SIPO: quality, not numbers, key to patents and innovation

08:49, January 05, 2011      

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Patent quality -the number of valid patents - is the key to maintaining intellectual property (IP) research and production advantages, a Chinese intellectual property official, told a Dec 22 forum in Beijing,

The director general of the State Intellectual Property Office's (SIPO) patent department, Ma Weiye, was asked to explain (IP) protection's relationship.

"Our companies should pay much more attention to patent quality instead of only quantity," Ma said

SIPO statistics show that 46.4 percent of Chinese inventions' patents last more than five years.

Ma also spoke about the intellectual property concept, by saying, "Many Chinese officials and even experts believe that intellectual property refers to the industrialization of knowledge. And that the IP system is meant to explore and utilize knowledgeable resources. I think this is a total misunderstanding."

He went on to explain, "Knowledge cannot be privately owned and its publicity negates the possibility of being industrialized.

"I prefer the interpretation found in Taiwan, which closely links this international term with human wisdom, whereby people transform knowledge into property."

Ma pointed further to differing opinions on the essential qualities of the IP system. He noted that, in contrast to the majority opinion, "It is more likely used to stimulate competition and even to some extent protect a monopoly instead of encouraging innovation."

He cited the changes in patent filings in China, by two large foreign aircraft manufacturers, as an example.

"These two companies used to file few patent applications in China. But this situation changed suddenly after 2005, when the government decided to produce big airplanes with its own technology.

"Their resulting eagerness to file obviously did not come from a desire to promote innovation at Chinese companies, but to maintain their market share."

In commenting on the role of innovation, Ma said that independent innovation is not exactly like being divorced from the masses or from reality, and just acting blindly.

Rather, he suggested, Chinese companies should increase cooperation with top foreign companies and should introduce or purchase patented technology, especially inventions, to accelerate progress.

The head of SIPO's IP development research center, Mao Jinsheng, informed the forum of the new nonprofit IP Center at the China Industry-University-Research Institute's Collaboration Association.

This organization consists of scholars, experts and officials from industrial, scientific, and education and academic fields, Mao said.

China Daily

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