China opposes using IPR as a tool of protectionism: official

BEIJING, April 5 (Xinhua) - Foreign intellectual property owners have enjoyed great benefits from the effective protection provided by China, a Chinese official said Wednesday, pointing out that the U.S. Section 301 investigation is merely using IPR as an excuse for trade protectionism.

"IPR should be a bridge to international innovation cooperation, rather than weapon used to limit other countries' development," said Zhang Zhicheng, director of the Protection and Coordination Department at the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO). In 2017, China paid 28.6 billion U.S. dollars of intellectual property royalties to overseas rights owners, up from 1.9 billion dollars in 2001, according to SIPO.

Zhang said that China's intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is not only a commitment to wider opening-up, but also an essential requirement for its own development.

China has taken unprecedented measures to protect IPR over the past 5 years. The level of social satisfaction with IPR protection in China climbed from a score of 63.69 to 72.38 between 2012 and 2016, according to a survey by SIPO.

"China has gained recognition from both home and abroad for its improvement of IPR protection, and registered more international applications as a result." Zhang said.

In 2017, SIPO granted 23,679 patents to U.S. applicants, which ranked second among foreign countries. Qualcomm Incorporated gained the biggest number of patents in China among foreign applicants in 2017.

"It is clearly not reasonable to conclude that China has not effectively protected the U.S. companies' intellectual property rights, "Zhang said.