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China patent activity grows by almost 20%

Patent activity in China rose by nearly 20% over the past year to 170,000 operations, China's state council has reported.08 Sep 2017

Patent operations include patent transfers, licenses and pledges, the state council said.

Shen Changyu, head of the state intellectual property office said at the opening ceremony of the patent information annual conference of China that intellectual property (IP) is playing an increasingly important role in China’s exchange with other countries in fields like economy, trade, science and technology, and culture, the council reported.

"China will continue to boost international IP cooperation and facilitate the building of an inclusive, balanced and efficient international IP standard," Shen said.

China opened a national intellectual property rights protection service centre in Shanghai in July, aiming to shorten the patent application process and enhance intellectual property rights protection in the country. The China (Pudong) Intellectual Property Rights Protection Centre will aim to halve the length of time taken by the application process to about 15 months.

Until now patent applications have had to be lodged with the State Intellectual Property Office in Beijing, and the process could take about 30 months.

According to Chinese state-owned news agency Xinhua Pudong-based businesses filed more than 9,500 patent applications in the high-end equipment manufacturing industry in 2016, and 2,300 in the bio-pharmaceutical industry.

China plans to increase the number of intellectual property rights (IPR) trials held each year as part of an attempt to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, Chinese government-run news agency Xinhua reported in March.

China opened four new IPR tribunals last year, in Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu to manage cross-regional IPR cases. China has three national IPR courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Xinhua said.

Last year, 29 provincial-level regions also set up information sharing platforms for law enforcement and criminal justice to crack down on IPR infringement and fake products, it said.

Chinese courts concluded around 147,000 IPR cases in 2016, according to the report.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma wrote an open letter to the Chinese government earlier this year asking it to treat counterfeiting as seriously as it does drunk driving.

The lack of deterrents to creating fake goods is stunting China's innovation, hurting its reputation and threatening the country's future, he said.