China Sees Seismic Shift in IPR

Ian Harvey, the former Chairman of the UK government's Intellectual Property Advisory Committee recently published his latest report for International IP Strategists Association (INTIPSA ): China's seismic shift in IP, attempting to show the world the real IPR development in China. According to the report, China is now becoming a major generator of intellectual property and it is becoming more committed to protecting IP and enforcing the law. Chinese companies and universities have attached importance to patents application. The misunderstanding outside China arises because most foreign observers look at the still imperfect state of patent enforcement in China and miss the profound changes that have taken place over the past 20 years.

In his report, he said that domestic patent applications have been growing at 25 to 40 per cent a year. For the first time in 2008, the 229,000 invention applications by domestic applicants in China exceeded the 225,000 patents in the US by US applicants. In 2011, China received 526,000 invention applications, increased by 34.6%. Meanwhile, Chinese universities now file almost four times the number of patents in China as US universities do in the US. This is over 20 times the number of UK filings by UK universities. In the eyes of Ian Harvey, China is on the verge of becoming a major generator of technology and IPR. It is creating a tidal wave of patents that is likely to wash over the US and Europe's shores in the next two decades, enabling China to dominate significant technology areas. This stems from the recognition inside China, largely missed by foreign observers, of the fundamental importance of IP to economic growth as well as the natural creativity and inventiveness of the Chinese.

According to Professor Xu Chunming from Shanghai University, there is a prevailing understanding in the western world that IPR remains a key tool for economic development and market competition. As China's IPR strength increased and the country's ability participating in the competition of the global economy gradually enhanced. When the entire world is casted by the shadow of the financial crisis and Euro zone debt crisis, China's economy remains stable development, attracting the western world's attentions. They started to realize the importance of the huge marked in China and knows that the important way to emerge from the crisis is to collaborate with China. Misunderstanding and distortion of facts only hurt themselves. Collaboration is the only right choice for win-win.

As a matter of fact, there are many examples of foreign companies that have been successful in China.  Philips, for example, has a profitable €7 billion business with 35 companies, 15 research centers and 20,000 employees in China.  About 15 per cent of its inventions now come from China.

Professor Xu said that we should always keep a clear head in the face of the pressure of opinion from outside and continuous improvement and development is what China must do now. In the earlier years, we can make objective analysis and put our feet down to promote the social and economic development in the face of false report on China's IPR from the western world. Now, the western media is changing their attitude to China's IPR development, and we should seize the opportunity to improve our work. However, we should not neglect that China is still lack of IPR management and operating experiences and the IPR environment remains to be optimized. What China should do now is to enhance national competitiveness.

(China IP News)