Posts tagged ‘Apple Inc.’

25/11/2016

China breaks patent application record – BBC News

China-based innovators applied for a record-setting number of invention patents last year.

The country accounted for more than a million submissions, according to an annual report by the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo). It said the figure was “extraordinary”.

Many of the filings were for new ideas in telecoms, computing, semiconductors and medical tech.

Beijing had urged companies to boost the number of such applications.

But some experts have questioned whether it signifies that the country is truly more inventive than others, since most of China’s filings were done locally.

What is a patent?

A patent is the monopoly property right granted by a government to the owner of an invention.

This allows the creator and subsequent owners to prevent others from making, using, offering for sale or importing their invention into the country for a limited time.

In return they must agree for the patent filing to be publicly disclosed.

To qualify as an “invention” patent, the filing must contain a new, useful idea that includes a step – a new process, improvement or concept – which would not be obvious to a skilled person in that field.

Some countries – including China – also issue other types of patents:

Utility model patents. The ideas must still be novel, but it is less important that there is a “non-obvious step”

Design patents. These require the shape, pattern and/or colour of a manufactured object’s design to be new, but do not require there to be a novel technical aspect

Skewed figures

A total of 2.9 million invention patent applications were filed worldwide in 2015, according to Wipo, marking a 7.8% rise on the previous year.

China can lay claim to driving most of that growth. Its domestic patent office – the Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (Sipo) – received a record 1,101,864 filings. These included both filings from residents of China and those from overseas innovators who had sought local protection for their ideas.

The tally was more than that of Sipo’s Japanese, South Korean and US equivalents combined.

Applicants based in China filed a total of 1,010,406 invention patents – the first time applicants from a single origin had filed more than one million in a single year.

But they appeared to be reticent about seeking patent rights abroad.

According to Wipo, China-based inventors filed just 42,154 invention patent applications outside their borders – Huawei and ZTE, two smartphone and telecoms equipment-makers, led the way.

There was a rise in the number of medical tech patent filings from China

By comparison US-based inventors sought more than five times that figure. And Japan, Germany and France also outnumbered the Asian giant.

One patent expert – who asked not to be named – suggested the disparity between Chinese inventors’ local and international filings reflected the fact that not all the claims would stand up to scrutiny elsewhere.

“The detail of what they are applying for means they would be unlikely to have the necessary degree of novelty to be granted a patent worldwide,” he said.

But Wipo’s chief economist said things were not so clear cut.

“There is clearly a discussion out there as to what is the quality of Chinese patents,” said Carsten Fink.

“But questions have also been asked about US and other [countries’] patents.”

And one should keep in mind that China is a huge economy.

“If you look at its patent filings per head of population, there are still fewer patents being filed there than in the United States.”

Patent boom

Part of the reason so many applications were made locally was that China set itself a target to boost all types of patent filings five years ago.

Sipo declared at the time that it wanted to receive two million filings in 2015.

The government supported the initiative with various subsidies and other incentives.

Adding together China’s invention, utility and design patents, its tally for 2015 was about 2.7 million filings, meaning it surpassed its goal by a wide margin.

One London-based patent lawyer noted that Chinese firms were not just filing patents of their own but also buying rights from overseas companies.

“This all goes to show the growth of the telecoms and high-tech industries in China, and that these companies are playing a more significant role globally than hitherto,” said Jonathan Radcliffe from Reed Smith.

“The fact we are now seeing them suing and being sued for patent infringement in Europe and in the US on subject matter such as mobile phones and telecoms standards – and indeed seeing Chinese companies suing each other over here in Europe for patent infringement – shows that they have truly arrived.”

Source: China breaks patent application record – BBC News

Advertisements
05/08/2016

Bridge Collapse Is Latest Tragedy on India’s Roads – India Real Time – WSJ

The collapse of a bridge in the western Indian state of Maharashtra this week that left 14 people dead and 18 others missing wasn’t the first road tragedy to hit the area.In 2013, a bus veered off a 80 year-old bridge on the Jagbudi river, which flows parallel to the Savitri about 70 kilometers (43 miles) to the south, killing 37 of the 52 people on board.

That accident happened when a bus flew off the bridge and flipped in midair before landing on its roof 30 feet below.

The Wall Street Journal took a deep look into the tragedy.

Such incidents are alarmingly frequent on India’s roads.

India has been spending more money to improve its bridges, ports and airports, but the Savitri accident is yet another example of how the country’s depleted infrastructure is under increasing strain due to the rising demands of a fast-developing economy.

Its ageing road network, the world’s second-largest after the U.S. but largely made of dirt tracks, is particularly challenging. India’s roads are the most dangerous in the world: In 2015, the country accounted for almost one in 10 road casualties world-wide, according to the World Health Organization.

While India reported 137,000 deaths due to road crashes in 2013, the WHO estimated the figure was much higher. Those deaths cause an approximate 3% loss in economic output, it said.

Two buses and a number of cars plunged into the Savitri river in the early hours of Wednesday when the bridge in Mahad, built before India gained independence from Britain in 1947, crumbled into the waters below amid heavy monsoon rains.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered a judicial probe into the accident and said government technicians will carry out a safety audit of old bridges in the state.

The bodies of 14 people were recovered from the waters of the Savitri by Friday morning, and 18 more are missing, National Disaster Response Force Commandant Anupam Srivastava said.

Source: Bridge Collapse Is Latest Tragedy on India’s Roads – India Real Time – WSJ

16/06/2016

India Is Making Progress on Reducing Malnutrition But Now Has a Diabetes Problem – India Real Time – WSJ

While India has dramatically reduced its rate of child malnutrition, a new report points to the increasing burden of diabetes in the world’s second most populous country.

According to the 2016 Global Nutrition Report released Tuesday, India is reducing childhood stunting at double the rate it was a decade ago. Stunting, or low height for age, is caused by insufficient nutrient intake and frequent infections.

“That is highly significant given that India is home to more than one-third of the world’s stunting children,” the study said.

However, the country is facing a new health issue. India has a 9.5% prevalence of diabetes, putting it ahead of the U.K., with 7.8%, and the U.S., with 8.4%, the report showed.

Experts say the high sugar and trans-fat diet Indians consume are a key cause of the growing occurrence of diabetes, which is caused by a deficiency or inability of the body to effectively use insulin. Genetic factors and environmental influences exacerbate the issue.

In April, the WHO said that in India, more men die from diabetes than in any other country. The condition accounted for 2% of all deaths across age groups in India.

As a region, Asia has the highest prevalence of the condition, according to the Global Nutrition Report. Globally, one in 12 people have type 2 diabetes, the report said.“We must stem and tide,” Corinna Hawkes, co-chair of the Global Nutrition Report’s independent expert group said in a statement.

India also has a way to go to reduce stunting. India has the 18th highest prevalence, 38.7% among children under five, of 137 countries included in the Global Nutrition Report. That rate is down from 47.9% recorded a year earlier.

Indian states must set specific targets to help them meet global nutrition goals, while the federal government should devote $6 billion a year to combat nutrition, 13% more than it currently does, the report said.“At current rates of decline, India will achieve the current stunting rates of Ghana or Togo by 2030 and that of China by 2055,” the report said.

Source: India Is Making Progress on Reducing Malnutrition But Now Has a Diabetes Problem – India Real Time – WSJ

15/06/2016

India Police Probe Trade in Human Organs – India Real Time – WSJ

Police in India’s capital Delhi have uncovered a complex network illegally trading in kidneys. Suryatapa Bhattacharya report.

Earlier this month, a woman marched into a police station in India’s capital to file a domestic-abuse complaint and then made another allegation: that her husband was involved in illegal organ-trafficking.

Police said that accusation sparked a probe that had yielded 12 arrests as of Tuesday after authorities said they uncovered a complex nationwide network that was illegally trading in kidneys.

Donors, mostly poor residents of rural areas, were paid about $6,000 to give their kidneys to wealthier people in need of transplants, police said. The recipients paid more than $37,000. Traffickers produced counterfeit documents to make it appear as though the donors and recipients were related, police said. A 1994 law outlawed organ sales but permitted donations between family members.

The suspects—including five middlemen and four people who allegedly sold their own kidneys—were held on suspicion of trafficking in human organs and forgery, police said. They were in custody and couldn’t be reached for comment. It was unclear if they had legal representation.

Most countries prohibit organ selling, in part because of fears the poor and sick will be exploited by unscrupulous brokers.

Source: India Police Probe Trade in Human Organs – India Real Time – WSJ

12/06/2016

Electronics Maker Automates as China Costs Rise – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Regardless of the assurances, I am concerned that we have started down a very slippery slope and in a generation or two we will have personless factories and maybe personless offices.  When that happens where will humans be earning salaries and hence, are going to be buying the stuff the factories will be churning out and who will pay for the offices; and – indeed – what will be done in those offices?

Is anyone in government, whether Chinese, Swedish, Japanese or American, putting their minds to this frightening future?

“A new generation of machines is gradually transforming this electronics factory in China’s manufacturing hub.Inside the sprawling factory, owned by Jabil Circuit Inc.—the world’s third-largest contract manufacturer for companies such as Apple Inc. and Electrolux SA—robotic arms assemble circuit boards as driverless components-laden carts glide nearby. Machines also are starting to replace workers in checking circuit-board assemblies for errors.

“This is the past,” said David Choonseng Tan, an operations director at Jabil, pointing to a line of workers hunched over the assembly line. “And this,” he said, gesturing to a line of machines next to them, “is the future.”

Rapidly changing product models make it challenging for electronics companies like Jabil to automate all aspects of the assembly process, according to John Dulchinos, a vice president at the company. Still, Jabil has increasingly embraced automation and advanced technology, a shift encouraged by the Chinese government as the world’s second-largest economy grapples with labor shortages and high costs that are making neighboring countries like Vietnam increasingly competitive for mass production.

Manufacturers elsewhere in the world are also investing in automation and robotics in an effort to wean themselves off “chasing the needle”—moving to ever-lower-cost countries in pursuit of cheap labor.

In Stockholm, Sweden, roughly 8,000 miles away from China, fuel-cell maker myFC has built a 2,000 square-foot smart factory that will eventually have five robots doing the work of 20 full-time humans. The robots assemble power cards used for portable electronic devices while 3D printers churn out prototypes of new designs.

“We are building one cell, then we can export that to any country, any customer,” says Bjorn Westerholm, chief executive of myFC.

Jabil says that it’s hoping that a key piece of its automation—a boxy white platform it calls Flexi-Auto Cell—can also be redeployed at factories elsewhere in the world. The idea, according to Jabil, is for technology to be able to emulate the worker’s flexibility in switching from one task to another.

Jabil’s vision of manufacturing, however, isn’t one in which machines will replace workers completely, but rather one in which they’re freed up to focus on less-tedious tasks.

“We are not going for a lights-off factory,” says KC Ong, a senior vice president of operations for Jabil. In the factory of the future, “we’ll still have a lot of people.””

Source: Electronics Maker Automates as China Costs Rise – China Real Time Report – WSJ

10/06/2016

17 People Die on India’s Roads Every Hour, Report Says – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s roads are getting more dangerous, with 17 people dying in accidents every hour, a new government report shows.

“Much more needs to be done,” to make India’s roads safe, Sanjay Mitra, secretary of the Ministry of Roads and Transport said in the report.

The data is pretty damning. The total number of road accidents in India increased 2.5% in 2015, to 501,423. The number of people killed climbed 4.6% to 146,133. Injuries rose by 1.4%.

Road accidents also got more severe. The total number of people killed per 100 accidents was up 2.1% at 29.1 in 2015.

The Ministry of Roads and Transport said it had identified 700 “black spots” on roads, where more than five people died in the past year, and that it has earmarked 6 billion rupees ($89.9 million) to fix defects.

Source: 17 People Die on India’s Roads Every Hour, Report Says – India Real Time – WSJ

07/06/2016

Here’s How Indians Are Rating Narendra Modi’s Programs – India Real Time – WSJ

Two years into his five-year term, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is asking his countrymen to rate a series of initiatives undertaken by his government.

Among the top scorers so far: an effort expand and modernize the railways and a program to build more roads. Toward the bottom of the favorability rankings: Mr. Modi’s Clean India campaign, which, among other things, aims to get people to use toilets instead of defecating outside.

Mr. Modi has become known for introducing a series of high-profile initiatives, from Make in India, which seeks to promote manufacturing, to pledges to build scores of so-called smart cities across the country.Of 21,770 respondents who had participated in the online survey on the government’s mygov.in website as of Tuesday morning, 70% gave a five-star rating to the government’s efforts to upgrade the rail system. People are asked to grade programs on a scale of one to five.

In the latest federal budget, the government earmarked $17 billion to improve the state-run railroad. Wi-Fi services are being rolled out at stations. And late last year, a deal was struck with Japan to help build India’s first high-speed rail line between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

The government’s efforts to build more highways and improve the condition of roadways have also been popular with the people. More than 65% of the respondents to the survey gave these initiatives a five-star rating. The target this year is to build 9,300 miles of highways.People taking the survey also seemed satisfied by the government’s attempts to make electricity more accessible.

One of the worst performing programs, according to the current results of the survey, which is ongoing, is Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, or the Clean India Mission. Only 33% of the respondents gave it a five-star rating. About 16% gave it score of one or two.

India’s Competitiveness and Prosperity Rankings Rise Under ModiIn October, a year into the program, another national survey also hinted at the public’s disappointment with its impact. More the 70% of those polled in that survey said the availability of public toilets hadn’t improved and their cities hadn’t become cleaner.

Mr. Modi is no stranger to crowdsourcing. He regularly encourages Indians to submit their thoughts for his weekly radio show. Prior to delivering his speech on India’s Independence Day last year, he asked citizens to submit their suggestions on what they’d like to hear him speak about. And they did, in hordes.

Source: Here’s How Indians Are Rating Narendra Modi’s Programs – India Real Time – WSJ

31/05/2016

China releases new action plan to tackle soil pollution | Reuters

China aims to curb worsening soil pollution by 2020 and stabilize and improve soil quality by 2030, the cabinet said in an action plan published on Tuesday.

The central government will set up a special fund to tackle soil pollution, as well as a separate fund to help upgrade technology and equipment in the heavy metal sector, the cabinet said in a statement on its website (www.gov.cn).

The government will also continue to eliminate outdated heavy metal capacity, the cabinet said.

Last year, the environment minister said 16 percent of China’s soil exceeded state pollution limits. Treatment costs for heavy metal or chemical contamination are high, and China has struggled to attract private funds for soil remediation.

According to Reuters calculations, the cost of making all of China’s contaminated land fit for crops or livestock would be around 5 trillion yuan ($760 billion), based on average industry estimates of the cost of treating one hectare.

Analysts have estimated the soil remediation market could be worth as much as 1 trillion yuan, but authorities have struggled to determine who should pay for rehabilitating contaminated land. Much of the responsibility for the costs now lies with impoverished local governments.

Researchers with Guohai Securities said earlier this year that there are currently 100 key soil remediation projects under way in China with an estimated total cost of 500 billion yuan. With no natural profit motive to encourage private companies to get involved, the clean-up programs have relied mostly on government funding.

China’s five-year plan published in March said the country would give priority to cleaning up contaminated soil used in agriculture. It promised also to strengthen soil pollution monitoring systems and promote new clean-up technologies.

Lawmakers said during the annual session of parliament in March that the country would introduce legislation to help tackle soil pollution by next year.

Companies involved in the sector include Beijing Orient Landscape and Ecology, Tus-Sound Environmental Resources, Beijing Originwater Technology and Guangxi Bossco Environmental Protection Technology.

($1 = 6.5836 Chinese yuan)

Source: China releases new action plan to tackle soil pollution | Reuters

27/05/2016

Why It Could Be a While Before Apple Can Open Stores in India – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s finance ministry has rejected a government-panel recommendation to exempt Apple Inc. from local sourcing requirements, two government officials said, in a decision that could effectively block the technology company’s plan to open its own retail stores in the country.

“We are sticking to the old policy,“ said one of the officials. “We want local sourcing for job creation. You can’t have a situation where people view India only as a market. Let them start doing some manufacturing here.”

An Apple spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

India is a crucial market for Apple as it holds huge sales potential. Like China, which for years fueled the Cupertino, Calif., company’s growth, India is a large, developing economy in which more people can afford its high-end gadgets every year.

India wants to use the company’s interest in its market to attract investment and create the manufacturing facilities and jobs the country needs to sustain long-term growth.

Source: Why It Could Be a While Before Apple Can Open Stores in India – India Real Time – WSJ

09/05/2016

Facebook Wins a Trademark Battle in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ

The court battles on American trademarks in China keep coming. But this time, a U.S. company has walked away with a win.

Late last month, the Beijing Higher People’s Court ruled in favor of U.S. social media giant Facebook in a trademark case against a Chinese beverage company that owned the trademark “face book.”

Zhongshan-based Zhujiang Beverage, which sells products like milk-flavored drinks and porridge, said it registered its trademark, “face book,” or 脸书, (lian shu) in 2011. The company faced objections from Facebook, but gained approval from the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, the country’s trademark authority, in 2014 to use it.

In a verdict posted on its verified Weibo account, the Beijing court said that the trademark authority’s approval had been revoked and that it is now up to the regulator to revisit its decision. While the verdict was issued last month, it has gotten wider attention in recent days on Chinese social media.

“Lian shu is something very Chinese,” said Liu Hongqun, marketing manager of Zhujiang Beverage. “We have lian shu in traditional operas,” he added, referring to the intricate masks — called “face books” in China — that are used to indicate a historical character in traditional Chinese opera, especially Peking opera.

Facebook naturally wasn’t happy and went back and forth with the trademark authority before eventually bringing the matter to the Beijing court. Facebook won the original lawsuit; Zhujiang then appealed, and, as of the most recent ruling, lost again.

Facebook declined to comment on the case.

Mr. Liu argued that even though Facebook is a known brand around the world, it’s blocked here in China – and has been since 2009.

“How many Chinese customers get access to or sign up for Facebook in mainland China?” Mr. Liu said. “Where can we get access to this product in mainland China?”

The Facebook win is a bright spot for U.S. companies, which lately have been under the trademark gun.

In late March, a Beijing court ruled that a Chinese handbag manufacturer can continue using the trademark “IPHONE,” in a setback to Apple Inc.’s iPhone trademark.

The court said Apple failed to prove that its brand was famous in China before the accessories company applied for its trademark in 2007, even though Apple first registered its iPhone trademark here in 2002.

Athletic gear maker Under Armour, meanwhile, is contemplating legal action against a Chinese sports apparel company called Uncle Martian, which last month unveiled an eerily similar logo to that of the Baltimore-based business.

On social media, Chinese internet users speculated that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s adulation for China may have helped his company win. Mr. Zuckerberg has gained media attention for, among other things, his jog on a heavily-polluted day in Beijing this spring and his prominent placement of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “The Governance of China” on his desk during a U.S. visit by China’s internet czar.

“[Facebook] shook hands with a standing committee member, after all,” wrote one online user, referring to a meeting in March between Mr. Zuckerberg and Liu Yunshan, a member of China’s top circle of leadership. “How could you dare not to give them the trademark?”

Source: Facebook Wins a Trademark Battle in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Law of Unintended Consequences

continuously updated blog about China & India

ChiaHou's Book Reviews

continuously updated blog about China & India

What's wrong with the world; and its economy

continuously updated blog about China & India