Report Puts Renewed Focus on Protection

Source: China Daily Global 

The Intellectual Property Development and Research Center released a report earlier this month in Beijing in a bid to strengthen IP protection in the field of e-commerce, which has an increasingly important position in China's economy.

The 2019 China E-Commerce Intellectual Property Protection Development Research Report takes mainstream e-commerce platforms in China, such as Alibaba and Suning, as samples to analyze their IP protection mechanisms, to showcase achievements in and solutions to IP protection in the field, Han Xiucheng, director of the center at the National Intellectual Property Administration, said at the report release event in Beijing on Dec 12.

"During this year's 'Double 11' shopping festival, e-commerce giant Alibaba's Tmall shopping platform generated a trading volume of 268.4 billion yuan ($38.27 billion), witnessing a year-on-year growth for 10 consecutive years."

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics show that in the first 10 months of this year, China's online retail sales hit 8.23 trillion yuan, up 16.4 percent from the same period in 2018. During this period, online retail sales of physical goods totaled 6.52 trillion yuan, increasing by 19.8 percent year-on-year and accounting for 19.5 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods, according to Cai Yudong, deputy director of the department of electronic commerce and information at the Ministry of Commerce.

While e-commerce is becoming an economic development model with great potential and competitiveness in China, IP protection in e-commerce has sparked wide attention and discussion at home and abroad, Han said.

According to the report, domestic mainstream e-commerce platforms have established a complete IP protection system. Meanwhile, China's E-commerce Law came into effect on Jan 1, 2019, which is the first comprehensive legislation in the field of e-commerce in the world, Cai said at the release event.

The report also said that a common IP protection mechanism established by the government, e-commerce platforms and consumers will be what IP protection in e-commerce will look like in the future.

In 2018, NIPA investigated 33,025 patent infringements in e-commerce, with a year-on-year increase of 66.4 percent, according to Cao Hongying, deputy director of the IP protection department at NIPA.

Separately, Alibaba has created a public review mechanism, which has had some 5 million members and has handled 100 million disputes so far. The public review mechanism is a governance model widely used by internet users, and an innovative attempt at social governance, providing a sample for creating an online dispute resolution mechanism, according to Han.

In addition, the report said that by increasing their investment in the research and development and applications of anti-counterfeiting technologies, e-commerce companies have improved their strength in IP protection.

For instance, Alibaba has applied new technologies, including semantic sentiment analysis, a livestreaming control system and panoramic view, to enhance its IP protection.

Chinese companies' awareness of and strength in IP protection demonstrate their resolve to fight counterfeits, Cai said. "IP is the embodiment of an enterprise's innovation and achievements. And only when the achievements are well protected will the enterprise and its employees show the initiative for innovation and creation."