Can China Become An Intellectual Property Powerhouse?
The Chinese government has formulated a long-term “National Patent Development Strategy” to increase the annual number of patents filed in the country and slowly build up China’s reputation for innovation. From CNN:
The Chinese government has outlined an ambitious plan to up its annual patent filings by 2015 to two million, according to a document published by the State Intellectual Property Office titled “National Patent Development Strategy (2011 – 2020).
“China will rank among the top two in the world in terms of the annual number of patents for inventions,” the document says. “The number of overseas patent applications filed by Chinese applicants will double.”
Patent filings are already increasing. Of the 1.22 million patents filed in China last year, the intellectual property office granted 815,000 patents, a 40% increase from the year before, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported.
However, with an increase in IP protection comes the growing possibility that the Chinese courts will have to handle a deluge of litigation.
China Law Blog’s Steven Dickinson, who was quoted in the CNN article, elaborates:
“If you don’t think you are going to get sued in China, you are crazy.” Steve was referring to how Chinese companies are getting increasingly aggressive at protecting their own IP and they will not hesitate to sue foreign companies they see as infringing on their intellectual property (IP). The article notes how 30,626 intellectual property rights cases were filed in China in 2009, a 25% increase from the previous year. Amazingly, all but 117 of these cases have already been resolved. The article rightly stresses the importance of registering your IP in China because if you do not register your IP there, you have no protection there.