Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, speaks to reporters in Beijing October 18, 2007. [newsphoto]
After two years of preparations, the authorities will soon implement the national strategy on intellectual property rights (IPR), Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), said Thursday.
He described the move as crucial for sustaining China's development.
The country's need for an IPR system was more in response to the needs of sustainable development than to pressure from other countries, he said.
"If we cannot effectively protect IPR, the biggest victim will be the Chinese themselves," Tian said in a group interview with Chinese and overseas media on the sidelines of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
For example, when the State Administration for Industry and Commerce launched a campaign against pirated DVDs and CDs in Shandong Province this year, they found that 90 percent of the counterfeit goods were Chinese movies and CDs, Tian, who is a delegate to the Party congress, said.
"IPR infringement is a problem, but it is not as serious as some other countries say," he said. "To a certain degree, the issue has been hyped-up, politicized."
He said many companies from developed countries have earned big profits in China as a result of IPR in the form of patents and trademarks.
The number of patents registered by Japan, the United States and Republic of Korea - the top three in terms of the number of patent applications - increases by 10-30 percent a year.
"This shows that foreign companies have confidence in China's ability to protect IPR," the IPR chief said.
It takes international cooperation to protect IPR, Tian said, calling for dialogue rather than confrontation, and cooperation rather than censure.
Turning to conflicts between China and the US on IPR issues, Tian said no issue would go unresolved if all sides respected the law.
"The US has taken China to the WTO over IPR. I think the facts will prove our point of view," he said.
China still needs time to improve people's awareness of protecting IPR, Tian said.
The Chinese expression for IPR protection has only been in dictionaries since 2000.
"It took Britain 300 years, the US 200 years and Japan 100 years (to establish effective IPR systems)," Tian said, adding that China still has a long way to go.
Tian also said the authorities had introduced a series of regulations to prevent Olympic copyright infringement.
"We're confident of creating a sound environment in the IPR sector for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games," he said.