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Patent and trademark filings represent the pulse of innovation and entrepreneurship. We made this viz to help gauge and analyze that pulse, thanks to data from the Worldwide Intellectual Property Organization. Take a look- you may be surprised by what you find!
American innovation is still in full swing. In 2007 (the last year with full data), over 400K patents were filed in the US, overtaking Japan for the first time since 1970. Chinese patent filings have been rising as well, topping out at just over 200K. Chinese trademark filings are an entirely different animal, taking up over 50% of the total amongst the countries profiled here.
This makes perfect sense, given that Chinese companies usually compete on price rather than technology. Brands are a valuable commodity when they are the only distinction between competitors. Similarly, it makes sense that the technology heavy economy of the US would produce more patents than trademarks.
Also, see a little further into the legal side of this viz in this post from Tableau Software's resident legal eagle, David Weiskopf.