China steps up IPR protection
Gu Yekai, People’s Daily
China recently issued a guideline calling for intensified protection of intellectual property rights (IPR).
Titled “The Guideline on Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights Protection”, the document proposed a series of innovative measures to protect IPR, and clearly emphasized the goal of achieving strict, widespread, fast and equal IPR protection.
In recent years, China has made increasing efforts to strengthen IPR protection. From 2013 to 2018, the country investigated and prosecuted 269,000 patent infringement and counterfeiting cases and 201,000 trademark infringement and counterfeiting cases.
In the first half of the year, China advanced patent and trademark administrative law enforcement, investigating and prosecuting 6,529 cases of patent infringement and counterfeiting, and 11,500 trademark violations.
The document calls for strengthening the punishment for infringements and counterfeiting, regulating evidence collection, intensifying law enforcement measures and improving the protection system for new business forms.
Wu Handong, honorary director of the intellectual property research center with Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, said the document has improved the policy framework on stricter IPR protection through giving more play to the role of institutional constraints.
Meanwhile, through pushing for the revision of the Patent Law, the Trademark Law and the Copyright Law, the document provides a legal guarantee for stricter IPR protection.
Through the Internet plus IPR protection initiative, China has built a convenient, efficient, and low-cost channel for rights protection. In December 2018, 38 Chinese ministries and departments launched the joint punishment of serious IPR infringements. Besides, through innovating the IPR protection mechanism, the country has significantly improved the capability and efficiency of IPR protection.
The document also calls for greater efforts on the monitoring of IPR-related law enforcement, promoting an IPR governance system in the whole society, and providing professional support for IPR protection.
Sun Jungong, vice president of Alibaba, said IPR protection should involve the efforts of governments, owners of intellectual property, and e-commerce platforms, to share governance information and technologies, and achieve mutual benefit and win-win benefits through joint collaboration.
In the first half of 2019, China shortened the invention patent review period to 22.7 months, and high-value patent review period to 20.5 months, and reduced the average review period for trademark registration to no more than 5 months. The country is seeing improving efficiency and quality in intellectual property review and strengthening IPR source protection.
In recent years, China has made globally acknowledged achievements in IPR protection. The level of social satisfaction with IPR protection in China climbed from a score of 63.69 to 76.88 between 2012 and 2018.
The number of non-resident IPR applications, a weathervane that reflects a country’s intellectual property protection level, maintained continuous growth over the past years.
In the first half of the year, the number of foreign invention patent applications in China reached 78,000, up 8.6 percent year on year. The number of foreign trademark applications in China reached 127,000, an increase of 15.4 percent year on year.
China will make greater efforts to step up international cooperation in IPR protection, facilitate communication between domestic and foreign rights holders, provide support in overseas IPR disputes, and improve coordination and information acquisition mechanism, according to the document.
Song Hefa, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that China gives equal IPR protection to various entity and individual right owners, and doesn’t treat disputed right holders of different nature, types, sources and sizes differently or discriminate against them.
The country also gives equal treatment to domestic and foreign companies, big and small companies, state-owned and private companies, and universities and scientific research institutes, and non-profit organizations in terms of IPR protection.
Experts pointed out that strengthening intellectual property protection is the most important part of improving the property right protection system and the biggest incentive to improve China’s economic competitiveness.
With the implementation of a series of innovative measures, China will improve intellectual property protection capacity and level in a comprehensive manner.