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SIPO and EPO highlight IP cooperation

Stephy Tang, Hong Kong

Officials from SIPO and EPO met in Lyon, France earlier this month to commemorate 30 years of cooperation and also to discuss further collaboration

The conference celebrated the 30th anniversary of bilateral cooperation between SIPO and the EPO and attracted over 140 Chinese and European experts from industry, government and academia.

"The close cooperation between the patent offices of Europe and China has been instrumental in developing a modern and efficient intellectual property system in China, which greatly benefits innovating businesses in both regions," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli in a press release.

Technology boom

Intellectual property in China is developing at a fast pace. Filings from Chinese companies at the EPO increased tenfold over the past decade and growth continues to be strong, Battistelli told China Daily. Following the US, Japan, and Germany, China is the fourth largest overseas filer to the EPO, with approximately 26,000 patent applications in 2014.

For Chinese companies filing at the EPO, the busiest areas were digital communications, computer technology and telecommunications. In digital communications, Chinese accounted for approximately one third of total filings worldwide. Meanwhile, filings from EU member states mainly focused on electrical machinery, apparatus, energy, medical technology, and transport areas. 

Telecommunication giants Huawei and ZTE are among the top 10 filers in Europe, with 1,600 and 476 patent applications respectively. Most of the other standout Chinese filers also come from the technology sector, including BOE Technology, China Academy of Telecommunications Technology, Baidu, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Xiaomi.

The result fully reflects that technology is a major driving force to China’s economy development and China has taken great efforts to encourage domestic innovation, Battistelli told China Daily.

Promote innovation – a global issue

China is seeking to transition to an innovation-based economy from one focused on manufacturing. As the legitimate tool to secure one’s innovation achievement, intellectual property is a crucial role in the shift.

The importance of IP is gaining serious attention by China government in recent years. Lately, China took a great leap forward in IP development by opening three specialised IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, which is regarded as a boon for multinationals.

Nevertheless, SIPO Commissioner Shen Changyu noted the importance of promoting and protecting innovation in a global scope. “The SIPO and the EPO will engage in deeper and more extensive co-operation to jointly promote innovation,” he said in a press release. “I am convinced that this will make an even greater contribution to the development of economies, technologies and cultures in China and Europe. It will also strengthen the development of global intellectual property and bring more benefits to innovators worldwide."


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