Now second only to the Pearl and Yangtze River Deltas as the
most economically active and dynamic regions in China, the Bohai
Rim, with Beijing and Tianjin as its core, has been accelerating
Experts say that by 2010 the Bohai Rim could become the most
economically influential area in China or even in Northeast
The region is already an important base for raw materials and
heavy manufacturing. Along with its solid industrial foundation, it
also has the most concentrated foreign investment in North
The Tianjin Binhai New Area now has a multi-level science and
technology development system that also trains new talent and is
home to large-scale enterprises.
There are 42 national and municipal science and technology
research institutes, 50 large enterprise research and development
centers and 44 postdoctoral workstations.
According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the
competitiveness of Tianjin in science and technology ranked No 4 on
the mainland from 2004 to 2006.
During that same period, the competitiveness of Beijing in
science and technology ranked No 1 in China. Better communication
between Beijing and Tianjin has increased interaction between the
Tianjin and Binhai make up a traditional industrial base for
North China and the Bohai Rim. The GDP of the new district of
Tianjin Binhai in 2006 reached 196 billion yuan, accounting for 45
percent of the city as a whole. Its industries include digital
information, petroleum exploration and processing, metallurgy,
automobile and equipment manufacturing, aircraft assembly, food
processing and bio-pharmaceuticals.
These industries have strengthened into an established hi-tech
industrial group. The area's IT industry ranks among the top in
China, and its petroleum casing pipe output is among the top four
globally, with more than 1,000 enterprises providing the
In May, the five municipalities and provinces in Bohai Rim -
Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Liaoning - signed a Bohai Rim
Intellectual Property (IP) Protection Cooperation Agreement in
Tianjin. The intellectual property offices of the areas are
undertaking joint administrative legal and anti-infringement
In IP-related disputes among enterprises from home and abroad in
the past several years, cases in telecommunications and IT rank at
top. Some Chinese telecommunication enterprises have realized the
function and value of intellectual property and raised intellectual
property protection to the level of enterprise strategy.
But most domestic companies lag foreign enterprises. Up to 2005,
the number of patent applications filed by transnational companies
in China reached more than 30 percent of the total, including
almost 40 percent of invention patents.
In hi-tech industries, patent applications filed by
transnational companies reached 70 percent of the total with
companies mapping patent strategies well before entering China to
collect licensing royalties. Many domestic enterprises fell into
"patent traps", an obstacle to the development and creation of
technology by domestic enterprises.
According to statistics, almost 99 percent of Chinese
enterprises have never filed patent applications.
The Chinese Patent Protection Association analyzed the patent
application situation of eight representative transnational
companies in China in the fields of pharmaceutical, automobile,
telecommunications and home appliances, including Pfizer,
Volkswagen, Nokia, Motorola, IBM, Thomson, Philips and Sony.
The results show patent applications filed by the companies have
increased 30 percent annually in China on average since the
From 1985 to 2003, the total patent applications filed by the
eight companies reached 20,350 and growth in the new technology
field was even more remarkable.
For example, Sony filed 11 patent applications in 1990 in China,
followed by 1,018 in 2001.
Under such circumstances, action in the Bohai Rim is needed to
promote intellectual property. Governments should encourage and
reward enterprises that file patent applications to support
research and development and to help establish their IP
They should also provide favorable tax policies to elite IP
agencies to encourage and support more professionalism. In
addition, IP-related seminars, symposiums and training activities
should be organized for enterprises to help popularize IP-related
This year is China's Intellectual Property Year, which is a
perfect chance for establishing concepts and a culture to encourage
and respect intellectual property in society. Efforts are being
made through promotions, education, training and other channels to
improve the level of implementation of IP systems.
Last year, the State Intellectual Property Office received
around 573,000 patent applications, an increase of 20.3 percent.
The number of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications reached
3,910, which ranked No 8 in the world.
At the same time Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Jiangsu,
Zhejiang, Shandong, Liaoning, Tianjin, Hubei and Sichuan became the
top areas with the most invention patents granted.
Shenzhen ranked No.2 in patent applications among all cities in
China, ranked No.1 in invention patent applications with an annual
increase of 75.3 percent and ranked No 1 in PCT applications.
In all three types of patent applications, last year's increase
was stable, especially for invention patents. The increase of
domestic invention patent applications is remarkably higher than
foreign invention patent applications. The rate of increase for
service patent applications is higher than non-service patent
applications. Enterprises have become the major applicants for the
three types of domestic service patent applications.
The author Samson Yu is a principal at Kangxin
Partners and a patent attorney, as well as a registered US patent
(China Daily December 25, 2007)