China has set its sights on improving the quality of its intellectual property in a bid to encourage innovation, a senior official said.
“The quality of IP is not keeping pace with the quantity. The development in different regions is still unbalanced and protections are still not strict enough,” said Gan Shaoning, deputy commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, at a news conference on Jan 17 in Beijing.
According to a report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization, China received around 1.1 million patent applications in 2015, ranking top globally for the fifth consecutive year. China also became the first global economy to file more than 1 million patent applications in a single year.
“China’s patent system encourages innovation, but there is still an imbalance between the number and quality of patents. This is mostly evident in the shortage of the number of key and refined patents and the unbalanced patent layout,” Gan said.
In December, the State Council released a plan to guide the nation’s IP development during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) period.
According to the guideline, China aims to increase its invention patent ownership from 6.3 per 10,000 people in 2015 to 12 per 10,000 in 2020. It is also targeting a rise in the number of international patent applications, from 30,000 in 2015 to 60,000 by 2020.
The plan also calls for IP efforts to focus on seven major areas, including the improvement of the legal system, quality and benefits, industrial upgrading, and international cooperation and exchanges.
China will also improve IP rules and regulations in emerging fields, including internet-based businesses and big data, according to the plan.
The country also joined the ranks of the world’s top 25 innovative economies in the Global Innovation Index released by Cornell University, INSEAD business school and WIPO in August.
“This is in keeping with all the developments that we have seen in China in recent years, including the use of innovation as a major component in the transition of the Chinese economy from ‘made in China’ to ‘created in China’,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.
“While the Chinese mainland continues to drive global increases, IP use grew in most countries in 2015, reflecting its increasing importance in a globalized knowledge economy,” he added.