China Upholds "Equal IP Protection" to Boost High-Level Opening up
Updated: 7 10,2024 Source:China IP News

Recently, Shen Changyu, Commissioner of the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), hosted a roundtable meeting on IP protection with foreign enterprises in Beijing. Joined by key departmental officials, Shen engaged directly with representatives from eleven foreign enterprises, including Nidec Corporation, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Phoenix Contact, Merck, Schneider Electric, Ford, LEGO, Tesla, and Siemens. The meeting focused on IP protection, gathering opinions and suggestions from foreign enterprises, and providing immediate responses to related concern. Hu Wenhui, Deputy Commissioner of the CNIPA, also attended, detailing efforts to enhance IP protection for foreign enterprises.

"In May 2022, the CNIPA affirmed the validity of the patent rights for two formulations of a key product of AstraZeneca, which significantly bolstered market stability and the company's confidence in investing in China. This decision spurred the company to invest an extra 9 billion yuan in China."

"Boehringer Ingelheim faced an infringement case involving its innovative diabetes medication - Linagliptin tablets during the online tendering process. This case was swiftly resolved as one of the first major patent infringement disputes adjudicated by the CNIPA, safeguarding the patent holder's lawful rights and interests, and playing an exemplary role in resolving pharmaceutical patent disputes."

"Ford currently holds some 9,000 patents and 1,500 trademarks in China. China's fast-improving IP protection environment has further promoted our innovative development. Ford's two R&D centers in China were upgraded to Ford China Product Centers in 2018. They now collaborate closely with Ford's other R&D centers worldwide, fostering a cycle of innovation that feeds back into the company's global development."

Representatives from foreign-funded enterprises highly commended China's efforts in IP protection.

"Opening up is a fundamental national policy of China. While sharing the benefits of China's development and achieving their own growth, foreign-funded enterprises have also contributed to the efficient allocation of global resources, injecting strong momentum into the high-quality development of China's economy. Chinese government has made a series of strategic arrangements to strengthen IP protection, showcasing the its firm determination to comprehensively improve the business environment and safeguard the lawful rights and interests of foreign-funded enterprises," said Shen at the meeting.

Shen noted that strict IP protection is crucial to fostering a favorable business environment and a top concern for foreign-funded enterprises. We should fully leverage the functional role of IP, to effectively solve the practical difficulties and problems encountered by foreign-funded enterprises in the IP field, offering more targeted services to create a favorable environment for their development in China.

At the meeting, the enterprises engaged in candid discussions, voicing their concerns and suggestions for IP protection. They focused on strengthening IP at the source, advocating for the improvement of patent examination standards and trademark examination rules, the intensification of crackdown on malicious trademark registrations, and the reinforcement of well-known trademarks. They also addressed the law enforcement of IP protection, citing difficulties in fixing the value of products sold on e-commerce platforms and initiating legal cases, and called for enhanced online supervision, as well as coordinated cross-departmental and regional law enforcement efforts. Additionally, they emphasized the need to intensify IP protection in the pharmaceutical sector, particularly in centralized procurement, thereby ensuring IP protection throughout the entire drug procurement process. Relevant functional departments actively responded to and clarified these issues on the spot.

"The representatives have articulated their IP concerns, and following the meeting, we will systematically address them with a targeted approach. For matters that involve other departments' functions, we will utilize the inter-ministerial joint meeting mechanism for building a strong country in IP to facilitate the resolution of these issues in coordination with relevant departments," said Shen.

In recent years, the CNIPA has consistently upheld the principle of equal treatment and protection for IP of both domestic and international business entities. It has made substantial efforts in enhancing top-level design, refining management systems, strengthening law-based governance, improving protection efficiency, and deepening international cooperation. These efforts have significantly elevated the CNIPA's capacity and standards in IP governance, fostering a fair competitive environment for enterprises and innovators from around the world.

Statistics indicate that in 2023, public satisfaction with China's IP soared to an all-time high of 82 points, with foreign-funded enterprises' satisfaction reaching 80.55, marking a 1.44 point increase from 2022. IP applications, grants, and holdings from international sources have been rising rapidly year by year. In the previous year, the number of valid invention patents held by foreign applicants in China exceeded 900,000, representing a nearly 5% year-on-year growth, while the number of valid trademark registrations topped 2.1 million, registering a 3.4% year-on-year increase. These figures underscore the significant interest of foreign-funded enterprises in the Chinese market and their robust confidence in China's IP protection.

Looking ahead, the CNIPA will continue to enhance the quality of IP protection by refining the IP protection system, legal framework, and supportive mechanisms. It will focus on proactive measures at the source to foster a more conducive business and innovation environment. Additionally, the administration will deepen international IP cooperation, actively advocate for the improvement of global IP rules and standards, contributing to a more advanced open economy.