CIIE marks a new era of intellectual property protection
Note: The following is an edited translation of a commentary from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs."
"The Future Is Here"! This is the slogan for the world's first flying car, the AeroMobil, which incorporates nearly 40 patented technologies. Currently on display at the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, it has been one of the major crowd pleasers.
Other exhibits that have amazed expo visitors include a selection of robots driven by artificial intelligence that can weld cars together, undertake delicate surgery, play table tennis, and pour beer and brew coffee. Virtual reality technology combined with big data analytics has resulted in products set to revolutionize driving, and also medical care. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles may help us to realize true zero-emissions transportation. And biotechnology innovation means that human waste can be turned into odorless organic fertilizers within four hours, making waterless toilets that reduce disease and protect water supplies in rural areas is a reachable goal.
Visitors learn about the QLED 8K television of Samsung at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 6, 2018. The first CIIE is held from Nov. 5 to 10 in Shanghai. [Photo: Xinhua/Liu Dawei]
More than 100 technologies and products from around the globe have been publicly unveiled for the first time at this year's expo, corroborating that research and development institutions and innovative producers value China's vast market, and its efforts in recent years to improve intellectual property protection.
Intellectual property protection is increasingly important for its role in protecting innovation, and so countries with a strong capacity for innovation need robust protections for intellectual property rights. China has been ranked among the top 20 countries by the World Intellectual Property Organization on its Global Innovation Index 2018, a sure sign as any that innovation has become the main driving force for China's high-quality development. Along with its high ranking on the Global Innovation Index, China is a signatory to almost all of the major international treaties and conventions on intellectual property rights. China has submitted the world's largest number of trademark registration applications for 16 consecutive years, and the number of patent applications has ranked it first in the world for seven consecutive years. In recent years, China has also set up specialist intellectual courts. And the move made this year to undertake a major restructuring of the National Intellectual Property Administration provides further reinforcement of the protections for innovation.
Visitors watch a new electric vehicle at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 6, 2018. The first CIIE is held from Nov. 5 to 10 in Shanghai. [Photo: Xinhua/Wang Jianhua]
Exhibitors from around the world came to China for the import expo with a better understanding of China's approach to intellectual property protection. According to the expo organizers, they reached agreements with exhibitors regarding intellectual property protection in advance of their arrival. And through its exhibition manuals and expo websites, it reminded exhibitors to review their rights and to devise protection programs.
During the exhibition, an on-site Intellectual Property Protection and Commercial Dispute Resolution Service Center was set up to provide consultations for exhibitors, mediate complaints, and actively protect the legitimate rights of participants. And the expo's website and call center provided information to exhibitors and purchasers to enable them to file for intellectual property rights protection in China. These measures have created a good environment for exhibitors at the expo, making it a model for China's initiative to strengthen intellectual property protections.
Visitors learn about the scald proofing hot iron at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 6, 2018. The first CIIE is held from Nov. 5 to 10 in Shanghai. [Photo: Xinhua/Wang Jianhua]
And the vow by China's President Xi Jinping to create a world-class business environment in the country has also helped to reassure companies taking part in the import expo that their rights would be protected. China's government is doing this by improving the quality and efficiency of intellectual property reviews, introducing a new system of punitive damages, and significantly increasing fines for illegal activities. These will enable global intellectual achievements to be better protected in China, and will reassure overseas investors about the safety of China's investment environment.
In addition, an intellectual property forum held on the sidelines of the expo has attracted government officials, experts, scholars and representatives from international organizations and more than 20 countries. The in-depth discussions they've had also reflectsed the fact that China has taken on more responsibility for the protection of global intellectual property rights. This forum, combined with the import expo, which has been a showroom bursting with innovation, highlighted China's role as a responsible global citizen when it comes to the protection of intellectual property, at a time when the world is moving into the fourth industrial revolution.