Intellectual Property Protection


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Following on from yesterday’s issue regarding innovation, it’s timely to read of China’s ongoing commitment to intellectual property protection which comes all the way from the top. According to the South China Morning Post, in a newly released transcript of a speech he made to the Politburo in November last year, President Xi outlined his commitment to innovation, saying “it is the No 1 driver for development. Protecting intellectual property is protecting innovation” and encouraging officials “to crack down on intellectual property violations and overcome local protectionism”. He also said “we can only improve our business environment and elevate the opening up of our country to a higher level and quality if we strictly enforce IP protection,” adding that this is “the key to safeguarding China’s national security and home-grown core technologies”.

This is very significant and shouldn’t be dismissed as merely words. China has come a long way to develop and modernise its IP laws, which are now on a par with most other jurisdictions but, most importantly, there now appears to be a national commitment to properly enforce these laws for the benefit of local as well as foreign companies. Chinese companies now have a lot to lose themselves from IP theft, both locally and overseas, and this was always going to be the catalyst for a greater commitment to enforcing IP protection, at home and abroad.

Some will argue that this new commitment to IP protection has come too little and too late for some western entrepreneurs who may have felt in the past that their IP rights have not been properly respected nor enforced in China. That may well be true. But it shouldn’t stop new foreign innovators from raising capital and commercialising their innovations in China in the future, as China has the money and the market.


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