Local enforcement officials check for IP infringement among products on the shelves at a local supermarket. Provided to China Daily
China will establish a better environment to protect intellectual property rights as it continues to battle infringements, a senior official from State Intellectual Property Office said at a recent meeting.
"The Chinese government will continue attracting foreign investment and technology, and through enhanced communication with foreign-invested companies, hopes to improve services in IPR protection and create a fairer investment environment," Wu Kai, deputy director of SIPO's International Cooperation Department, said at the meeting.
"How to effectively protect IPR and fight infringement are challenges facing all countries in the world," he said.
"The Chinese government has attached great importance to this issue in recent years and made great achievements in legislation, enforcement, management and training."
More than 40 representatives from foreign embassies, institutions and foreign-invested companies were briefed on the latest developments in China's IPR protection at the SIPO meeting in Beijing on April 26 to mark World Intellectual Property Day.
Roberto Cecutti, first secretary of the of European Union delegation to China, said he is interested in how patent quality and examination can be improved.
Ge Shu, director of SIPO's Patent Examination Department, replied that the office "has built a relatively complete quality management system for patent examinations after long effort".
"It is a priority to improve the quality in processing applications through enhanced multi-departmental coordination and responding to feedback from outside (the government)," he said.
Ge added that SIPO has set up a special department tasked with assuring quality and has supervised local authorities on effective measures while taking random samples for re-examination.
"Our website has a channel to receive complaints and ideas from society that receives about 100 complaints every month," he added.
Local IPR administrations across the country dealt with nearly 1,300 patent disputes and 1,704 investigations into counterfeits last year.
SIPO statistics show that patent applications have increased every year since implementation of the Patent Law in 1985. In 2011, the number of applications surpassed 1.63 million, an increase of 33.6 percent over 2010.
Filings for invention patents grew from 63,000 in 2001 to 526,000 in 2011, an annual average increase of 23.6 percent.
SIPO has received filings from 153 countries and regions, with the top five - Japan, the United States, Germany, South Korea and France - contributing 82.5 percent of total foreign applications in China last year.
Since its inception SIPO has granted about 894,000 invention patents, 49.8 percent of them to foreign applicants.
More than 960,000 patents of all types - including design, utility model and invention - were granted in 2011, an increase of 18 percent compared with the previous year.
Ge added that SIPO is committed to providing efficient examination services to applicants by taking diverse measures to enhance examination capabilities and shorten processing times.
By 2011, the time needed for full examination of an invention patent application averaged 22.9 months, with the first response from the patent office taking an average of 11.4 months, much quicker response times than before.
"In addition, we will further improve IPR laws and regulations, improve law enforcement efficiency and do more publicity to raise people's consciousness on IPR," Deputy Director Wu said.
(China Daily 05/16/2012 page17)