Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Losing Our Edge

The Bush administration is concerned that America is falling behind, our education system is universally sneered at for making our kids dumber and nearly the whole world sneers at the capitalist system that drives our economy.

Color my confused upon reading this news.

In a year that saw a record number of international patent filings, the Republic of Korea overtook the Netherlands as the 6th biggest user of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and China dislodged Canada, Italy and Australia to take the position of 10th largest PCT user. In 2005, over 134,000 PCT applications were filed, representing a 9.4% increase over the previous year. The five top users of the international patent system remained unchanged, namely: United States of America, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. And, for the second year running, the most impressive rates of growth came from north east Asia – namely, Japan, the Republic of Korea and China, which between them accounted for 24.1% of all international applications, compared to 34.6% from the countries party to the European Patent Convention and 33.6% from the United States of America. The PCT is the cornerstone of the international patent system and offers a rapid, flexible and cost-effective way to obtain patent protection in the 128 countries that have signed up to the system.

So who are we losing our competitive edge to?  And how is it that we continue to churn out dummies from school that innovate once they reach the workforce?  Perhaps the US is gaming the system because surely we can’t compete against the enlightened Europeans.

The answer is simple – competition drives innovation and as the most competitive economy in the world we naturally are the most innovative as well.  So when the haters of success want to punish business for succeeding keep in mind the consequences of those actions.  Less drugs to take care of the sick, less technologies to give you more leisure time, less gadgets to make that leisure time more enjoyable and pretty much less of everything.

HatTip: EU Rota

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