Renata Righetti Pelosi, President of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (Photo: AIPPI)
"The development of intellectual property in China over the past 30 years is as impressive as the country's economic growth," said Renata Righetti Pelosi, President of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI), in an interview with China Intellectual Property News recently.
In her eyes, the reason for the development is twofold. On the one hand, the needs of local economic operators have increasingly overlapped with those from abroad and the mutual knowledge and understanding has increased drastically. On the other hand, China has many talented IP attorneys, with a truly global vision, that are leading the rapid growth of this sector.
In her mind, IP has played a vital role in China's transforming from a manufacturing-based economic system to an economy based on innovation in science and technology and its establishing global scientific and innovation centers in many cities. “The effort to become the world's major scientific and innovation centre requires a shift of companies' attention towards investments in basic research that can deliver innovative science and technology. As Chinese companies begin to innovate at more and more profitable levels, they find themselves needing to protect their own inventions against the predations of others. So the tech giants value IP protection at home and abroad now," Pelosi said.
"Despite the efforts and significant progress, we still face very problematic cases in China today. As far as trademarks are concerned, we still see cases in which very famous trademarks are filed by individuals whose sole purpose is to gain an undue advantage," Pelosi said. In a bid to solve these problems, China has taken series of measures to strengthen IP protection, such as the new amendments to the Chinese Trademark Law enacted on November 1, 2019 suggest to establish a system of punitive damages for willful infringement and largely increase the maximum amount of statutory damages. "To the extent, the statutory damages and punitive damages are effective in deterring illegal conducts and IP rights infringement," Pelosi said, adding that education should be on the agenda of all institutions dealing with IP.
In Pelosi's opinion, differences between the European Union and China legal ecosystems made it challenging to meet the needs of European IP owners, the relentless work of legislative reform has made the Chinese system very reliable. "China is strongly committed to the introduction of new and increasingly stringent rules. On this front, therefore, it is reasonable to expect that any shortcoming, if any, will be resolved in a not too distant future," Pelosi concluded.