Greater global cooperation urged to strengthen IPR protection

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China will intensify efforts to further international cooperation on intellectual property rights protection, especially those related to the Belt and Road Initiative, in order to promote IPR development worldwide, according to the head of the country's top regulator of IPR affairs.

"We'll also study and explore new mechanisms in cooperating with BRI countries on IPR protection amid the COVID-19 pandemic to better support the initiative", said Shen Changyu, commissioner of the China National Intellectual Property Administration.

Shen recently told China Daily about the plan in an exclusive interview, explaining that the goal conforms to the central government's requirements on strengthening IPR protection.

In November, President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of IPR protection, calling innovation the primary driving force behind development and equating protecting IPR with protecting innovation.

Xi also pointed out that international cooperation and competition on IPR should be coordinated and IPR cooperation with BRI countries should grow.

Vowing to stay continuously committed to enhancing international cooperation on IPR protection, Shen said the administration will devote more efforts to global IPR governance, adding that taking part in such governance within the World Intellectual Property Organization framework is also crucial.

"We'll promote the improvement of international rules and standards concerning IPR and related international trade and investment fields, and push the global IPR governance system in a more just and equitable direction," Shen said.

Having hosted a high-level IPR conference for BRI countries in 2018, the administration has carried out at least eight cooperation programs with them, including IPR review, construction of basic facilities and public awareness of IPR protection, according to Shen.

He said applications for patents and trademarks between China and those countries have also seen rapid growth.

In 2019, for example, the number of patent applications BRI countries submitted in China increased 9.7 percent year-on-year, while China's patent applications in those countries rose 8.5 percent during the same period, he added.

"Our efforts to promote other bilateral and multilateral IPR cooperation have never stopped, even during the COVID-19 outbreak," he said.

Last year, for instance, officials from the China National Intellectual Property Administration, the European Patent Office, the Japan Patent Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office-collectively known as the IP5-met via video link.

Besides discussing measures taken by each office in the battle against the virus, "we also agreed to continue international cooperation in IPR protection and work together to tackle challenges posed by the pandemic", Shen said.

To improve IPR-related information exchanges amid the outbreak, the administration collected policies about disease control from IPR institutes in more than 50 countries and regions, and shared them for domestic IPR users' reference, he said.

In addition, it also opened an online information sharing platform for patents on pandemic prevention against COVID-19, with both Chinese and English versions, "as we hope people from home and abroad can receive professional patent information and IPR services in a timely manner", he added.

Source: China Daily