of China. Between 2009 and 2018, nearly twice as many Chinese biotech patents originated in the US than in China. In five of these ten years, more Chinese biotech patents originated in Japan than in China.


Chinese biotech patents by region of origin. "Region of origin" is defined by the country in which the priority application was filed. This usually--though not always--corresponds to the country in which the patented technology was invented.

In the United States, a different picture emerges. Most of the biotech innovation patented in the United States also originates in the United States. China is only a small--though growing--contributor.


US biotech patents by region of origin. "Region of origin" is defined by the country in which the priority application was filed. This usually--though not always--corresponds to the country in which the patented technology was invented.

Only time can tell how this picture may change, over the years. For now, though, the US remains the undisputed leader in biotech innovation.


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