Experts gather in Beijing to discuss systems and opportunities to protect rights owners and facilitate commercialization

Experts called on "combined forces" to fight violations of intellectual property rights at the ongoing High-level Forum on China IP Protection 2017 in Beijing on Thursday.

"IP protection cannot just be a monologue, but a whole ensemble," said Shen Changyu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, at the meeting.

IP includes patents, trademarks, copyrights and new plant varieties, integrated circuit designs, trade secrets, geographical indications, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folk arts. The multifaceted IP system also involves a variety of protective measures, including registration, examination prior to administrative approval, jurisdiction and arbitration.

"We need to enhance protection from the perspective of the entire IP value chain and offer 'one-stop' services in a bid to reduce IP owners' costs and time spent maintaining their rights," Shen said.

Shen's opinion was echoed by Wu Handong, a law professor at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law.

"In the complex IP system, policymakers and legislators should seek differentiated protection targeted at different IP forms," Wu said.

Stakeholders in the industry need to create a diversified resolution mechanism for coordinated protection, said the veteran expert, who has been engaged in IP education and research for 35 years.

Complementary to other channels - including professional arbitration, industrial self-discipline and corporate in-house monitoring - "judicial protection takes the lead and administrative enforcement is the basis of the forces fighting infringement", he said.

Data from SIPO show that enforcement officials across the country investigated more than 80,000 patent, trademark and copyright disputes in 2016. Local courts heard more than 130,000 IP cases nationwide last year.

SIPO Commissioner Shen said: "Stringent IP protection will have a far-reaching influence over China's innovation-driven development strategy."

China's manufacturing industry has already ranked top of the world in production scale, contributing approximately a quarter of total production worldwide, according to Wu.

Yet the country has yet to catch up with its peers in developed countries in regards to IP in core technologies, Wu said.

Stringent IP protection is born out of demand from the domestic industry for growth and from within the country for innovation-driven development, he noted.

"Timeliness and deterrence should be factored into offering legal remedies," he said. "The authorities need to further fight IP offenses and crimes and increase punishments for infringement."

Zhou Huilin, an official with the National Copyright Administration, said that with the widespread use of new technologies, including mobile internet, big data and cloud computing, how to balance the interests of various stakeholders and improve access of the public to online creative products has been an issue worth exploration.

The Sharp Sword, an annual crackdown campaign initiated by the NCA, the Cyberspace Administration, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Public Security, has focused on pirated music, videos, games, animation and software for 12 straight years to create a healthy online copyright system, Zhou said.

Wang Binying, deputy director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, said WIPO thinks highly of China's "remarkably impressive" performance in building its innovation, as the largest patent and trademark filer in the world for years

As "an active and responsive member" of WIPO, China reported a 44.7 percent rise in international patent applications filed via the Patent Cooperation Treaty in 2016 from a year earlier, and a nearly 30 percent increase in international trademark filings through the global Madrid system, she added.

As a key part of the National IP Publicity Week that officially kicked off on Thursday, the two-day forum, which started shortly after the opening ceremony of the weeklong campaign, has attracted nearly 500 participants from China and abroad, organizers said.

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