March 17, 2023
BEIJING – The recently concluded annual session of the 14th National People’s Congress passed the State Council’s institutional reform plan, signaling the start of a new round of reform which will improve China’s development policy and governance system. The plan includes the restructuring of certain departments, adjusting their functions and responsibilities, and creating new State Council agencies.
The plan also includes the establishment of a “national financial supervision administration” and a “national data bureau”, and the restructuring of the Ministry of Science and Technology. In China’s push for innovation-driven development and better protecting intellectual property rights (IPR), the improvement of the intellectual property management system is an important part in the State Council’s institutional reform.
As a crucial component of the country’s opening-up policy, the new round of reform is critical to strengthening the rule of law, enhancing administrative efficiency, and advancing national and social development. Of particular importance is the plan to improve the management of IPR, which involves adjusting and coordinating the functions of the National Intellectual Property Administration and the State Administration for Market Regulation. This is another important reform in China’s administrative management system to better protect IPR.
The purpose of this round of reform is also to expeditiously build China into an intellectual property powerhouse, and boost the creation, use, protection, management and services of intellectual property.
In September 2021, the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China’s Cabinet, issued the outline of building China into a strong intellectual property country (2021-35). Hence, the reform of the administrative management system for IPR reflects not only the importance of building China into an intellectual property powerhouse but also China’s determination to strengthen IPR protection and promote its utilization.
With the implementation of the new reform plan, China will better manage and protect IPR at the national level through the coordinated efforts of the State Administration for Market Regulation and the National Intellectual Property Administration. The former will handle the administrative law enforcement work related to patents and trademarks, while the latter will provide professional guidance for the work. Also, the National Intellectual Property Administration will be responsible for patent and trademark authorization, foreign intellectual property affairs, and public management of intellectual property.
IPR is an exclusive right enjoyed by intellectual property owners who legally own their creations for use in commerce and industry. Today, intellectual property has become a strategic resource for national development and a core element of global competitiveness. It is a major issue at the national strategic level. And the intellectual property system is highly globalized, with industrialized Western countries having developed and implemented the intellectual property system from a national strategic perspective.
On Jun 5, 2008, the State Council issued the National Intellectual Property Strategy Outline, which has helped China make remarkable achievements in improving the intellectual property system, strengthening IPR protection, and promoting the effective use of intellectual property.
In the context of the development of the digital economy and emerging technologies, the status and role of intellectual property in the economic and social spheres have become increasingly prominent. Recognizing this, China has launched the Intellectual Property Strong Country Construction project.
The Outline of the Construction of Intellectual Property Strong Country (2021-35) proposes to build a modern socialist intellectual property system, create a world-class business environment with a mechanism for protecting intellectual property, and establish efficient systems for incentivizing innovation through intellectual property markets and facilitating public intellectual property services, promote a humanistic social environment for the high-quality development of intellectual property, and participate in global intellectual property governance.
These strategic measures and policies also include improving the management system of intellectual property and strengthening collaborative protection. For example, it proposes to “construct a management system with unified responsibilities, scientific norms, and excellent services”, “establish a convenient, efficient, strict, fair, open, and transparent administrative protection system”, and develop “a collaborative protection pattern with unified leadership, smooth connections, and fast and efficient coordination”.
In fact, the recent reform in IPR protection and administrative management has enabled the State Administration for Market Regulation and the National Intellectual Property Administration to better fulfill their functions in IPR protection and management, and strengthen China’s strategy for applying intellectual property in commerce and industry, in order to transform China into an innovation-driven country and an intellectual property powerhouse.