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Chinese ideas to be integrated into international IPR reform

Author  :  Xu Hongju     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-01-24

China is now rapidly advancing from “made in China” to “intelligent manufacturing in China” characterized by the integration of information technology with the manufacturing industry. To maintain the innovation and vitality of intelligent manufacturing, China needs to implant the country’s own concepts into the reform of international intellectual property rights (IPR) rules, which is also conducive to creating a good environment for the globalization of intelligent manufacturing.

Today, relatively stable international rules have formed in international trade, investment and financial areas. However, in terms of IPR, the rules are constantly changing because of conflicts between countries. Most conflicts here are between countries with different innovative capacities.

With relatively low levels of technological advancement, developing countries find it hard to break the technological monopoly of developed countries. The developing countries have become the single payer of IPR costs, and that’s why they resist some unfair international IPR rules.

Current international IPR rules have a different influence on countries with varied levels of technologies. Therefore, reforms are needed. For China, seizing the opportunity of reform to promote the establishment of more fair and rational IPR rules is also key to improving the global influence of China’s intelligent manufacturing.

China’s innovative ability is on the rise. In reforming IPR rules, we should not take as reference either the technological level of developing countries or that of developed countries. The first step is to correctly evaluate the position of the country’s innovation capacity in the globe and then to decide the goal of the global strategy as well as the appropriate attitude in negotiations for setting up international IPR rules. This requires both quantitative and qualitative analysis of domestic innovators, contributing factors and other elements.

In general, China’s goal is to create fairer and more rational international IPR rules that can let people around the world share the benefits brought by innovations and inventions. While global competition in the IPR area is increasing, these kinds of rules will also safeguard the sustainable development of the global economy.

Some current international IPR rules were made to ensure the optimal interests of only a small group of communities. They do not consider developing countries and hence cannot protect the common interests of mankind.

For example, eco-friendly technologies help to prevent the deterioration of the global climate. But developed countries encourage rights holders to refuse the cross-board promotion of these technologies. In this way, IPR rules become a means to enhance trade protectionism.

The objective of China’s international IPR rule reforms is to avoid this kind of practice and guarantee that most countries are treated equally and make common progress while promoting technological innovation. It also ensures that most countries benefit from international IPR rules, based on which the sustainable development of the mankind can be realized.

To this end, China can make use of opportunities to formulate multilateral trade agreements or regional free trade agreements. Also, China can utilize the mechanisms for resolving disputes within the WTO.

At present, China should be especially active in solving disputes involving IPR rights in the international community. China can elaborate on its ideas and promote the shift to the inclusive development of international IPR rules that further the interest of most countries. This is not only necessary for developing intellectual manufacturing in China but also a duty of China as a major country in the world.


Xu Hongju is from the Law School of Dalian Maritime University.

Editor: Yu Hui

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