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Opinion: China's dual commitments to innovation and intellectual property

(Xinhua)    08:07, April 10, 2020

Visitors watch a 5G robot during the 2019 World 5G Convention in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 21, 2019. (Xinhua/Peng Ziyang)

Along with an indication of China's industrial know-how, the surge in international patent filings illustrates a capacity for Chinese enterprises to conduct long-term and high-risk studies and research to drive and lead innovation, which will further empower China's economic development.

BEIJING, April 9 (Xinhua) -- China has become the top source of international patents filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), demonstrating the country's capability for innovation and respect for intellectual property.

According to the UN patent agency, China, with 58,990 applications filed in 2019 via the WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) System, has become the biggest user of the PCT System, a position previously held by the United States each year since the PCT began operations in 1978, ending that country's 40-year reign.

China's progress has been remarkable. In 1999, WIPO received 276 applications from China. By 2019, that number rose to 58,990, marking a 200-fold increase in only two decades.

Meanwhile, as WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said, China's rapid growth in international patent applications underlines "a long-term shift in the locus of innovation towards the East," with Asia-based applicants now accounting for more than half of all PCT applications.

A staff member tests the speed with a Huawei 5G mobile phone at Huawei 5G Innovation and Experience Center in London, Britain, on Jan. 28, 2020. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

Another big revelation made by the WIPO performance report shows that China's telecoms giant Huawei has been the top corporate filer for the third consecutive year, while the top 10 applicant list comprises four companies from China.

Along with an indication of China's industrial know-how, the surge in international patent filings illustrates a capacity for Chinese enterprises to conduct long-term and high-risk studies and research to drive and lead innovation, which will further empower China's economic development.

China's patent achievements could not exist without its endeavor to strengthen the protection of intellectual property. These measures included amending laws and regulations, bolstering a national intellectual property credit system and punishing those who infringe on intellectual property rights.

Furthermore, China's strict protection of intellectual property has led to a growing number of foreign patent applications in the Asian country.

Photo taken on July 27, 2019 shows MOZI 2 solar-powered aircraft flying in the sky. After two years of research and development, the "MOZI 2" solar-powered unmanned aircraft, with independent intellectual property rights, successfully made its maiden flight at Moganshan airport in Deqing, east China's Zhejiang Province on July 27, 2019 according to its producer OXAI Aircraft Co., Ltd. (Oxai Aircraft/Handout via Xinhua)

In the meantime, the needs of local economic operators have increasingly overlapped with those from abroad, and the need to share knowledge has increased drastically, said Renata Righetti Pelosi, president of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property.

Coincidently, the first international application was filed in 1978, when China launched its reform and opening-up. Today, with China undergoing an economic shift toward higher value-added industries, a strict protection of intellectual property is a necessary prerequisite.

WIPO's chief has attributed China's rapid emergence to a very "deliberate strategy" to advance innovation and to make China a country "whose economy operates at a higher level of value."

As the capability to innovate is increasingly at the heart of global competition, China will continue to apply its proven practices, underpinned by its commitments to innovation and protection of intellectual property. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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