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China strengthens intellectual property protection

December 2, 2021
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Chinese officials lay out plans for improving intellectual property rights over the next 15 years.

Intellectual property rights have been a significant concern for foreign enterprises in China. In recent years, China has been trying to create a more welcoming business climate, and now plans to take steps to improve the protection of patents, copyrights and trademarks by implementing a series of controls and by working with international organizations.

In September 2021, the China Central Committee and the State Council jointly released a document with a road map for intellectual property rights over the next 15 years. China aims to rank among the best in the globe by 2035 for intellectual property development, management and protection.

According to China’s National Intellectual Property Administration, the effort will focus on three areas:

  • China will strengthen cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization and will actively promote multilateral negotiations regarding intellectual property rights, including cooperation with countries like the U.S., Japan and Korea.
  • China will implement a series of relevant laws and regulations; fast-track legislation governing new fields such as artificial intelligence and big data; improve administrative law enforcement and a system of arbitration, mediation and assistance for safeguarding rights; and establish punitive damages for violations.
  • China will strengthen its intellectual property infrastructure.

In October 2021, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade established its Intellectual Property Rights Professional Committee and issued rules for mediation of intellectual property disputes, covering applications, personnel, modes and fees. It is the first set of commercial mediation rules for solving foreign-related intellectual property disputes in China. Chinese officials hope the procedures will help China engage more heavily in global intellectual property governance and eventually develop a better environment for foreign business transactions.

According to the 2021 China Business Environment Report, released by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, the number of American companies in China that believe China’s intellectual property protection is not strong enough has dropped by 9% from the previous year. Meanwhile, foreign investment in China continues to increase. In 2020, 51,000 enterprises based in other countries established a presence in China, up 4.5% from the previous year, making China the world’s largest recipient of foreign investment. And China’s own technological innovation has grown. China now ranks 12th in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Index report, up from 14th the year before.





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