There will be lots to discuss at the upcoming Global IP & Innovation Summit to be held in Shanghai in September. As we have seen from the WIPO’s PCT statistics, published earlier this year, the number of filings from China grew by 33.4% in the last year, leaving it behind only the US, Japan and Germany for numbers of PCT filings in the past year.
The message seems clear: IP in China carries currency –increasingly so. Indeed The Economist recently noted:
Something strange is happening in China. For decades American politicians and businessmen have made it a ritual to bash China over theft of intellectual property (IP). But now Gary Locke, America’s ambassador to China has proclaimed that “…for every company calling for stronger IP protection, there are really more Chinese companies calling for the same…progress is occurring”
China is often considered to be becoming the world’s largest economy and this is driving a new level of respect for IP issues. Indeed, the establishment of an overseas IPR Help Centre for local enterprises was officially declared by China's Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) on November 17 2011 during the session of the first national annual conference on business and law. As the Chinese government acknowledges:
As ‘knowledge economy’ and economic globalization advance further, intellectual property (as a mainstay in the construction of an innovative country) has become a key element in international competition.
However the government doesn’t shy away from acknowledging difficulties too:
In recent years, Chinese enterprises implementing the "going-out" strategy have encountered an increasing number of IP disputes, which not only discourage local companies from competing in international markets, but also bring negative effects to bilateral and multilateral trade relations.
But the complexities of bilateral and multilateral trade relations are manifold. The Economist also reports that from the perspective of foreign companies and innovators “the biggest threat (in China)…is opacity”. However, it is commonly suggested that foreign innovators are hampered not only by a lack of clarity but also by cultural, political and regional biases and barriers.
So, between international companies going in and local companies going out, at the global summit, there should be plenty for delegates to be getting their proverbial teeth into and much they can learn from one another.
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