Source: China Daily

Conference reviews country's successes in IP protection since opening-up launched in 1978.

China will enhance its international cooperation in patents as part of its effort to promote further opening-up, senior officials said at a key industry forum.

The cooperation will include technical communications, data exchange and improved efficiency of patent examination, said Shen Changyu, commissioner of the China National Intellectual Property Administration at the ninth China Patent Annual Conference held in Beijing last Thursday and Friday.

This year's conference recalled the achievements of patent developments since the reform and opening-up began in 1978, and aimed to build a platform to boost international cooperation on patents amid the wave of economic globalization.

Since the Patent Law was put into effect in 1984, the number of patent applications from overseas applicants has surpassed 1.77 million, with an annual growth rate of 11 percent, Shen said.

China planning to enhance international patent cooperation

Import and export amount of intellectual property royalties reached $22 billion from January to June, up 53.6 percent year-on-year.

"It shows the initial goal for the Patent Law to promote technological communications at home and abroad got well realized," he said. "The patent system benefits from the reform and opening-up and will support the policy in return," he said, adding the authority will implement a strict intellectual property protection system to build an ideal business environment, and encourage technical exchanges among companies to boost the commercialization of IP.

It will also promote the admittance to other countries of more Chinese patents, helping domestic companies safeguard their rights in overseas markets and better participate in global competition, he added.

More than 10,000 officials, companies, service providers, experts and audience members participated in the event.

The World Intellectual Property Organization, European Patent Office, Eurasian Patent Organization and intellectual property authorities from countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Singapore and Pakistan attended the event.

Topics discussed at the 11 forums included the establishment of IP strategy, entrepreneurial spirit and IP, the opportunities and challenges in patent transaction arising from the Internet of Things.

There were also patent-related products and service exhibitions, a patents' cultivation competition and an IP operation competition.

According to CNIPA, the number of annual patent applications and valid patent owners have both surpassed 1 million in recent years. The number of PCT filings also grew 12.5 percent year-on-year to reach 51,000 last year, ranked second in the world, which means China has become a big market for patents, it said.

"The story of China and intellectual property is an extraordinary one," said Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization at a group interview during the conference.

"It has been 40 years since the reform and opening-up, 1984 is the year (during) which the patent law was enacted in China.

"During that relatively short period of time, China has built the largest patent office, largest trademark office, largest design office in the world," he said. China joined the organization in June 1980 and is ranked 17th in the Global Innovation Index 2018, moving up five positions from last year.

"With an extraordinary level of support from the State leadership, President Xi Jinping has emphasized the importance of IP in the future direction of China's development.

"Premier Li Keqiang made an extraordinary commitment and high-level focus of IP in China and I think the achievement has been outstanding in that period of time," he said.

He added that the Belt and Road Initiative can make the protection of IP easier, with numerous opportunities offered for the movement of intangible assets such as creative works and technology, as well as promotion of cooperation in IP.

"BRI countries can participate in the global system that has been established over the years. It's an opportunity to use a multilateral framework to facilitate the cooperation in IP."

Chinese patent applications in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative also grew 27 percent from January to June, data from CNIPA showed.

Shen from CNIPA said China adopted the same rules for domestic and foreign companies, and protects the rights of both equally.

Over the last five years, foreign applicants filed 650,000 patents and 840,000 trademarks in China.

In January, The Diplomat magazine reported that the winning rate of patent infringement cases from foreign enterprises reached 80 percent in recent years, while the enforcement rate reached 98 percent.

It shows China has become an ideal location for IP-related lawsuits, and demonstrates that China has won recognition from foreign companies, Shen said.

Udo Meyer, senior vice-president and patent attorney of BASF SE, the German chemical giant, said he has seen the strong development of patent rights in China over years.

"When we started to invest in China, we had zero patents in China. Today, we have 6,500 patents and applications. So this is a strong development, very much in line with the opening-up policy in China," he said.

The company started its own R&D activities in Shanghai in 2012, so all the results they received from the R&D work and all the inventions were filed at CNIPA, he said.

"So we really trust in the system, that we get good protection and we continue foreign filings based on those priority filings we have here in China," he said. He said he hopes for stronger protection of trade secrets - including more enforcement in this area - and added that he would also like to see higher compensation in patent infringement cases.