At the end of 2017, China launched a full-blown operation to make sure foreign businesses have their intellectual property rights (IPR) protected in China. The government has coordinated more than 10 departments and applied the new measures across the country, in a move that is seen as the first of its kind.
But it’s not the first time that China has attempted to improve IPR protection.
US chipmaker Qualcomm, the No 1 overseas owner of Chinese patents in 2017, said the last decade has seen improvements in IPR protection which could explain its growing investment in China.
Mark Snyder, senior vice-president of Qualcomm recently told state media that they have seen China determined to protect intellectual property since the implementation of the national intellectual property strategy.
And votes of confidence came from big and small players alike.
William Mansfield, director of intellectual property for ABRO Industries, a worldwide automotive, industrial and consumer products provider, told CGTN that their company successfully enforced its IPR at all levels in China, and that he had compared IPR systems in many countries – China is one of the best.
Experts have said that the improved environment is part and parcel of China’s shift to a new, innovative economy – an economy that needs strict IPR protection.
Wang Changlin, deputy director at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)’s Academy of Macroeconomic Research Institute, told CGTN that many overseas companies now “actively CHOOSE China as the place to settle IPR disputes, which, among other progresses in recent years, says what China’s IPR environment is really like.”
Meanwhile, China paid more than $28 billion in intellectual property royalties to overseas rights owners in 2017. In 2001, that figure stood short of $2 billion. The State Intellectual Property Office have said that these figures show China’s resolve to respect and protect intellectual property rights.
Moreover, China has repeatedly pledged “zero-tolerance” on forced technology transfers.
Premier Li Keqiang said in a widely covered news conference at the end of March that, “We will not allow forced technology transfer in the manufacturing sector or other areas. We’re resolute in protecting intellectual property rights and will not allow infringements on the parts of overseas enterprises investing in China.”
It’s a promise he repeated at the China Development Forum a few weeks earlier, when he also vowed harsh punishment for anyone who transgresses.