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IPR protection in China enhanced to create a sound business environment



 "China will continue to advance scientific and technological innovation. By investing more in science and technology, China is committed to strengthening IPR protection," Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored the importance of strengthening IPR protection during the World Economic Forum (WEF) of the Davos Agenda on January 25, 2021 just as he did four years ago at the 2017 Winter Davos Forum, aiming to work with other countries to cultivate an open, fair, equitable and non-discriminatory environment for scientific and technological advancement.


"China will take an active role in fostering a relaxing and orderly investment environment, easing market access for foreign investors, building high-standard pilot free-trade zones, strengthening the protection of property rights and promoting fair competition to make the Chinese market more transparent and regulated, " Xi emphasized when making a keynote speech at the opening plenary of the WEF's annual meeting held on January 17, 2017.


Top-level design is the key to strengthening IPR protection. In recent years, the Central Committee of Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council have attached great importance to IPR protection. In particular, Xi delivered an important speech on November 30, 2020 when presiding over the 25th group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, providing the fundamental compliance and action guidelines for comprehensively strengthening IPR protection in the new era. In the past few years, China has successively completed the amendments of laws including the Trademark Law, the Patent Law, the Copyright Law, and the Anti-Monopoly Law. The Civil Code also provides a punitive damage system for IP infringement. In addition, the "Opinions on Strengthening IPR Protection" issued by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council in November 2019, targeting at providing goals for all regions and departments to carry out IPR protection work. In this connection, China has achieved rich fruits on IP system construction, which provides a strong institutional basis for enhancing IPR protection.


As of date, IPR protection has become an accelerator to improve technological innovation and optimize the business environment. According to the "Global Innovation Index" report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), China ranked the 14th, leading the middle-income economies. In the "Doing Business 2020" report released by the World Bank, China ranked the 31st. In the "2019 China Business Climate Survey Report" released by the U.S.-China Business Council, 58% of American companies believe that China's IPR protection has made progress.


How should China make efforts to strengthen IPR protection in the future?


"First, China should continue to improve the IP legal system. When strengthening the IP judicial protection and administrative enforcement,China should further explore diversified IP dispute settlement mechanisms. Second, China should have a deep understanding of the interest conflicts between the right holders and the public while enhancing IPR protection, and resolve the conflicts in a proper way by promoting IPR systems and supporting legal systems, so as to strengthen strict IPR protection and guarantee both public interests and innovative encouragement. Last but not least, China should seize the opportunity of the new-round of technological revolution and play an active role in contributing Chinese wisdom to formulate and improve IPR international rules and standards," advised Shan Xiaoguang, president of Shanghai International Intellectual Property College in Tongji University.