SCIO briefing on development of China's intellectual property rights

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Shen Changyu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office

Yu Cike, spokesperson of the National Copyright Administration

Xi Yanchun, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

April 24, 2018


We know that IPR is a sensitive topic when it comes to foreign companies in China. Some foreign companies complain that China does not provide enough protection of IPR or that they are forced to do some related IPR transfer in order to do business in China. Do you think these complaints are reasonable? With the current trade dispute between China and the U.S., IPR is also one of the important topics of discussion. In your view, will China respond to these appeals by the U.S. through relevant negotiations between China and the U.S.? And will China make adjustments to its IPR policies ?

Shen Changyu

Thanks for the question, which is indeed a very important issue.

Over recent years, China has continued to strengthen its protection of intellectual property rights. Equal importance has been given to domestic and foreign enterprises. These efforts have won high praise from the international community. Last year, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law was amended, with sections on protecting business secrets further improved. Influential figures and sources in the U.S. intellectual property right industry have agreed that China's protection of intellectual property rights is now among the top-ranked of all middle-income countries. More and more foreign patent-holding entities chose to sue non-Chinese companies in China, because they believe they can receive equal treatment here. 

Additionally, China has continued to pay royalties in accordance with international trade rules. Last year, the royalties paid by Chinese entities to overseas entities reached US$28.6 billion, more than US$20 billion higher than the received. In particular, the royalties paid to U.S. entities increased 14 percent year-over-year. This shows that China has remained a strong defender, important participant and active builder of international trade rules. In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in the intellectual property rights industry, especially in the protection of IPR.

I want to stress an issue here. In the future, China will further strengthen its efforts to protect intellectual property rights. This is not only because of our need to fulfill international responsibilities, but also because of our need to promote self-development. President Xi Jinping has pointed out that China needs to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, as it is a requirement of both foreign enterprises and Chinese companies. As a next step, we will follow President Xi's instruction and the government work report to further improve the protection of intellectual property rights, foster a better environment for business and innovation, attract more foreign enterprises to invest in China, and open wider to the outside world.

The Sino-U.S. trade issue you just mentioned concerns intellectual property rights. To be frank, from our perspective, the so-called Section 301 investigation against China failed to see or ignored China's efforts in this field. Many influential figures in the U.S. intellectual property right industry have agreed that China has made remarkable achievements in this regard. I think our efforts have been recognized internationally. Thank you.  

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