BEIJING, March 3 (Xinhua) -- When talking about the development of intellectual property (IP) in China, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry said "it's a remarkable journey and a remarkable story."
Born at the start of reform and opening-up, China's IP cause has taken only decades to accomplish what the western IP system took hundreds of years to develop. While developing and improving its IP system, China has been active in international cooperation to boost global IP governance.
ACTIVE IN INT'L COOPERATION
Starting from zero at the beginning of its reform and opening-up, China has established a relatively complete IP legal system in line with prevailing international rules, joined almost all major related international treaties, and developed cooperative relations with over 80 countries and international or regional organizations in a relatively short period of time.
China has always been a follower, participant and upholder of the international rules of IP, Shen Changyu, commissioner of the National Intellectual Property Administration, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
China is an active participant in multilateral and bilateral affairs within the framework of WIPO to promote and improve global IP governance, Shen added.
In recent years, international cooperation with China on IP protection has has continuous innovative progress. IP cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative has in particular achieved practical results.
In 2019, China and the European Union (EU) completed an eight-year negotiation on an agreement to protect geographical indications (GI), which included 275 GI from each of the two sides in the appendix, such as EU's Irish whiskey and traditional Chinese Shaoxing wine.
With the ratification of Indonesia on Jan. 28, the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances will take effect for its 30 contracting parties on April 28.
The Beijing treaty, adopted by WIPO member states in 2012, fills a gap in the international treaty on the comprehensive protection of performers in audiovisual performance.
PROTECTION WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION
IP is not only an important strategic resource of a country, but also a booster of technological innovation and a bridge of trade globalization. China is a protector and creator of IP.
Statistics show that by the end of 2019, China had led the world in patent and trademark applications for several years running.
According to data from the WIPO for 2017 and 2018, China was the second largest applicant for international patent applications submitted through the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and the third largest for trademark registration under the Madrid System.
After about 40 years of development, China's IP governance capability is in line with that of the international community and its IP protection has reached the international standard, which is fully recognized by the world, said Shan Xiaoguang, dean of Shanghai International College of IP at Tongji University.
In the process of advancing the development of its IP system, China has made great efforts to enhance protection and optimize policies, insisting on providing effective protection without discrimination for both domestic and foreign enterprises.
Foreign plaintiffs are able to win and receive injunctions in patent infringement cases brought in China according to the law, Patently-O, a U.S. leading patent law blog, wrote, adding that China's IP protection practice is fair and just.
China's effective protection brings huge benefits to foreign IP holders every year. Statistics show that the country paid 34 billion U.S. dollars for IP royalties in 2019.
China has strengthened IP protection with an open attitude, making it a magnet for global trade and innovative activities.
Global innovative activities occur mostly in metropolitan hotspots in China, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States, according to the 2019 edition of WIPO's "World Intellectual Property Report."
According to Doing Business 2020, an annual report published by the World Bank, China jumped to 31st in its ranking for ease of doing business and is among the top 10 improvers for a second consecutive year.
Advanced experience accumulated during the rapid growth of the IP cause in China over the past decades has attracted worldwide attention.
China places IP at a strategic high level, pays attention to IP protection in all economic fields, and has shown its determination of long-term policy for decades, which set up examples for other countries, said Gurry.
Renata Righetti Pelosi, president of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property, pointed out two reasons for the rapid development of the IP cause in China.
On the one hand, the needs of economic operators in China have increasingly overlapped with those in the world, and the two sides have reached more consensuses on IP protection, Pelosi said.
On the other, China has many IP talents with a global vision, who are leading the rapid growth of this sector, she added.
Through academic exchanges and personnel training, China is also actively contributing its wisdom to global IP governance and is more confident about joining global IP cooperation.
The first batch of students from countries that joined the Belt and Road construction successfully graduated from China with master's degrees in IP in 2018, bringing the knowledge and experience of IP protection they learned from China to the world.
As global IP governance is facing new challenges posed by a new phase of development and a new round of scientific and technological revolution has brought great changes to the industry, many industries spawned by new technologies have gone beyond the scope of protection of the original IP system.
In the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, countries should learn from each other with a more open and inclusive attitude, said Shan, adding that China has led the world in such technological fields as artificial intelligence, big data and life science, and accumulated valuable experience on IP protection in related industries, which is conducive to solving global challenges.