February 24, 2024

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China to Reform Intellectual Property to Spur Innovation

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The State Council’s executive meeting states that China will take initiatives to reform the government functions regarding intellectual property. This action is to facilitate entrepreneurial activity and innovation and boost innovation by market entities. The innovation reform includes the advancement of online processing of prioritized patent review and application for electronic registration of pledges and the promotion of electronic trademark registration certificates and patent certificates.

Besides utilising digital technology to make the process more efficient, the review period will also be significantly shortened. This is for or the alteration and extension of patents for invention and of trademarks whose application is made electronically. Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China says that protecting intellectual property is protecting innovation. This is a key part of our effort in fostering a world-class, market-oriented business climate governed by a sound legal framework.

The protection will also help keep the industrial and supply chains stable. It will result in China being a robust market for attracting foreign investment, a market of fair competition and win-win cooperation. The approach of pre-commitment compliance will be applied in approving the registration of a trademark or patent pledges and the licenses for special agencies.

The National Intellectual Property Administration (NIPA) will prioritise the quality of intellectual property instead of the simple pursuit of quantity. The quantity of patent application and licensing should not be the main criterion when deciding on rewards or making qualification assessment.

These measures are designed to foster an enabling environment for researchers to focus on their areas of work and produce more basic and original research outcomes. Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China also states that they will continue to strengthen IPR protection, and any infringement identified will be seriously dealt with.

However, the effort to ensure data security will not infringe the public’s rights to know as basic data of intellectual property will be made public. This decision is also to catalyse corporate R&D and innovation. The protection of intellectual property will be intensified every step of the way. Unlawful agencies and malicious trademark registration and irregular patent application will be cracked down on by following the law.

In 2020, China was the largest user of the WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty system, with nearly 69,000 applications. Moreover, China will expand the autonomy of universities and research institutes in dealing with IPR issues and promote the commercialisation and application of patents.

The NIPA now plans to improve IPR financial services and make intellectual property pledge financing accessible to more industrial parks and benefit more enterprises. They also want to expand IPR legislation to new fields and new forms of businesses, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.

The Head of the NIPA also says they are actively listening to the opinions of academia and industry experts on whether AI-generated works and inventions constitute new IPRs and who should claim their ownership and will design relevant institutions accordingly.

Furthermore, in the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy, China aims to adopt more efforts to improve coordination between intellectual property policy and the policies of industry, region, science and technology and trade.

Intellectual property policy needs to be formulated to promote adjustment and optimization of industrial structures. Measures need to be taken in line with the different features of regional development to improve intellectual property support policy and foster economies suitable to the region and thus promote balanced regional economic development.

China seeks to guide and support market entities to create and utilize intellectual property through the use of policies related to finance, investment, government procurement, industrial development, energy and environmental protection. They also plan to strengthen the guiding role of intellectual property policies in scientific innovation.


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