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    China steps up efforts to better IPR aid

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    By Gu Yekai, People’s Daily

    The total number of China’s intellectual property rights (IPR) assistance service agencies has exceeded 1,300, said a recent report on the country’s IPR protection assistance progress in 2021.

    More than 47,000 applications for IPR aid were handled across the country in 2021, and consulting services were offered about 41,000 times, according to the report issued by the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).

    China has continuously enhanced its nationwide network of IPR protection support, making IPR aid services more targeted, convenient and available.

    Zhan Ying, professor with Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, said IPR aid offers strong support for the effective operation of the country in administrative and judicial protection of IPR, as well as the construction of IPR credibility mechanisms.

    In recent years, relevant local authorities across China have focused on new targets, fields and models of IPR protection assistance, taking micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises as a priority to guarantee their innovation environment.

    For instance, IPR aid service stations at municipal and county levels in Mudanjiang, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province are offering professional services for a number of enterprises in promising fields such as equipment manufacturing, modern agriculture and winter sports & tourism industries.

    Continuously enhancing IPR aid for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises gives a very strong boost to the development of innovative enterprises, said Shan Xiaoguang, director of the Research Center of China-EU Innovation Policy and Law at Tongji University, and professor of Shanghai International College of Intellectual Property.

    According to the CNIPA report, China’s IPR aid institutions accepted around 34,000 applications for IPR aid from micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises last year, and 18 provinces have precisely matched the demand for aid seekers through questionnaires, field investigations and other ways.

    In the first half of this year, IPR protection centers in China completed about 16,000 IPR protection cases and 64,000 preliminary hearings of patent cases, the CNIPA said.

    Shan told People’s Daily that many Chinese enterprises exploring the overseas market see an urgent need to raise their IPR risk awareness and enhance their capability in handling IPR disputes.

    The CNIPA report said that last year, 24 provinces established service centers, as well as institutional repositories and expert databases to improve their response mechanisms for overseas IPR disputes, and 12 signed cooperation agreements and set up law and case libraries to enhance the sharing of resources on overseas IPR aid.

    Besides, 26 provinces encouraged IPR aid institutions and experts to serve exhibitions, providing a total of 283 times of aid services for exhibitions, trade fairs, major sports events and innovation and entrepreneurship activities, up 9.3 percent year on year.

    At present, the public and innovation entities are seeing stronger and more diversified demands for IPR protection. In 2021, the China Intellectual Property Rights Aid Network was visited 2.2 million times, 371.8 percent higher than a year ago. A total of 831 public seminars and training sessions on IPR were held across the country, with more than 298,000 participants.

    In 2021, IPR authorities across the country handled 49,800 IPR disputes, and 4,800 cases of patent counterfeiting were dealt with by market supervisors at various levels. The numbers of invention patents and trademarks authorized to foreign applicants went up 23 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

    In the recent ten years, the social satisfaction for IPR protection has been comprehensively improved. It was rated 80.61 out of 100 in 2021, 16.92 points higher than that in 2012.

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