China plans patent reforms27th June 2008
China has said it will take action to boost the number of Chinese citizens who hold patents, and to protect indigenous knowledge and genetic resources.
China is one of the top three issuers of patents globally, but not enough patent holders are Chinese, the government says.
In a national intellectual property (IPR) strategy outlined in early June, the country's cabinet, the State Council, said it aimed to turn China into a nation with an intellectual property resource that would be considered at the leading edge of the international scientific community.
Most of the patents registered for inventions in China are owned by foreign companies operating there, as they are obliged to re-register patents in Beijing so as to ensure protection in Chinese courts.
The intellectual property regulator says 53% of China's 67,948 patents were filed by foreign individuals or companies.
Large-scale revision of existing legislation on patents, trademarks and copyright are in the works as part of the strategy.
The head of China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), Tian Lipu, said a new patent law would be submitted to the country's legislature, the National People's Congress, by the end of the year.
The revised legislation will broaden the focus of patent law in China away from a concern with protection and towards methods of use and the sharing of benefits from patents, as well as how to avoid abuse of the system.
The strategy was expected to focus minds on coordinating the plethora of existing laws, guidelines and regulations, as well as on revising, refining and updating them when necessary, according to SIPO spokesman Sun Pingping.
Beihang University intellectual property law specialist Sun Guorui said the main significance of the strategy could be that it will boost the perceived value of patents in the scientific community. The number of patents filed are now more likely to be taken into account when evaluating scientists' work for awards or promotion.
Currently, the scientific community tends to focus on high-impact publications.
But Sun Guorui called for more concrete action to be implemented by the various government departments concerned.
In particular, the health ministry still needed to finalise measures aimed at protecting patents in the area of traditional Chinese medicine, he said.
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Title: China plans patent reforms
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 7333
Date Added: 27th Jun 2008