China to revise patent laws to meet WTO rule |

China to revise patent laws to meet WTO rule

SHANGHAI, China ” China plans to adjust its patent law to better meet its WTO obligations, boost innovation and safeguard economic security, state media reported Thursday.

Research on an amendment to the Patent Law began earlier this year, with proposed changes to be disclosed by the national legislature next year, the state-run newspaper China Daily quoted Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, as saying.

“I hope the amendment can be completed by 2008,” Tian said, according to the report.

China joined the trade rules-making World Trade Organization in 2001 with pledges to open its own markets and fight commercial piracy that costs Western companies an estimated $16 billion in lost sales each year.

While experts say China’s laws are generally up to international standards, enforcement of those laws is extremely lax. Foreign businesses also complain of long delays in obtaining Chinese patents due to a huge backlog of applications.

Poor protection of intellectual property also harms innovation, a problem the legal changes hope to address by making it easier for Chinese citizens to obtain patents, Tian said.

“We have to find urgent solutions to these problems,” he said.

Revisions will likely include a simplification of patent application and examination procedures, the report said. Lawmakers will also consider whether to adopt international standards in granting patents and ways to improve patent protection.

All aspects of intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks and copyrights, will be considered, Tian said.

Tian’s office is also planning to propose setting up courts specializing in cases involving intellectual property rights.

The State Intellectual Property Office has proposed adding sections on protecting China’s biological and genetic resources, perhaps requiring patent applicants to disclose the origin of the materials they use, the report said.

The amendments to the law are part of a new “national IPR strategy,” the report said.

That strategy calls for setting up strong laws and regulations, improving companies’ ability to innovate, and training experts in intellectual property rights, it said.

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