SCIO briefing on development of China's intellectual property rights in 2019

The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on Thursday to brief the media on the development of China's intellectual property rights in 2019. April 24, 2020

Xi Yanchun:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning. Welcome to this press conference. This week marks China's 2020 National Intellectual Property Publicity Week. Today, we are delighted to invite Mr. Shen Changyu, director of the National Intellectual Property Administration (NIPA) to brief you on the development of China's intellectual property rights (IPR) in 2019. He will also answer some of your questions.

Also present at the press conference today are Mr. He Zhimin, vice director of the NIPA, and Mr. Yu Cike, director of the Copyright Administration under the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

Now, Mr. Shen will give us a brief introduction.

Shen Changyu:

Thank you, Ms. Xi. Friends from the media, good morning. Let me begin by thanking all of you for your concern and support of IPR-related work over the years. I would now like to brief you on China's IPR development in 2019.

IPR played a more prominent role in China's system for governance in 2019. General Secretary Xi Jinping gave a series of important new instructions on IPR-related work on several occasions, including at the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the 2nd China International Import Expo. He presided over the ninth meeting of the CPC Central Committee for deepening overall reform, which reviewed and approved "The Guideline on Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights Protection." The document was jointly issued by the General Offices of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.

The fourth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee made important new plans for appropriately strengthening the power of the CPC Central Committee in IPR protection, setting up a punitive damage compensation system for IP infringement and enhancing the protection of enterprise trade secrets. 

Premier Li Keqiang presided over a State Council executive meeting, making arrangements to improve IPR protection, promote intellectual property pledge financing and boost innovation and development of the real economy.

IPR is playing a more important role in modernizing China's system and capacity for governance. Fresh progress has been made in IPR-related work on various fronts.

First, efforts have been stepped up to transform China into a country that is strong on IPR. In accordance with the plans made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, we comprehensively started formulating an outline for building China into a country that is strong on IPR for the 2021 to 2035 period, and we have finished the first draft. We developed and implemented last year's plan on advancing national IPR strategy, and we acted on the plan for IPR protection and utilization in the 13th Five-year Plan Period (2016-2020). 

We continue to improve the quality and efficiency of patent and trademark examination. The period for examination of high-value patents has been reduced to 17.3 months, and the average time for trademark registration is 4.5 months. These numbers exceed the annual target set by the State Council. The cuts and exemptions in fees related to patents and trademarks amounted to 7.93 billion yuan. 

We accelerated the building of provinces, cities and enterprises that are strong on IPR. We selected another 18 demonstration cities, 88 pilot demonstration counties, 35 pilot demonstration parks and 2,239 demonstration enterprises. We have made steady progress in national copyright demonstration work and selected another two demonstration cities, eight demonstration parks (bases) and 69 demonstration work units.

Second, laws and regulations for IPR protection have been improved. An amendment to the Trademark Law was completed that increased the amount of statutory compensation for malicious infringements from less than three times the damage to less than five times. The compensation upper limit was raised from 3 million yuan to 5 million yuan. Revisions to the Law Against Unfair Competition was also completed, further strengthening the protection of trade secrets. 

Continued efforts were made to promote amendments to patent law and guidelines were provided for implementation of the Copyright Law as well as the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. The Regulation on the Management of Human Genetic Resources was also published. Multiple regulations and rules were formulated or revised regarding patent commissioning, patent agent examination, trademark application and registration and management of China offices of authentication institutions for foreign copyrights. The Guidelines on Anti-Monopoly Law Enforcement in the Field of Intellectual Property Rights was introduced, and research on the fundamental legal system for IPR protection was deepened.

Third, the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) has been comprehensively strengthened. The General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council issued "Opinions on Strengthening the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights" and have put forth a series of notable policies and measures. The 2020-2021 Implementation Plan has been issued recently. The number of IPR protection centers and IPR rapid response centers has reached 46. We have launched targeted campaigns, such as "Iron Fist," "Sword Net," "Net Sword" and "Dragon Fly." A total of 32,000 trademark infringement cases and 7,000 cases of trademark counterfeiting were handled worth a total of 510 million yuan. 39,000 administrative cases for patent infringement disputes were handled. 10,000 cases of unfair competition were handled, with a value of 3.16 billion yuan. Public security authorities in China registered 24,000 criminal cases of IPR infringement as well as production and sale of counterfeit goods, with 16,000 cases solved and 29,000 criminal suspects arrested, involving 8.67 billion yuan. China's customs seized 51,000 batches of infringing goods. The people's courts in China registered 480,000 new IPR cases and closed 475,000 cases. The people's procuratorates in China approved the arrest of 7,430 people in 4,346 criminal cases of IPR infringement and charged 11,000 people involved in 5,433 cases. The level of social satisfaction with IPR protection in China increased to 78.98 points.

Fourth, the quality of intellectual property rights has improved steadily. There were 1.862 million invention patents from the Chinese mainland, 13.3 patents for every 10,000 people, achieving the goal set in the nation's 13th Five-Year Plan ahead of schedule. China's total number of effective registered trademarks reached 25.219 million, with every 4.9 market entities owning one registered trademark. A total of 2,385 products of geographical indication were approved, 5,324 geographical indication trademarks registered, and 8,484 enterprises with special marks of geographical indication products approved. Additionally, 8,319 layout designs of integrated circuit were registered. 2,288 new species of agricultural plants and 439 new species of forest plants were approved. Copyrights for 2.702 million pieces of works and 1.484 million pieces of computer software were registered. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, China ranked 14th in the 2019 Global Innovation Index, moving up three spots from 2018 and ranking first among middle-income economies. In 2019, China filed 59,000 international patent applications via the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), becoming the world's top patent filer. In 2019, China also filed 6,339 international trademark registration applications via the Madrid System, ranking third globally. 

Fifth, the effectiveness of IPR application has improved remarkably. A set of statistical categories for IPR (patent)-intensive industries has been released. According to the statistics, the added value of China's patent-intensive industries topped 10.7 trillion yuan in 2018, accounting for 11.6% of the country's GDP, becoming a key pillar of high-quality economic development. The added value of China's copyright industry reached 6.6 trillion yuan in 2018, accounting for 7.37% of the country's GDP. In 2019, with the implementation of the trademark and brand strategy, the shift from "Made in China" to "Brand in China" was accelerated and the application of geographical indications boosted targeted poverty alleviation and rural vitalization. The patent and trademark pledge financing reached 151.5 billion yuan, an increase of 23.8% from 2018. Copyrights worth 7.3 billion yuan were used as collaterals for financing, which helped nearly 10,000 enterprises solve financing problems. Technical contracts concerning IPR with a total value of 928.69 billion yuan were signed, up 137.7% year on year. The total trade of China's intellectual property royalties in 2019 reached $41 billion. The export volume of intellectual property royalties, in particular, stood at $6.6billion, up 18.8% year on year. 

Sixth, international cooperation on IPR protection has been strengthened. A number of IPR cooperation documents have been signed, such as the joint statement on the conclusion of the negotiations of an agreement between China and the European Union on cooperation on, and protection of, geographical indications and the agreement between China and France on cooperation on geographical indications. We have made solid progress in IPR cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, with eight cooperation programs yielding outstanding results. We have strengthened cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization and actively participated in the global governance of IPR. We have made preparations for China's entry into the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs. The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances will enter into force on April 28, 2020, as 31 eligible parties have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession. The Treaty is the first international agreement on IPR named after a Chinese city.

These are China's IPR developments in 2019. We would like to answer your questions. Thanks.

Xi Yanchun:

Thank you for Mr. Shen's introduction. Now it is time for questions. Please indicate the media organization you work for before raising a question.

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