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Government unveils 2013 intellectual property plan

An interdepartmental agency comprising 28 Chinese government organizations last week released its annual intellectual property plan of action.

Composed of 84 detailed measures, the plan is intended to fulfill eight major tasks, including intellectual property creation, protection, utilization, management and awareness promotion.

Last year, the agency issued 90 measures. Despite having fewer items, this year's plan has more clearly defined targets regarding the agency's next steps, said Huang Qing, director of the protection and coordination department at the State Intellectual Property Office.

Two of the focuses will be review and assessment of the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy, which was launched five years ago, and IP strategies in some key industries, Huang said.

Another highlight of this year's plan is a greater focus on work that requires cooperation among government departments.

According to the plan, the nation's intellectual property strategy will be integrated with policies for a number of industries. The plan calls for increasing efforts in terms of IP risk assessment and advisory functions in some emerging industries of strategic importance.

Huang said that more than half of the measures in the plan are aimed to encourage "innovation among all members of society".

"On the road of innovation-powered development, the intellectual property strategy plays an important role in commercializing the fruits of innovation," he said.

In 2012, more than 2 million patent applications were filed in China, including nearly 20,000 via the Patent Cooperation Treaty. More than 1.2 million patents were granted. Of those, 217,000 were invention patents, an increase of 26.1 percent compared to 2011.

The quantity of patents is the foundation of quality, and a basic indicator used to judge a nation's innovative capacity, said Huang.

"The rapidly growing number of patents over recent years shows an increasing awareness of innovation," he said.

However, he stressed that patent quality, not quantity, is the more important indicator.

Chen Wentong, deputy director of the national trademark office, said that having a proper trademark strategy provides "strong support and a guarantee of the nation's innovation strategy".

"Today China is still short of internationally recognized famous brands," Chen said.

Although it ranks first in the world in terms of the number of trademarks, the brands themselves are relatively weaker, Chen said.

The trademark authority is planning to build a national trademark research center and a clearinghouse for trademark-related administrative enforcement and judicial information, Chen said.

Last year, the number of trademark applications nationwide grew 16.3 percent to 1.6 million.

At the same time, the number of copyright registrations for software grew to 139,000 and registrations of other works reached 688,000, a record high in both categories.

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