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Rising awareness on IPR protection
By Jiang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-06-16 10:24

"China did not have a proper legal system for patent protection until the National People's Congress introduced the Patent Law of the People's Republic of China in the early 1980s," Deshpande says.

The total number of patent applications filed in China from the beginning of 1985 to December 2007 exceeded 4 million. Although the first million applications took 15 years to be filed, the second million took 4 years and 2 months, the third million 2 years and 3 months, and the fourth million only took one year and six months.

"The Chinese government has established a world class patent protection system in much less time than other countries," Deshpande says.

He says the administrative and judicial tracks have been functioning efficiently; more than half a million patent applications are being processed by the SIPO every year and the number is growing; the patent database is also available online with the option of advanced searches.

However the government still faces long term challenges, Deshpande says.

He says the first challenge is "getting rid of the perception that China is a haven for IPR thieves and counterfeiters - the Chinese government has already started various initiatives to eradicate IPR infringement. However, the job is not done yet and all the government initiatives need to be supported so that China's success story does not carry the blot of a few thieves and counterfeiters."

The challenges also include controlling the 10-year patents and developing healthy business competition that avoids cut-throat IPR practices.

The improved IPR protection also pushes foreign players to adjust their strategies as Chinese nationals have filed the majority of the patent applications, according to SIPO statistics.

Foreign businesses haven't taken a kind view of the Chinese patent protection system so far, Deshpande adds.

According to him, many European and US companies do not know there is a well functioning patent protection system already in place in China.

"This has been largely due to lack of knowledge," he explains. "This ignorance and the resulting misconceptions arise probably because of the language barrier."

Some foreign businesses have started taking a positive view of the Chinese patent protection system. Gradually, foreign businesses have realized that if they want to tap the Chinese markets they need to have patents in China. Evalueserve' s report also said it is important for the foreign companies to take help from Chinese patent professionals before entering the market.

Rising awareness on IPR protection


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