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Tian: Patents crucial issue in today's global landscape

01-11-2012 16:51 BJT

Intellectual property (IP) must be fully integrated into development as the nation moves toward a more sustainable and efficient economy, Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), said at a meeting in Beijing last week.

As well, rising uncertainties about the global economic recovery have made the situation "grim and complicated", Tian said, adding that many countries now focus on IP as a key issue in bilateral talks.

The number of overseas IP lawsuits is also rising as multinational companies increasingly value patents in their global campaigns, he said.

Authorities will strengthen research, analysis and reports on patents in strategic industries this year, he noted.

"We need to shift the focus of our work from promoting IP quantity to improving quality and capacity," he said.

SIPO received more than 1.6 million patent applications in 2011, more than one-third of them invention patents, which carry the most stringent requirements for innovation, creation and practical use.

More than 172,000 invention patents were granted, an increase of 27.4 percent over 2010.

"Innovation and IP protection in our country are still at the initial stage," Tian quoted Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan saying. "It requires arduous efforts like the Long March."

Due to widely varied regional differences, progress in the national IP strategy begun in 2008 has been unbalanced, Tian said.

Implementation of the strategy has now filtered down from the central government to local administrations, he added.

Yet the need for innovation continues to grow, the SIPO chief noted.

"Building an innovation-driven country urgently requires intellectual property to play a great part in encouraging creation and promoting development," he said.

"China is now in a transitional period, with rapid industrialization and urbanization providing huge opportunities," he added.

This year, SIPO plans to initiate a pilot program to certify proprietary IP products. It will also toughen qualification requirements on patent professionals, the commissioner said.

An industry development plan will increase government support for intermediary IP services such as patent searching, analysis, pre-warning on potential infringement and asset evaluation.

Last year IP financing services were provided in nearly 20 locations across the country as combined IP-collateralized loans rose to 9 billion yuan ($1.4 billion), an increase of 28 percent over 2010, and involved more than 1,900 patents.

SIPO is also pushing for revision of regulations, more efficient processing of applications and stricter law enforcement, Tian said.

As well, human resources are "crucial to the sustainable development, determining whether the national IP strategy will succeed", he noted.

More than 10,000 applicants took the national patent qualification exam in 2011, a record high.

There are now 869 patent agencies practicing on the mainland, 79 of them established last year alone.

In a bid to help Chinese companies expand abroad, authorities plan to formulate reports on the IP environment in emerging economies and key industries abroad this year.

While the motivation for innovation is growing stronger and international rules tend to be uniform globally, the need for IP protection is also rising.

Tian quoted Chinese President Hu Jintao saying that IP protection is fundamental to building a national innovation system.

Enforcement officials investigated more than 3,000 patent infringements across the country last year, 65.5 percent more than in 2010, Tian said, adding that long-term enforcement will continue and more than 10 aid centers for maintaining IP rights will be added this year.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: People’s Daily

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