Junk Patents

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From China Tech News:

Representatives from Foxconn, one of the largest original equipment manufactures within the electronics industry, said at the Innovative National Construction and Intellectual Property Symposium that 90% of China’s new patents are useless and should be canceled.

Fu Shaoming, director of Foxconn’s Intellectual Property Management Department, believes that many of China‘s so-called new and practical patents are actually useless and 90% of them should be canceled. Fu’s remark has caused a big stir in China, for relevant statistics show that the country has as many as 161366 practical and new patents in 2006 alone.

OK, first thing, we are talking about "Utility Model Patents". Never heard of "new patents" before.

Second, everyone already knows about the "junk" patent problem. This has been discussed for quite some time, particularly as the current amendments of the Patent Law have made their way up the legislative ladder.

Utility Model patents do not undergo substantive review, as do invention patents. As long as the forms are filled out correctly, the patent will be granted and is prima facie valid unless challenged in an invalidation proceeding. Those take a lot of time, however. Because of the huge number of junk patents out there, you have problems with aggressive filers and overlapping rights, among other things.

Big issue, big problem, but hardly breaking news. That 90% figure seems rather excessive, though.