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Topic: U.S. Inventors Productive
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,466
Registered: 12/3/04
U.S. Inventors Productive
Posted: Mar 18, 1999 10:19 PM
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[Note: From the National Science Foundation ...]
****************************************

U.S. INVENTORS "PATENTLY" PRODUCTIVE - AT HOME,
AND AROUND THE WORLD

When it comes to earning patents, United States inventors are among
the world's most active and successful - both in the U.S. and abroad.

A new Issue Brief from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division
of Science Resources Studies (SRS), "U.S. Inventors Patent Technologies
Around the World," says U.S. inventors led all other foreign inventors in
the number of patents granted in five of the 11 other nations studied. By
a wide margin, they also led all countries in the number of patents awarded
in the United States.

"Sometimes, with the widespread availability of foreign products in
the U.S. market, we lose sight of just how much products created by U.S.
inventors are in demand all around the world," said Issue Brief author
Lawrence Rausch.

However, the "1999 Innovation Index" of the Council on
Competitiveness - which is comprised of corporate CEOs and the research
and development directors of United States corporations and universities -
warned recently that the U.S.' status as the world's preeminent innovator
nation is in jeopardy unless changes are made in national policy and
investment choices.

In 1994, U.S. inventors received: more than half of all foreign-origin
patents issued in Canada and Mexico; 50 percent of those granted in Japan;
43 percent in India; 42 percent in Brazil; 28 percent in Germany and about
25 percent each in France, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

German inventors led all foreign inventors in France, Italy, and
Russia. Japanese inventors edged out Americans in Germany and the United
Kingdom, captured nearly half the foreign market in the U.S., and
dominated foreign patenting in South Korea.

Foreign inventors received 45 percent of U.S. patents awarded. Only
Russia (19 percent) and Japan (13 percent) had lower percentages of
patents awarded to foreign inventors, while South Korea, at 48 percent,
had about the same percentage.

Francis Narin, president of CHI Research, Inc., and an expert
observer of patents and other technology indicators, said, SThe low
percentage of patents Russia and Japan issued to foreign inventors is
the neatest example of the insular nature of their patent systems. Our
market is one of the most open in the world; we are both an importer
and exporter of technology."

While patent data are not always complete or consistent in quality
and across industries and fields, Rausch noted, they are a uniquely useful
source of information on national inventive activities. These activities
are economically significant, because innovations frequently lead to new
or improved products or manufacturing processes, or even new industries.

Corporations hold the vast majority of patents issued to foreign
inventors, typically for products that have been sold or used in the
inventor's home market, Rausch said. Since it is often much more
difficult and expensive to gain patent protection in foreign countries,
the product or process being patented must have a perceived high market
demand and/or give the corporation a competitive business advantage.

"The large share of patents that the U.S. has in open parts of the
world is a good example of the power of our technology," Narin said. "It
implies that we're strong, and it goes hand-in-hand with our being viewed
as a first-class technology-producing nation."

In their Chairmen's Foreword to the "1999 Innovation Index," William
R. Hambrecht of W.R. Hambrecht & Co., William C. Steere, Jr. of Pfizer
Inc. and William R. Brody of Johns Hopkins University wrote, "Although
the past decade has been one of the strongest periods of U.S. macroeconomic
growth since World War II, total spending on basic research is flat or heading
downward, and the declining numbers of degrees granted in the physical
sciences and engineering offer little hope of reversing this trend.

"These observations suggest that America's current innovation
leadership is more and more rooted in past investment, and that the long
run basis for our future strength is being eroded - all while other
nations are accelerating their own efforts," they concluded.

------------------

-NSF-

Editors: Francis Narin, cited above as an expert, is President of CHI
Research, Inc., a highly specialized citation research consulting firm.
Mr. Narin is available for comment at 609-546-0600; or at
<fnarin@chiresearch.com>

**************************************
*
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)
E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu





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