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Business leaders call for improved protection

Updated: Apr 26, 2018 China Daily Print

Closer cooperation is needed as more Chinese enterprises go global.

Senior government officials and business leaders have called for an improved intellectual property protection system in China as well as closer cooperation among IP organizations worldwide, in response to emerging business opportunities both at home and abroad.

The remarks were made at the High-level Forum on China IP Protection held from April 20 to 21 in Beijing.

Shen Changyu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, said the boom in China's mass entrepreneurship and innovation has resulted in higher requirements for IP protection.

"With increasing small-and microbusinesses and even some grassroots makers seeking IP protection, our work has become more complicated and should be much more customized and professional," Shen said.

However, the demanding requirements for IP protection not only come from the domestic market but also overseas.

Lu Pengqi, vice-president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said as Chinese companies have accelerated their pace in "going overseas", they are facing increasing international IP disputes.

"But due to the lack of IP management and protection, some Chinese transnational enterprises, especially medium and small-sized enterprises, are not capable of safeguarding their legal rights," Lu said. "Some enterprises even became the victims of certain countries' abuse of IP protection."

To build a stable and fair business environment domestically and help Chinese companies protect their rights abroad, experts and entrepreneurs offered solutions at the forum.

"To meet the requirements from the emerging industries, SIPO has built 19 IP protection centers nationwide," Shen said. "The centers, which integrate investigation, right confirmation and protection, offering one-stop, low-cost and high-efficiency services to the businesses in the whole country, will be further increased in the near future."

Liang Zhixiang, vice-president of internet giant Baidu, said he is happy to see that 10 years after its establishment, SIPO is scheduled to be restructured, aimed at comprehensively covering patents, trademarks and geographical indications.

It is a new era for China's IP protection, Liang added.

Sun Jungong, vice-president of another internet colossus Alibaba, said: "The exploration of the internet is borderless, which creates countless new business models.

"Therefore, policymakers need to take new business models into full consideration when they improve IP protection systems and roll out new regulations."

He added that with the promotion of China's Belt and Road Initiative, expanded cooperation in IP protection for cross-border businesses is earnestly expected.

Sun's opinions were echoed by foreign experts, who praised China's efforts in international IP protection and looked forward to further collaboration with the country.

"China has already been one of the biggest customers of the IP services provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization," said Wang Binying, deputy director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

To date, total filings from China via the Patent Cooperation Treaty had reached 48,000, according to WIPO data.

China has also agreed to exchange data and establish a technology innovation center with WIPO, aimed at training Chinese users to better utilize the United Nations agency's database and other electronic tools.

"In the coming years, WIPO will continue to collaborate with China to enhance international cooperation in IP protection, especially in terms of training IP officials in Asia, Africa and the Middle East," Wang said.

Yann Yves Meniere, chief economist of the European Patent Office, said China has played an increasingly important role in the EPO.

China applied for 8,838 patents in total with the EPO last year, a year-on-year growth of 16.6 percent. The number is expected to increase this year, according to Meniere.

From the perspective of a transnational enterprise, Su Wang, vice-president of online retail portal JD, said: "Chinese enterprises should pay high attention to applying for patents in target foreign markets.

"The quality of the patents should be the dominant factor to be concerned."

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