China's first design patent database for tire tread that supports image searches will be released at an international arbitration forum in Qingdao, Shandong province on Friday.
Industry insiders said the specialized database, which was jointly developed by the Intellectual Property Publishing House and Qingdao Rubber Valle Intellectual Property Co Ltd, will reduce the frequency of patent infringement cases and enhance Chinese tire manufacturers' ability to self-protect, reported People's Daily.
China's tire industry has developed quickly but has seen increasingly serious infringements in tread design patents, said Li Cheng, deputy head of the Intellectual Property Publishing House Co, which is affiliated with the State Intellectual Property Office.
He said China had more than 10,000 patent infringement lawsuits since 2006 that involved combined compensation of nearly 1.3 billion yuan ($212.2 million). Among them, renowned foreign tire manufacturers suing Chinese counterparts and claiming patent infringements were commonplace.
The existing database only supports searching abstracts and key words from tire tread patent documents. This makes searching for specific patents like looking for a needle in a haystack, which wastes manpower and lowers work efficiency, Li said.
The new database is expected to help Chinese companies better deal with overseas lawsuits and have improved access to patent information.
The database includes 80,000 tire tread design patents and 520,000 related pictures from China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and the European Union, and will be updated regularly, Feng Hongyu, general manager of the Qingdao rubber company, told huanqiu.com, the official website of the Global Times.
He said companies could upload pictures to the system and the search results would be arranged in descending order of similarity. Firms can also use a patent application number to access related pictures and extract the main features of the pictures.
Cui Guozhen, a senior manager of the IP publishing house, told People's Daily the database would "help reduce the technological development gap, extend the space and shorten the life cycle of technologies".
The international arbitration forum themed "promoting arbitration innovation through IP protection" aims to reinforce communication between Chinese and foreign experts and improve the arbitration system by further understanding the rules.
The event was expected to attract nearly 300 arbitration and law experts, IP professionals, renowned scholars and experts in the rubber industry from China, the US and Southeast Asian countries and regions.
Tao Jingzhou, who was honored by Chambers and Partners as the best arbitration lawyer in Asia in 2009, will give a keynote speech at the forum.
The forum is part of this year's China International Rubber Industry Expo held from Oct 15 to 18.
The important industry event is themed around smart rubber this year, which refers to solutions, marketing, achievements, revolutions and trends.
Amid rapid growth, China's tire industry saw rising infringements in tread design patents.[Photo by Yan Daming/chinadaily.com.cn]