Adjusted IP Law to Level Playing Field
A draft amendment to China's patent law aims to strengthen the crackdown on intellectual property infringement by substantially raising compensation for victims, and fines for violators, which experts said will help build a fairer business environment and encourage innovation.
The draft was approved at a State Council executive meeting on Dec 5, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, and will be submitted to the top legislature - the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress - to become law.
The move will protect the legal rights of patent holders and improve the mechanism for encouraging innovation, according to a statement released after the meeting. It targets violators by increasing fines and compensation, and clarifies the responsibilities for online service providers. In the meantime, inventors and designers will receive a reasonable share of profits brought by patents they invented as employees.
On Dec 5, the administration and another 37 departments released a document to punish IP violations, including patents. Stocks related to IP protection in the A-share market went up by 3.52 percent to record highs since August.
Over the past 10 years, China has leapt forward in IP activity. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, China ranked first in the number of applications for patents, trademarks and industrial designs this year. In the first half of this year, the country had 751,000 patent applications, and 217,000 of them had been approved, up by 6.5 percent compared with the same period last year.
A report by Essence Securities said that detailed policies were carried out this year in IP protection, including articles in the white paper titled "China and the World Trade Organization" released in June by the State Council Information Office. China will deepen its institutional reform and make stronger efforts to fortify IP protection, the report said.
Since joining the WTO in 2001, China has amended the laws related to IP, including those on patents in 2008, trademarks in 2013 and obstructing fair competition in 2017, to boost protection of such rights.
Innovation has become an enduring engine for a country's social and economic development, and IP protection has to be fulfilled and guaranteed by legal support and penalties, says Zhang Naigen, director of the Center for Intellectual Property Study at Fudan University in Shanghai.