Paper360 - March/April 2012 - (Page 8)

INNOVATION TRENDSPOTTING Asian INNOVATION on the RISE JEFF LINDSAY Old stereotypes no longer apply, and those who remain blind to the innovation engines of China, Japan, and other Asian nations will miss enormous opportunities S 8 ince moving to China, I’ve often had the impression that the West is somewhat blind to dramatic trends here in innovation. As a result, many opportunities will be missed. This applies to the forest products industries and related sectors such as consumer goods, packaging, and biofuels. For example, a 2011 report from Thompson-Reuters named the “Top 100 Global Innovators” based on patent activity from 2005 to 2010.1 The methodology emphasized international applications and not just filings in one country. The United States dominated the list with 47 U.S.-based companies in the top 100, followed by Japan, France, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein— not a single company from China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong made the list. Paper360º MARCH/APRIL 2012 Innovation giant Apple was on the list, naturally, but Foxconn was not. Foxconn is the “silent” innovator that makes Apple’s products in China, a Taiwanese company with many more internationally filed patents than Apple. Foxconn innovations are essential for Apple’s success. This includes the Chinese innovations in its supply chain and the technical innovations of its hardware and software, expressed through its vast body of patents—roughly three times more U.S. patents than Apple during the time period of the study, and 50 times more U.S. granted patents than one of the companies on the list. Based on the published information it is hard to fathom how Foxconn (or rather its parent, Hon Hai Precision) did not make the list. China-based Lenovo and Huawei also seem to have more than enough international patents to have made the list. However, upon contacting the publisher, I learned that the details of their proprietary methodology only counted patent families that were filed in Europe, Japan, China, and the U.S. Hon Hai has been content with aggressive filings in the U.S. and Asia, and has far fewer European filings. Their low Intellectual Property (IP) activity in Europe, though logical given the cost, apparently made a global innovation leader essentially invisible in this highly publicized study. Other heavy international filers in China suffered similar barriers due to fewer filings in either Europe or Japan. The methodology of the study may have been accurately implemented, but the results might not paint an accurate image of innovation coming from Asia. Today, two of the world’s top five filers of international patents are the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, and China is about to become the world’s largest source of patents, but the West continues to view China as a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - March/April 2012

Over the Wire . . . News Summary
Asian Innovation on the Rise
SPECIAL FEATURE: Tissue Industry
North America Shifts to Specialization
A Measured Success
Aligning Rolls in a Paper Machine Winder
Understanding Lightweighting
Sappi Biberist Tests a New Inline Sensor to Control OBAs and Colors
Process Control for Stickies
An Innovative Yankee Coating Program
Biopolymers in Papermaking
Best Practices in Product Development
Employee Work Restrictions Challenge Human Resources
Paper360° Online Exclusives
Association News

Paper360 - March/April 2012