An intellectual property rights (IPR) development program has been included in China's national planning.
The 11th Five-Year Plan includes an IPR proposal which highlights its role in promoting social and economic growth.
The draft of the IPR development program for 2006-10 has been submitted to the State Council for approval and will be made public soon, said the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).
Their spokesman, Yin Xintian, said the program places emphasis on the quality of China's intellectual properties rather than their number. The number of Chinese patents and trademarks leads the world.
Statistics from SIPO show the number of patent applications filed with the office including invention, utility, model and design, was 573,000 in 2006. This is a 20 percent jump year-on-year. The number of Patent Cooperation Treaty applications, these are international, soared by 57 percent over 2005 to 3,826 in 2006. .
Patents to top 3 Million
It's expected that the number of Chinese patent applications will maintain an annual growth rate of 10 to 20 percent over the next four years, Yin told reports at a press conference yesterday in Beijing.
Yin said that by the end of 2006 the accumulated number of patent applications topped 3.33 million. Of these 1.1 million were inventions.
"It took nearly 15 years for China to reach its first one million patent applications following the introduction of the Patent Law in the mid-1980s," Yin said. "It then took about four years to reach the next million but it only took two more years to reach the three million mark."
However, Yin pointed out that although the growth of patents was much faster than in the rest of world their quality lagged far behind the leading IPR countries.
Yin said the national IPR strategy, which has been discussed by more than 20 ministries for nearly two years, will be agreed by June this year.
China's Vice-Premier, Wu Yi, heads the team overseeing the strategy, assisted by senior officials from SIPO, the Ministry of Commerce, the National Copyright Administration and the Administration for Industry and Commerce.
Yin said research into 20 projects in the strategy was complete and the reports would be sent to a panel of experts for consideration next month. The strategy outline of the strategy was expected to be finalized by February.
Plans to help domestic businesses be more IPR-savvy are included in the document, Yin said. The drive to encourage domestic companies to develop IPR portfolios of their own comes as more businesses find themselves at the wrong end of IPR lawsuits.
"The friction over IPR between domestic and overseas enterprises is on the rise at present," said Yin. "But the pressure can help Chinese business people have a better understanding of IPR and make IPR an integral part of their business strategy."
(China Daily January 31, 2007)