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Nation Plans IPR Protection Strategy

China will stipulate a national strategy on intellectual property rights (IPR) to help its IPR system better serve economic development, China Daily has learned from the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).

This national strategy does not simply mean improved protection on intellectual property rights. It includes technological innovations and IPR management and applications of patented technologies, said SIPO Commissioner Wang Jingchuan.

Wang called on better developed regions in the east to further intertwine IPR system into their economic sectors. He said relatively less developed western areas should regard IPR protection as critical as they march towards technological innovation.

In addition, higher-level officials are planning to set up a national leadership group for IPR protection, and a plan is now under discussion of the State Council, insiders said.

"IPR protection is very important to the establishment of a credit system, and the central government has stepped up efforts to rectify and standardize the market and economic order," said SIPO Deputy-Commissioner Zhang Qin.

Moreover, the era of the knowledge-based economy has posed a higher need for IPR protection. More than 80 per cent of IPR violations occur in China's better developed coastal provinces. Officials say those areas should work harder for better IPR protection because investors and companies pay more attention to those areas, he said.

In Zhang's opinion, the national IPR strategy will include an educational program: to deepen IPR knowledge among officials of ministerial and provincial levels; among specialized people such as patent agents, lawyers, judges, brokers and staff from intermediary agencies; to open IPR courses among postgraduates for natural sciences and to provide lectures or TV programs among primary and middle schools.

Zhang said SIPO is concentrating on patent technology study for two national significant projects in the milk industry and water-saving agriculture.

He said his office will contribute more to IPR-driven technological innovations across the country.

Under the national IPR strategy, governments should also give additional preferential policies on taxation, land use and hiring talented employees at high-tech firms which have self-developed IPR technology and products, Zhang suggested.

Under the strategy, companies and research institutions will be required to enhance IPR management - clarifying such issues as investment, owning rights of IPR, rewards for IPR benefits or punishment for IPR violations, Zhang said.

Zhang said SIPO and regional IPR administrations will further improve patent information services to help avoid overlapped research projects among companies and research institutions.

Although the national IPR strategy is still being drafted, some provinces have already started to work out their own IPR development plans according to local conditions.

Shanghai, for example, is planning to propel IPR system through concerted efforts of all governmental departments, and help weave IPR management into companies and research institutions, said Chen Zhixing, director of the Shanghai IPR Administration.

(China Daily June 3, 2004)

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