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Property Rights Linked to Innovation

Property Rights Linked to Innovation

In the recent China Daily article by Wang Jingqiong titled “Property Rights Linked to Innovation”, the need for protection of intellectual property rights have been duly emphasized in order to facilitate the development of a robust economy. The author details some of the concrete steps that have been undertaken for protecting IPRs in this country. However, why is the government finding it difficult to challenge infringements with dexterity?

China certainly needs to put in more efforts to protect its intellectual property rights. Or else, the Chinese economy would continue to remain solely dependent on labor centric industries. Furthermore, its capabilities of innovation may also dry up, according to the assessments put forth by a senior judge. The Supreme People’s Court vice president, Xi Xiaoming has instructed the courts to continue their relentless efforts in coming down heavily on IPR violators and those selling counterfeit items and goods. According Xi, post 30 years of rapid developments, China should witness a larger role for technological innovation, in the overall progression of its economy. However, continual infringements into IPRs have been major spoilers for this goal achievement process.

The governor of the Jiangsu province, Li Xueyong, also spoke in the affirmative. He supported Xi’s remarks by reiterating that the developmental course of Jiangsu should be altered by encouraging technological innovation and research. Li further elaborated that only around 3% of the total number of companies functioning in the Jiangsu province have filed for patents. That’s only a handful of around 10,000 companies in total. Furthermore, less than 20% companies actually manufacture products that are representative of their own brand identity.

By April 15, the legal authorities were successful in detecting and prosecuting 59,500 cases of counterfeit and infringement in the given year. Among these, 9,600 cases were concerning foreign trademarks, according to facts furnished by Fu Shuangjian, the Vice Minister of the Commerce and Industry. The Vice Minister stated this at a Forum concerning growth of trademarks and enterprises that was organized in Beijing recently. However, according to the president of the Intellectual Property Tribunal of the Supreme Court’s Tribunal Kong Xiangjun, protecting IPRs are costing more to the Chinese government than their violations. There are several complex causes responsible for the same.

To begin, there is no well established culture of protecting IPRs in China. Most companies or even individuals whose rights have been violated are not aware of how to protect them. In addition to this, the local economy has become reliant on counterfeit production, in certain places. Naturally, the locals exhibit major interest in protecting the interests of industries that thrive on such counterfeit products. As a result, the legal authorities find it more challenging to close down such operations. Besides, the highly advanced techniques of violation that have been primarily mobilized through the internet have posed further challenges for the legal machinery.

As the Deputy General Manager of the Jiangsu based Changzhou Software Park Development Co Ltd rightly pointed out, the pace at which original products are illegally copied often takes the manufacturer by surprise. The sheer pace at which infringements take place makes it difficult to track them down as well. Liu also added that the volume of infringements happening in this country is also a major problem. It isn’t practical to sue each one of them. Even if a few cases are won, the cumulative value of the compensation claims would hardly be worth fighting for.

Note: Above is a summary of an article found though our research. It has been provided here with editorial comment for members only. Please see the full article at the following link for the original content: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn

The New Asia Innovation Team

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