The government is expected to widen its focus on intellectual property rights (IPR) from protection-only to creation, utilization and protection of innovation, with the release of its long-awaited strategy.
"Although China started late in terms of intellectual property protection, we have been very determined and consistent in this regard," said Chen Zhili, a State councilor.
Chen revealed at an international forum on IPR and innovation yesterday in Beijing that China might publicize its national IPR strategy in the middle of the year.
The government has vowed to build an innovation-driven country. Last year, it announced national guidelines for scientific and technological innovation for the next five to 10 years.
The national strategy on IPR, which aims to safeguard the transition to an innovative nation, has been in the pipeline since January 2005 and has involved 28 agencies within the central government.
Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), said yesterday on the sidelines of the forum that a fundamental guideline of the strategy was that China's IPR work should expand from protection-only to innovation creation, use and protection.
"The property law, which was passed this month, got a lot of attention from the public. The intellectual property rights strategy deserves at least the same attention," Tian said.
He declined to reveal the details of the strategy, but said one of its primary goals was to foster the creation of intellectual property rights.
A week ago, the SIPO selected 70 leading companies and research institutions with good records and potential in IPR creation as pilots.
These will receive strong support in from the national IPR strategy, through such things as patent and trademark applications and personnel training.
Niu Wenyuan, chief scientist on sustainable development with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: "IPR is the No 1 strategic reserve in the 21st century and its significance is not inferior to any other strategic reserve, be it food or energy."
He also suggested that the country should have a national procurement system to buy those innovations, which are critical to the nation, but do not have any immediate commercial returns, as well as build an efficient IPR transfer network.
Fang Xingdong, a technology analyst and author of the bestseller book Challenging the Monopoly of Microsoft, said protection of IPR is important for China, but the protection should be reasonable.
(China Daily March 28, 2007)