China’s high school students learn about IP rights; national exam tests them for knowledge

“Knowledge of intellectual property rights is playing a more important and ever-growing part in China’s social development and basic education,” reports China Daily.

Intellectual property is not just coming to the forefront for businesses and courtrooms in China, writes Schmitt & Orlov, a IP law firm that operates in China, South Asia and Russia, but the classrooms as well.

“This year, China’s National College Entrance Exam, commonly referred to as the Gaokao (高考), increased the amount of questions related to intellectual property rights.”

With almost 10 million students sitting for the exam this year, intellectual property was required to be in their repertoire. Beijing, Tianjin, and Jiangsu provinces were among those districts to cover intellectual property in questions across subjects such as Chinese, politics, and history.

“The Role of IP Protection”

Test takers in Jiangsu were required to “illustrate the role of IP protection in enhancing an open economy and social development, and to explain how to protect IP by optimizing legislation and strictly enforcing the law.” As open-ended and daunting as questions such as these can be, even for active IP practitioner’s, Jiangsu was able to note that test scores on the intellectual property questions had gone up from previous years.

It is not just at the college entrance level that administrations are pushing intellectual property education, but secondary schools as well. Going on its fifth year, the China National Intellectual Property Administration and the Ministry of Education have been pursuing and implementing education plans on intellectual property into secondary schools, totaling 165 pilot schools and 25 demonstration schools to date.

Public Awareness

This system of widespread education aims to increase public awareness and, in turn, enhance intellectual property right protections through knowledge.

Liu Hua, head of the IP research institute at Central China Normal University, said “the IP tests in gaokao reflect that a culture of respecting knowledge, upholding innovation, abiding by the law and being honest, has gradually gained wider acceptance in the country.”


Time will tell whether China’s efforts to educate students about the use and impact of IP rights – not just the legal definitions – is working.

Boards of education in the U.S. currently offer users and creators little or no formal IP education in secondary or primary schools. College students and even students attaining advanced degrees in business also are in the dark. The Chinese endeavor to do a better job in IP literacy not because they believe it is more ethical to do so, but because it will create greater value and give them more negotiating leverage.

IP rights are an important part of life everywhere. They need to be understood as assets (or potential assets), not impediments. The Chinese initiative, with strong support from Beijing, should serve as a wake up call both to U.S. businesses and educators. IP needs to be taken seriously, and not only by those who own it.

For the full China Daily story, go here.

Image source:; Pakistan Today

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