Policies that China recently adopted on strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights could increase confidence of foreign companies in China, an IP industry expert says.

"China's five-year plan on improving IPR protection may help instill confidence in a market that is too large to dismiss lightly," said Mei Gechlik, founder and chief executive of the website Sinotalks.

Gechlik was referring to a five-year plan adopted last year by the Supreme People's Court (SPC) for the judicial protection of IPR.

"It could boost confidence in the Chinese market because it clearly identifies the goal to improve 'the state of judicial protection of intellectual property rights' by 2025 through various measures, including the development of 'the intellectual property adjudication guidance system to which Guiding Cases serve as guides'," said Gechlik, founder and former director of the China Guiding Cases Project at Stanford Law School.

China's SPC has issued more than 30 intellectual property-related Guiding Cases over the past decade. The "impressive guiding principles stated in those Guiding Cases allow one to feel optimistic about the accomplishment of the 2025 Goal," Gechlik said.

For example, Guiding Case No.113 has established clear principles to allow a foreign natural person (the basketball player Michael Jordan) to seek protection of any specific name used by "the relevant public" in China to refer to the person so long as specific conditions are met.

"These principles help combat malicious registration of celebrities' names as trademarks," Gechlik said.

Last year several moves were made to strengthen IPR protection in China, such as the Outline of Construction of an IP Powerhouse Country (2021-35), which sets out targets for China's IPR protection system.

The Outline and the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for National Economic and Social Development have accelerated the process of intellectual property protection in China, said Zhang Xuan, an executive of IP House, a Chinese IP data provider, at a recent seminar hosted by the University of California, Berkeley.

The law made an important change from protecting products to protecting designs, which is more in line with international industrial design rules, Zhang said.


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