Patent protection crucial to foreign R&D

09:33, March 31, 2010      

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Foreign high-tech investment in China remains robust as the nation continues to be the first choice for multinational R&D, Qian Fangli, deputy director of Foreign Investment Department of Commerce, said at a forum last Thursday.

The forum, hosted by the Quality Brands Protection Committee (QBPC) discussed how to protect innovation and continue to attract international R&D investment.

Foreign investment accounted for 29.4 percent of the total in the high-tech sector in the first three quarters of last year, according to statistics released by the National Development and Reform Commission.

More multinationals have established R&D facilities in China as their business centers in the Asia-Pacific region or upgraded them as global R&D centers, according to a study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Efforts at increasing innovation should not just focus on the number of patent applications, but should pay more attention to the quality of products, said Thomas Pattloch, intellectual property attach for the European Union.

Only when China's enterprises improve their product quality will they have real innovation capabilities, Pattloch said.

China's innovation policy should consider international markets so the nation can continue to attract foreign investment, Pattloch added.

"We need support from foreign investors in advanced technology and capital to make our country more powerful," said Law Professor Jiang Zhipe.

"China must persist in its commitment to international conventions, including Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, especially the national treatment principle that mandates member states must give other members the same treatment as its own nationals under the law," Jiang said.

Intellectual property protection is especially important in the high-tech industry, which requires heavier investment and carries larger risk, said Frank Meng, senior vice-president of Qualcomm, which manufactures chipsets, licenses technology, and provides communication services around the world.

Without a sound intellectual property protection policy, creative products will not be developed and the enterprises will be unable to reap the rewards of their investment, Meng said.

That will also have a strong negative influence on Chinese brands, he added.

Despite the opinion of some that copycat mobile phones may not be totally bad, Meng denounced the counterfeit products that unfairly challenge the original brand manufactures.

"Relevant authorities should have clear mind to tell the difference between right and wrong," he noted. "Otherwise, China's brand image will be adversely affected."

Source: China Daily

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