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Technology Protectionism and the Patent System: Strategic Technologies in China

39 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2016  

Gaétan de Rassenfosse

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Emilio Raiteri

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Date Written: July 1, 2016

Abstract

The national treatment principle, a centerpiece of many trade-related international treaties, mandates nondiscriminatory application of treaty provisions to nationals and foreigners. In international patent law treaties, the principle prevents countries from free-riding on foreign technologies, thereby preserving incentives for global innovations. Concerns about violation of the principle at the Chinese patent office have been voiced in business and policy circles, but there is little empirical evidence backing this claim. Using data on about half a million patent applications filed in China we find no, or only weak, evidence of anti-foreign bias in the issuance of patents overall. However, foreign applications in technology fields that are of strategic importance to China are four to seven percentage points less likely to be approved than local applications, all else equal. Given the importance of industrial policy in China and the country's strong focus on indigenous innovation and intellectual property, the empirical results provide a case of technology protectionism by means of the patent system.

Keywords: industrial policy, national treatment principle, patent; technology protectionism, trade-related intellectual property rights

JEL Classification: O34, K11, F52

Suggested Citation

de Rassenfosse, Gaétan and Raiteri, Emilio, Technology Protectionism and the Patent System: Strategic Technologies in China (July 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2803379

Gaétan De Rassenfosse (Contact Author)

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

Station 5
Odyssea 1.04
1015 Lausanne, CH-1015
Switzerland

Emilio Raiteri

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

Station 5
Odyssea 1.04
1015 Lausanne, CH-1015
Switzerland

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