National guidelines improve rights performance in Zhejiang province
By Song Mengxing(China Daily )

Implementing national guidelines for enterprise intellectual property management made companies in Zhejiang pay more attention to IP, better protect it and create more, according to IP authorities in the province.

The State Intellectual Property Office organized several news conferences in Zhejiang to promote a document issued on June 30 by eight national agencies, including the national IP authority and the Ministry of Commerce, which aims to better implement the national guidelines.

The national IP office chose the province in East China as one of six pilot regions to carry out the national guidelines for IP management in 2012. Since then, local IP authorities in Zhejiang have been guiding companies to set up IP management systems according to the guidelines.

Chen Longgen, an official at the Zhejiang IP office, said that the guidance from local IP authorities had resulted in some positive achievements.

"When companies implemented the national guidelines, they brought the concept of IP into each segment and department," Chen said, adding that in the past normally only IP departments valued IP.

Zhu Lian, deputy director at the IP department of Supcon Group Co, said they held training to help staff put the national guidelines in place.

Zhu said after they publicized the implementation of the guidelines, each department at Supcon, a provider of automation and informationization products and solutions, began to participate.

Ding Yonggang, deputy director at the Hangzhou IP bureau, said by implementing the national guidelines, companies in the city had a stronger sense of safeguarding IP rights.

He said the number of patent infringement disputes his bureau handled had surged since the provincial capital of Zhejiang began to encourage local companies to implement the national guidelines in 2012.

The Hangzhou IP bureau handled 65 patent infringement disputes in 2012, 103 in 2013 and 778 last year, Ding said.

Ye Shan, IP director at Hangzhou Huadong Medicine Group Co, said after following the national guidelines in 2012, her company has investigated more potential IP risks involved in research and development, purchases, sales and recruitment.

The medicine company has not been involved in any patent infringement cases since 2012, according to Ye.

Shen Bing, IP manager at Sunwave Communications Co, said they were unclear about what they should protect and prevent before implementing the national guidelines.

The company suffered losses while it developed a telecommunications solution targeting foreign markets, according to Shen.

He said the company put plenty of manpower and material resources into the project and almost completed research and development at the end of 2013.

As the national guidelines the company was using at that time required, Shen and his colleagues carried out patent research and analysis. They found a foreign company had just received authorization of a patent similar to their technology.

Shen said the company's research and development team spent nearly a year improving technology to prevent patent infringement, which increased costs and delayed the product's launch date.

Sunwave now does patent research and analysis earlier and tracks patent changes while developing products, according to Shen.

Chen said overall patent creativity of companies in Zhejiang has improved after local IP authorities encouraged them to follow the national guidelines.

According to Ding, 21,948 patents of companies in Hangzhou were authorized in 2014, accounting for 65.42 percent of all authorized patents in the city in the same year.

The proportion increased five percentage points when compared with 2013.

Officials at the Zhejiang IP office said it is necessary for government agencies to provide companies with policy guidance and other support in their early statge of implementing the national guidelines.

The office said it issued several documents to promote implementation of the national guidelines, distributed more than 5,000 publicity brochures and trained more than 4,000 people in the past three years.

More than 1,000 companies in Zhejiang have implemented the guidelines since 2012. By the end of July, 91 of them had received third-party accreditation.

(China Daily 09/16/2015 page17)

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