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  • Written by  Eins Yu

Intellectual Property (IP) in China

Intellectual Property Photo: datenna

26TH April 2015 was the World Intellectual Property Day with a theme of “Get up, stand up for music”. In any streets of China, however, you can buy any latest Hollywood blockbuster DVDs from vendors in less than 10 yuan and download any music you want free of charge from the Internet. Though these days Chinese attach great importance to the Intellectural Property Right (IPR) and the IP’s environment has been generally improved, there are still some worsening problems in the field.

Problems

China may have the biggest Trademark and Patent Office in the world handling an increasing number of IP judgment cases everyday. The Chinese companies are keen on snatching up different rights that may in some sense belong to others, sometimes a foreign company’s. The very reason lies behind the problem is that Chinese government puts lots of funds in subsidizing Chinese companies with patents. This is a good incentive to encourage companies to innovate , but some companies churn out useless inventions for the large amount of subsidy or even steal others'.

Another challenging problem for foreign companies is the unfair rules for inventions conducted in China by foreign research. The Chinese Patent Office mandates that any foreign companies that want to file outside of China for inventions which conducted in China should be permitted by Chinese government. Though it is a common sense that if an invention has something to do with national security issues, Chinese government has the right to hold back the approval, there is no clear definition as to what is the inventions conducted in China, so the government can interpret the rule at will, mostly against the foreign companies.

In a conclusion, China seems have a lack of a systematic legal system to protect the IP. And the existing system is immature, foreign- hostile and doesn’t fit to the situation, so China needs to formulate a suitable IP legal system to solve its home and abroad IP problems well.

Progress

So far China has enacted a series of law regarding the IP: the National Science and Technology Plan, new Patent Law, Anti-Monopoly Law, Science and Technology Promotion Law, National IP Strategy, and intellectual property rights (IPR), to name a few. The government shows willingness to intensify the IPR by virtue of legislation.

What’s more, China is developing innovative partnerships and innovative private and public partnerships (PPP refers to the private sector agreeing to support some part of public goals due to their shared objectives, aiming to pool the private capital and expertise for the public innovation) with foreign companies to better solve the IP dispute in some key technology areas. Foreign company can well protect their IP rights through criminal, civil, and administrative measures even in the challenging environment.

To sum up, if China can do its IP fairly and according to the law, it will bring mutual benefits to itself and the foreign companies as well.

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