Sep 29

China Watch Blog has learnt that a law expert is of the opinion that innovation and the resulting intellectual property (IP) will increasingly serve as a core element of China’s economic development, and that China’s rule of law will be the catalyst of efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of managed socio-economic change.
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“Innovation and IP will play a key role to reform China’s science and technology research and development,” said law expert Richard L. Thurston, who is Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd. (TSMC), a leading semiconductor manufacturer worldwide and has its headquarters in Taiwan, China.

“The focus of IP innovation is all about assets, and over time, that will enable China’s economic development,” Thurston said in a keynote speech delivered at John Marshall Law School in downtown Chicago.

He also noted that China is serious about its sustainable law reform, but not on the same basis nor for the same reasons as in the United States.

He believed that China will continue to reform its legal system and enforce its IP laws domestically, while modifying its IP system accordingly.

Meanwhile, he predicted that China’s companies will prioritize strategic IP portfolio development, seek to take the lead in the world in the years to come, and actively enforce their IP both at home and overseas.

Thurston also commented on China’s current priority. “China is focusing more and more on research and development … China is committed to protecting those assets with its evolving IP system,” he said.

The law expert, who cited recent statistics to explain his views, said: “In 2009, 543.3 billion yuan were spent by China on R&D, a 17.7 percent increase over 2008. In 2009, China had 976,686 patent applications, of which 877,611 were domestic. In 2009, China had 314,573 new inventions, of which 229,096 were domestic.”

By the end of 2009, of 1,520,000 total patents registered in China, 1,193,000 were domestic, he said, adding that: “All of these numbers reflect China’s focus on innovation and R&D.” The law expert also touched on China’s law reforms. “There have been many initiatives in law reforms — for example, the ongoing creation of many new arbitration commissions such as in October 2008, the creation of the Shanghai IP Arbitration Court with 24 professional consultants and arbitrators,” he said.

“The rule of law is crucial to China’s drive for greater scientific and technological innovation,” he said.

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