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

Macau Monthly:

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held another video conference on April 20 to discuss interim policies and remedies on intellectual property rights (IPR) for the international community during the outbreak of the pandemic. As the director of China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), Mr. Shen attended and spoke at the meeting. Could you give us a brief introduction about how China plans to handle problems related to the delay and extension of application time limits for the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)? Thank you.

Shen Changyu:

Thanks for this good question. As COVID-19 has spread across the world, it has brought challenges to the operation of the WIPO, intellectual property authorities across the world, and the WIPO's PCT and other global IPR service systems. On April 6 and April 20, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry called together the heads of intellectual property authorities in 16 countries and regions to discuss how to deal with the impact of the pandemic. On April 9, WIPO issued the Interpretative statement and Recommended Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Practice Changes in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The statement wrote that "the current global pandemic should be considered to be a 'natural calamity'" and it "will treat favorably any PCT Rule 82quater request made citing COVID-19 related issues and not require evidence to be provided that the virus affected the locality in which the interested party resides."

As you just mentioned, I attended the two conferences on behalf of the CNIPA, and I expressed China's support for the WIPO to play an active coordinating role during the pandemic so as to unite intellectual property authorities in the world to fight the crisis together and effectively protect the rights and interests of all applicants and rights holders.

Next, the CNIPA will follow the WIPO's interpretative statement and recommended practice changes to properly cope with problems related to the delay and extension of application time limits of the PCT. In the meantime, we will continue to support the WIPO to play an active role by strengthening information communication with intellectual property authorities in various countries and regions so as to jointly respond to the challenges COVID-19 poses to the international IPR system. Thank you.

China Daily:

We all know that the Outline of National Intellectual Property Strategy, which was released in 2008, will expire this year. Have the major goals set for 2020 been realized as scheduled? You just mentioned that you are working hard to formulate the Outline of National Intellectual Property Strategy for 2035. Is there any progress in this work? And what are your next steps? Thank you.

Shen Changyu:

Thanks for your questions. Since the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy was issued in 2008, especially after the 18th CPC National Congress, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, China's IPR work has achieved great results. The goal of "building China into a country with a comparatively high level in terms of the creation, utilization, protection and management of IPRs by 2020," which was set out in the 2008 Outline, has been basically achieved, as is shown in the following aspects:

First, the quantity of IPR creation has increased substantially, making China a major IPR country. From 2007 to 2019, the number of valid invention patents in the Chinese mainland increased from 84,000 to 1.862 million, and the number of valid registered trademarks increased from 2.353 million to 25.219 million. The number of IPR types concerning copyrights, new plant varieties, geographical indications and layout designs of integrated circuits has also increased notably. The number of core patents, famous brands, copyrights of high-quality IP contents and fine new plant varieties has continued to increase.

Second, remarkable results have been achieved in IPR application, effectively promoting economic and social development. As I just mentioned, in 2018, the added value of the patent intensive industry in China reached 10.7 trillion yuan (US$1.51 trillion), accounting for 11.6% of the national GDP. In 2019, China's box office sales reached 64.3 billion yuan (US$9.09 billion), nearly 20 times that of 2007. The total import and export volume of IPR royalties increased nearly fivefold from US$8.5 billion in 2007 to US$41 billion in 2019.

Third, the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) has been strengthened, and the business environment has been improved. We have established fully-fledged intellectual property laws that are consistent with international norms, and administrative and judicial protections has been improved. The overall score of social satisfaction with intellectual property protection in China reached 78.98 points.

Fourth, public awareness of intellectual property rights has been significantly improved. Public awareness of IPR strategy has seen a remarkably improved rate increase from 3.7% in 2008 to 86.3% in 2017. More and more people are getting used to innovative development, brand consumption, and paying for knowledge. Moreover, the public has realized that it is important to show respect to knowledge and innovation, practice honesty and abide by the law.

Fifth, we have expanded and deepened international cooperation on intellectual property rights, and our international influence in terms of IP protection has been improved significantly. Currently, China has been working with more than 80 countries, regions and international organizations around the globe to protect IPR. It has become an important participant in international rule-making and global governance of intellectual property rights. More and more Chinese enterprises have improved their intellectual property applications overseas. China's number of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) international patent applications topped the world list last year. As I've mentioned just now, the number of applications for international trademarks via the Madrid system ranked third in the world last year.

All these achievements have laid a solid foundation for us to build China into an intellectual property rights powerhouse. To ensure the continuity of the implementation of the Outline of National Intellectual Property Strategy issued in 2008, and following the deployment of the State Council, we are working hard to formulate another outline designed to help China grow into an IP powerhouse by 2035. This is of great significance to better promote the implementation of the two-step approach adopted at the 19th National Congress of the CPC to build China into a strong and modern socialist country by the middle of the century. The National Intellectual Property Administration has been engaging in this assignment since last year. The first draft of the outline has been finished after going through a series of research, study, expert consultation and international comparison and opinions have been preliminarily solicited within a certain scope. Next, we will improve and modify the draft, which is scheduled to be submitted for further review in the second half of this year. Thank you. 

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