Developing countries can learn a great deal from nation's example, say legal experts
With a spectacular performance over the past few years, China continues to be a role model to the world－and developing countries in particular－for its planning, new policies and evaluation of innovation, said Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
He spoke in a video message during the High-level Roundtable on Global Innovation Index 2020 on Sept 3. In the GII rankings released on Sept 2, China stayed in 14th place, having broken into the top 15 last year. It is the only middle-income economy that has been included in the top 30 for several years.
The speeches given by WIPO's chief economist Carsten Fink and GII co-editor Sacha Wunsch-Vincent pointed out that China led in the quality of innovation among middle-income economies for the eighth consecutive year. It ranks third globally in its quality of universities, as Tsinghua, Peking and Fudan universities are among the world's top 50.
According to Xue Qikun, vice-president of Tsinghua University, every year the school will file 2,500-3,000 Chinese patent applications and 400-500 international ones.
Over the past five years, it has kept its top five spot among global universities for patents granted in the United States. In 2019, it filed the second-most Patent Cooperation Treaty applications, following the University of California.
China maintained its world leadership in several indicators related to intellectual property: patents by origin, utility models, trademarks and industrial designs, Gurry said.
With 58,990 PCT filings, people in China filed the most applications, overtaking the US in 2019.
Regarding trademarks, applicants based in China filed the third-largest number－over 6,000－of international applications worldwide via the Madrid System in 2019 after the US and Germany.
In 2018, China also accounted for the largest number of class count trademark filings worldwide: nearly 7.4 million. Since 2006, China's trademark filings have grown from about twice that of the US to almost 12 times as much.
China is home to 17 of the world's top science and technology clusters. One that encompasses Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Guangzhou took second place and Beijing came fourth, Gurry added.
Shen Changyu, the head of China's National Intellectual Property Administration, said in his keynote speech that the country's great achievements in innovation are inseparable from its huge investment. The CNIPA will further support intellectual property protection and improve financial services to promote innovation.
Zhu Min, former deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund and now the chairman of the National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University, said new technologies such as 5G and blockchain will take China further along the path to better IP protection and an excellent business environment.
Yang Tao, an official with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: "China has always actively participated in global IP governance and is committed to promoting the construction of open, inclusive, balanced and effective international rules on IP.
"China has acceded to almost all international IP treaties and its cooperation with WIPO has been increased."
Gurry said, "I hope China will continue to lead the path and set an example toward breaching the world innovation divide for emerging and developing economies."