It really is no secret that China is quickly, if not already, becoming a leader in patents. According to Thomson Reuters, over 600,000 patent applications were filed in China in 2013. This is approximately 15 times the number of patent applications filed in 2003. But is this really shocking to anyone? China has the second largest economy, and it’s the world’s hub for manufacturing. Plus, China has a huge population, so the chances are; it also has a huge population of inventors.
What is surprising though, is this. Chinese prisoners can have their sentences reduced for patenting inventions. The reason for this is to help prevent crime, save lives, and to increase technical innovations. So, patenting something that helps society is basically seen as doing a good deed while locked up.
While China isn’t relying on prisoners to strengthen their patent system, rewarding prisoners for patenting invention seems questionable to me. How do you invent good inventions while you’re in jail (i.e., you can’t experiment or test things in jail, I’m assuming)? And are prisoners really inventing things that change people’s lives?
It turns out, some wealthy prisoners are paying inventors (who are out of jail) to essentially purchase inventions and become owners of a resulting patent. Sounds pretty corrupt, if you ask me. And this definitely defeats the purpose of advancing technology. Will this policy stand? I would think this would need to be a very strict policy.
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