The theme of the forum held on 8 November was “Intellectual Property and Soft Power of Cities”. Following an important subject of the Chinese policy of the National Patent Development Strategy (2011 – 2020) which aims: “10 Model cities that can comprehensively utilize the patent system and have excellent intellectual property market environment”
During the forum most attention was drawn to the enormous increase in patent applications in China in 2012. Currently China is the world’s largest applicant. This increase is due to various incentives and IP subsidies by Chinese (local) governments for companies in their area. An example of these measures is a tax break from 25% to 15% if companies gain the ‘High-Tech company’ status. Companies must at least have 3 invention patents or 9 utility models granted in a period of 3 years in order to receive this status.
Besides the stimulation measures, local governments are strongly focused on quantitative targets and output numbers of IP. At the forum, Mr. LU Guoqiang, Director-General of the Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration (SIPA) unveiled quantitative IP targets for the Shanghai region:
- 2015: 600 applications per 1mln inhabitants (100 % increase 2010)Of which at least 30% should be innovation patents
- 2015: double the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications
- 2015: total registered trademarks in the region 300.000 (30% increase)
- 2020: Copyright registration: 50% increase
The global IP system changed drastically because of the increased numbers in upcoming markets. ThereforeMr. Günther Schmitz, Vice–President of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office mentioned during the forum“To collaborate more closely with China in order to increase the quality of the patent application”.
Although the numbers are impressive and Chinese companies are getting more and more aware that IP is an important asset, quality of applications is still low. Most of the IP applications in China are utility models. Also commercialization is still low in China: 45% of patents are commercially used versus 70% in most western countries. This also effects international companies operating in China who are paying more attention to filing of utility models than in Western countries.
NOST China attended the forum. Dutch participation in the panel was from Mr. Can Huang, IP data specialist and Senior Research Fellow at the United Nations University-Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Centre on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT)