BEIJING, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Bastiaan Koster, an accomplished South African expert in intellectual property (IP) law, finds it regrettable that many people in his country have little idea about how much progress China has made in improving IP protection.
"When I tell some people in my country that China has one of the most sophisticated IP systems and files the most patents and trademarks in the world, it comes as a surprise to them," Koster said.
The former president of the Bureau of Federation of International IP Attorneys is among many experts in the world's IP law community who feel China's progress in IP protection deserves more credit and acknowledgment.
"I believe China has done an excellent job with an excellent IP system given the fact that the country only adopted its first patent law in 1984," Koster said.
China has achieved "very rapid" development in IP protection since the 1980s when the country started to establish its IP protection system, Beate Schmidt, the president of the German Federal Patent Court, said.
Today, just 40 years later, China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has become the largest IP Office in the world, receiving the highest number of applications worldwide, with further growth expected over the next few years, she added.
In order to guarantee effective enforcement of IP rights, China established an increasing number of specialised IP courts all over the country in the last 10 years. It also established an IP court under the Supreme People's Court in 2019.
"No other country embraced the idea of IP protection and its importance for economic development so quickly and consequently as China did," Schmidt added.
"The development of intellectual property in China over the past 30 years is as impressive as the country's economic growth," said Renata Righetti Pelosi, president of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property.
The rapid development of IP protection in China reflects the Chinese government' commitment to transforming the economy from manufacturing-driven to innovation-driven, Pelosi said.
As Chinese companies invest more in innovation, their need for IP protection also increases. As a result, patent filing grew exponentially, boosting the growth of the IP sector.
Chinese companies like Huawei, Oppo, ZTE and BOE Technology ranked among the first 100 patent filers at the European Patent Office in 2018, with an impressive second place for Huawai, falling just a little behind the first filer Siemens, Pelosi said.
"This is a sign that Chinese companies are taking the lead in innovation in particular in the tech sector, not only domestically but also worldwide," she added.
Pelosi sees Chinese IP professionals as another factor that contributed to China's rapid development of IP protection.
"China has many talented IP attorneys, with a truly global vision, that are leading the impetuous growth of this sector; these professionals have opened up the industry to increasingly sophisticated legal issues," Pelosi added.
CONFIDENCE IN FUTURE
China is strongly committed to the introduction of new and increasingly stringent rules in IP protection. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that any shortcoming, if any, will be resolved in a not too distant future, Pelosi said.
Koster is also impressed by the Chinese government's dedication to building a strong intellectual property system. "To process the large number of patents, utility patents and trademarks annually being filed in China is no easy task."
Given the success story of the IP system in China and the very short time it was obtained, Koster is confident that China's IP system will continue to improve rapidly.
"The rest of the world can be assured that their IP rights will be well protected and enforceable in China," he said.