New legal framework to revamp enforcement in 2020

China will improve its regulatory framework for intellectual property rights to better support innovation, a senior official with the nation's top patent office said during the Boao Forum for Asia on Friday.

Shen Changyu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, said China will improve intellectual property laws and regulations under the framework of the General Principles of Civil Law, a new civil code to be enacted in 2020.

Judicial departments will step up their efforts to strengthen enforcement of intellectual property rights laws, according to Shen.

SIPO data show that a total of 87,000 intellectual property cases were addressed during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15).

Shen's comment follows the central government's attempts to redefine intellectual property protection and use this year.

The State Council issued a guideline in January specifying goals and major tasks for the development of intellectual property during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

China will primarily focus on improving regulations related to intellectual property rights in emerging sectors including internet plus, e-commerce and big data, according to the guideline.

Patents are expected to increase from 6.3 per 10,000 people in 2015 to 12 per 10,000 in 2020, and royalties earned abroad are expected to rise from $4.44 billion in 2015 to around $10 billion in 2020, according to the guideline.

Qualcomm President Derek Aberle said the government's efforts to better protect and enforce intellectual property rights in China have already made it easier for foreign enterprises to do business in the country compared to the past.

China needs to deal with challenges such as unequal enforcement and loopholes in the legal framework, he said.

Aberle said both domestic and foreign companies need a more transparent and more predicable regulatory framework for intellectual property rights, because it would decrease the costs of developing new products.

Wu Handong, former president of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, said a better intellectual property regulatory system will help the Chinese manufacturing sector to catch up with more developed countries.

Although China remains a powerhouse in the manufacturing world, a lack of innovation is one factor holding the sector back behind the United States, according to Wu.

"Innovation and entrepreneurship could thrive if patents are well-protected," Wu said.