A Beijing-based scholar who invented a type of computer software to input the Chinese languagehad to sneak in and out of local alleys to paint advertisements on street walls four years ago, due to the absence of an effective mechanism to aid and encourage individual inventors in China at that time.
However, a recent exhibition now being held in the China International Exhibition Center, China's largest exhibition hall, has assembled nearly 100 individual inventors from across the nation to show off their inventions.
Zhang Shihong's low-priced water tank that can recycle water has attracted many viewers to the exhibition.
The 43-year old Zhang said that he cherished the opportunity to promote his invention, and is very pleased to get contact with interested enterprises.
Zhang's stand is close to that of Liu Gang, an expert inventor of exercise facilities to help handicapped individuals. Liu, who is handicapped himself, has set up a company to promote his inventions.
"It used to be a dream for Chinese individual inventors to showoff their work at specially-organized exhibitions only a few years ago. Now the dream has come true," Liu said, excitedly.
The increasingly-friendly environment for Chinese individual inventors is attributable to the realization of China's commitment to better protect intellectual property rights upon its accession to the World Trade Organization.
Statistics show that China's individual patent applicants totaled 105,669 in 2001, amounting for 63 percent of the annual total of applications, and representing an increase of 21.5 percent compared with the previous year's figure.
A local official said that the Chinese government has taken various steps to encourage individual inventions by creating opportunities to facilitate exchanges among inventors.
Kamil Idris, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, said during his recent tour of China that China has made great efforts to formulate laws and regulations to protect intellectual property rights, enhance public awareness of such rights and improve infrastructure in related fields.
(People's Daily May 29, 2002)