Chinese Leader Xi Jinping Calls for strengthening IP protection and “enhancing its importance”

Secretary General of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Xi Jinping, acknowledged this month that protecting IP rights was necessary for pursuing development. 

He said that “innovation is the key growth driver and that protection and upholding rule of law are necessary for innovation to thrive.” He urged protections in key areas such as big data, artificial intelligence and gene technology. He also pushed for more international cooperation.

It was unclear if improving China’s IP protection meant that respect for other nations’ IP rights was also a priority.

Xi stressed “comprehensively strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR)” while presiding over a group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

“We should recognize the situation and tasks of intellectual property protection in China, sum up the achievements, find out the shortcomings, and enhance the awareness of the importance of intellectual property protection,” said Xi as reported by CGTN, China Global Television Network.

Why is this Happening?

A previous CGTN article stated: “With all this progression and [innovation] achievement, however, we still keep hearing U.S. accusations of China ‘stealing’ American intellectual property allegedly worth hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars annually. Why is that happening? Does China really pay no attention to intellectual property rights (IPR) protection?

When it comes to U.S. IP theft selective attention would be more the case than no attention.

Voluntary Entry

“The idea that China is involved in IP theft probably stems from a lack of knowledge in China’s continuous effort in enforcing IPR protection, as well as ignoring benefits that U.S. companies have gained from their voluntary entry into China.”

‘Ask China: Does China really ignore IP protection’ – This article and video are worth viewing for how China responds to international allegations of IP theft.

It states that in 2018 China paid “almost 36 billion U.S. dollars for overseas intellectual properties, 20 times the amount paid when China first joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.”

It is unclear if this means purchased or licensed IP rights, or it reflects business acquisitions. When added to patent infringement, Chinese knock-offs, counterfeit goods and trade secret theft continue to plague nations the U.S. and other nations, and Chinese students and scientists conducting research abroad remain an ongoing issue.

IP Rule of Law

“We should improve the level of rule of law in intellectual property protection,” continues Xi. “while strictly enforcing the relevant provisions of the Civil Code, we should accelerate the improvement of relevant laws and regulations, and promote the revision of the Patent Law, Trademark Law, Copyright Law, Antimonopoly Law, Law of the PRC on Progress of Science and Technology, and so on, to enhance the consistency among laws.”

On November 24, 2019, the general offices of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council jointly issued a directive calling for intensified IPR protection.

According to the document, “by 2022, China will strive to effectively curb IPR infringement, and largely overcome challenges including high costs, low compensation and difficulties in providing evidence for safeguarding IPR.”

This story was also covered by, China’s leading news agency.

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