Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A Single Chinese Firm Registers More than Five Times as Many Patents as Russia as a Whole, Ishchenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 30 – One sign of Russia’s decline as a center of invention is that a single Chinese company this year registered 5500 international patents while Russia as a whole registered only a few more than 1000, Anton Ishchenko, the head of the All-Russian Society of Inventors and Rationalizers, says.

            The reason is simple: few firms want to introduce new technologies, many have dispensed with sectors promoting inventions, and the government is no longer supportive of inventors despite all its talk about innovation, Ishchenko continues (

            Just how little support there is in Russia today for inventions was highlighted recently when the Society feared it would not be able to give a million-ruble (14,000 US dollar) prize to its inventor of the year. Only at the very last minute did a major firm come up with the money for a man who has invented a needle that can’t be used twice, thus limiting infections.

            The association president paints a devastating picture of invention in Russia, a country which once led the world in new patents. Russians currently are registering about 35,000 patents a year, a pathetic figure compared to the 1.4 million Chinese inventors are doing or the 620,000 that Americans are.

            As far as international patents are concerned, Russia last year registered only a few more than one thousand, while Chinese nationals registered 274,000 and Americans, 58,000. As a result, Russia ranks 23rd among the countries of the world far below its share of the population and far lower than in the past, Ishchenko says.

            He places the blame for this on three things: First, Russian managers are far less willing to introduce new ideas than their foreign counterparts, with only seven or eight percent of them saying they are ready to do so, compared with 70 to 80 percent among mangers in Germany, Finland and Vietnam.

            Second, both the Russian government and individual firms have stopped supporting the work of inventors, something that means those who have new ideas that they want to see contribute to the economy and the country often do not have the chance – and seeing this, ever fewer Russians are seeking to become inventors.

            And third, the government has signaled that this isn’t something important for it. In 2019, a draft law calling for more support of inventors was introduced into the Duma; but it was voted down. Today, Ishchenko says, there are few prospects that it will be taken up again, although his group continues to press for that. 

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