High-tech hub in Beijing hailed as innovation model

Source: China Daily

Zhongguancun zone has made marked achievements in developing a successful pioneering intellectual property system.

Zhongguancun, a high-tech business hub in Beijing, has made pioneering achievements in the creation and demonstration of an intellectual property system over the past 15 years.

It was named a national IP model park in 2003, the only one of its kind approved by the State Council so far.

In the Zhongguancun State Intellectual Property Park, a host of innovative businesses, as well as research and service institutes that capitalize on the patent system, have sprung up, helping to create an IP-friendly culture.

By the end of 2017, local companies had an inventory of 80,600 invention patents, accounting for 64 percent of the total owned by all businesses in the city.

Invention patent applications filed by the companies increased from 1,263 in 2003 to 43,696 in 2017. The patents granted jumped from 968 to 23,167 during the same period.

And the number of valid registered trademarks and copyrights was 204,261 and 216,174 respectively.

Improved IP and high-value patents support Zhongguancun's transformation and upgrade.

By the end of 2017, local companies and industrial alliances had participated in formulating 330 international standards and 4,536 national standards and won 35 top patent awards in China.

The model park was home to 70 unicorns in 2017, accounting for 43 percent of the country's total. A unicorn refers to a startup company whose valuation has exceeded $1 billion. Of them, 27 companies that have filed patent applications have been valued to be worth a total of $207.93 billion.

Zhongguancun boasts an innovation-friendly climate, where the Haidian District People's Court is situated. The Beijing IP Court, which was unveiled at the end of 2014 and is the first of its kind in the country, is also located in the model park.

The Beijing IP Court settled nearly 12,800 cases last year, a surge of more than 135 percent from 5,432 in 2015, accounting for 5.7 percent of the total of Chinese courts nationwide.

The China National Intellectual Property Administration cooperated with the Beijing government to build IP protection centers in Zhongguancun, helping the park create an innovation-friendly climate.

At the forefront of the country in terms of reforms and with advanced innovative ideas, Zhongguancun has created many firsts in exploring an innovative growth path.

It received strong support from the central government to create a mechanism for researchers to run tech startup companies. It has offered key experiences in recognition of the high-tech enterprise status and reforms covering the property system, IP, business credit and high-tech startups' getting listed.

More than 20 policies piloted in Zhongguancun have been promoted in other national innovation demonstration zones or even nationwide.

Home to a great number of universities and high-tech companies, Zhongguancun enjoys rich resources in innovation.

Local authorities encourage companies to make full use of the resources and advance their innovation-driven growth strategy, in which the market plays a decisive role in resources allocation.

A series of working mechanisms have been developed to advance IP development at Zhongguancun, including the founding of a special team dedicated to IP promotion.

Officials from CNIPA, who are engaged in processing patent applications, have been invited to local companies and discussed technical issues with researchers.

The authorities have also called for commercialization and industrialization of IP and coordination in protection.

All the efforts have helped to create a culture revolving around innovation in Zhongguancun, with a focus on IP, which is, in turn, a big draw to high-level professionals who are interested in starting their own businesses.

To date, more than 40,000 foreign nationals and returned overseas Chinese work in the park. Of them, more than 1,340 people are included in the national Recruitment Program of Global Experts, accounting for 19 percent of the country's total.

About one-third of equity investment cases in China took place in Zhongguancun last year. Their investment value also accounted for some one-third of the country's total. In the first eight months of this year, 23,000 tech companies were founded in the park, an increase of 24.6 percent year-on-year.

At the park, innovation and entrepreneurship has increasingly become a fashion and lifestyle, with a culture encouraging creation and startups and tolerant of failures.

Zhongguancun's success story shows that creating an IP-friendly culture requires increased awareness of creation and protection and an ecosystem that reveres IP.

IP education and promotion is also indispensable to the culture creation. Only after the culture is immersed in the entire chain of IP creation, protection, use, management and service can it showcase its power and provide vigor to the country's innovation-driven development.

The author is the director of the Intellectual Property Development and Research Center at the China National Intellectual Property Administration.