Australia’s first IP counsellor to China, David Bennett, shares his updates:

Today we celebrate the importance of intellectual property (IP) in encouraging innovation and creativity. China has held a National Intellectual Property Publicity Week under the theme 'Innovation and creation changes lives and intellectual property creates better future'. The week is aimed at increasing IP awareness in Chinese society.

China understands the value of IP and is determined to become a ‘powerful IP nation’. China's 13th five-year plan (2016-2020) recognises that strong intellectual property protection and enforcement will be key to achieving its objective of innovation-driven economic growth.

The last several months has seen a number of IP developments in China. At the recent ‘Two Sessions’ of the Chinese legislatures in March, Premier Li Keqiang called for greater punishment for counterfeiting and copyright violations. New provisions from the Supreme People's Court and revised trade mark examination guidelines from the Chinese Trade Mark Office clarify the grounds on which to fight bad faith trade mark filings. The State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) revised the patent examination guidelines to clarify supplemental data filing for pharmaceutical inventions and strengthen protection for business method and software patents. We can also expect to see substantial amendments to China's patent law in 2017.

IP Australia and SIPO signed a new Memorandum of Understanding during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Australia in March. The new agreement builds on our existing strong relationship and sets the scene for increasing IP cooperation between our countries.

Finally, IP Australia’s annual flagship publication, the Australian Intellectual Property Report 2017 was released today. Its key findings show that China is the main overseas destination for Australian trade mark applicants and the third largest overseas destination for Australian patent applicants. These statistics demonstrate China is a country of choice for IP protection as Australian businesses seek international opportunities. 

My first four months as Australian IP Counsellor to China have been both rewarding and challenging. Much progress has been made, but Chinese and foreign companies still face challenges protecting their IP.

Happy World IP Day from Beijing!


24 April 2017