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IP protection helps drive innovation

Han Baoyi
Updated: Mar 16,2019 10:38 AM     China Daily

China’s dedicated work on the recognition and protection of intellectual property are two key approaches to achieve innovation-driven development in the country, said a leading British academic.

China has been growing as a tech leader in fields such as telecommunications, space exploration, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, genetics and material science as a result of not only initiating innovations, but also protecting them, said Professor Alan Barrell, director of studies at Cambridge Innovation Academy.

“Innovation is a key component in the Chinese strategy for economic and social growth and development,” said Barrell. “The Chinese government and regulatory authorities have installed national systems of IP recognition and protection that match the best in the world over the past years.”

He was speaking after Premier Li Keqiang delivered the Government Work Report at the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress, where Premier Li said “China will continue to pursue innovation-driven development”, and he emphasized the importance of improving the system of punitive compensation for IP infringement.

“China looked at all excellent patenting systems worldwide and has created and now manages what some leading patent attorneys in the West regard as the most professional and efficient patenting system to be found anywhere,” said Barrell.

“There are more and more patents being filed in China now, and this is clearly to the advantage of foreign investors and companies with IP bringing their businesses to operate in China,” he added.

In 2018, there were more than 432,000 invention patents granted in China, a 5.8 percent year-on-year increase. And more than 148,000 patent applications from foreign entities were submitted, up 9.1 percent from 2017, according to the National Intellectual Property Administration in China.

“Patents and other intellectual property are only valuable if the laws governing their issue and management are enforced,” said Barrell.

Over the past years, China has been setting up specific courts to hear intellectual property rights cases. One of them in Beijing, which was set up in 2014 and was China’s first IPR court, handled about 18,000 cases in 2018, up 19 percent year-on-year, according to a Xinhua report, including cases brought by foreign companies and multinationals.

Barrell praised China’s efforts on improving the arbitration system for IPR protection, adding that this will benefit the country’s business environment.

In parallel, China is continuously putting efforts into enabling administrative enforcement and judicial protection to be able to complement each other, and letting them work with each other more efficiently. In 2018, IP authorities nationwide organized special trademark and patent law enforcement campaigns that handled 77,000 patent infringement or counterfeit cases, up 15.9 percent year-on year, along with 31,000 trademark violations, according to the National Intellectual Property Administration.

In 2018, China re-established the National Intellectual Property Administration, known as CNIPA. Trademark and patent law enforcement were assumed by one market enforcement force, beefing up its strength. By the end of 2018, there were 43 IPR protection centers and IPR rapid right enforcement centers.

“This all represents real progress as China moves forward, seeking to achieve world-class standards and the resultant enhancement of its reputation as a place to do good business,” Barrell said.

“Innovation in China is providing a momentum to technological developments and processes of the translation of research and development and knowledge into more valuable products,” he said. “To have a patenting and intellectual property management system developing in parallel is of significant importance.”