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On 6 April 2018, the Daily Telegraph and its website published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “Through Open Cooperation, We Can Protect Intellectual Property Rights”. The full text is as follows:


2018年4月6日,英国发 行量最大的主流大报《每日电讯报》纸质版 和网络版同时刊登驻英国大使刘晓明题为《坚持开放合作,保护知识产权》的署名文章。全文如下:

Through Open Cooperation, We Can Protect Intellectual Property Rights



Liu Xiaoming



The recent US announcement to invoke “Article 301” and raise tariffs on Chinese goods is a typical unilateral and protectionist move that severely breaches WTO rules. The arguments for such move, namely, allegations of China “stealing” intellectual property from the US and “forcing” US firms to transfer technology, laid bare the absolute “pride and prejudice” on the part of the US, which has completely ignored China’s tremendous efforts and progress in IPR protection.


最近,美国依据所谓“301调查”,污蔑中国“窃取”美国知识产权,指责中国“强制”美国企业转让技术,宣布将 对中国商品加征关税。美方无 视中国不断加强知识产权保护的事实,其所作 所为不仅严重违反世贸组织规定,是典型 的单边主义和贸易保护主义,也是赤裸裸的“傲慢与偏见”。


Has China achieved progress by “stealing” property from the US? What has China done to protect IPR? Facts speak louder than words.


那么,中国真是靠“窃取”美国知 识产权得到发展的吗?中国在 保护知识产权方面做得又如何呢?事实胜于雄辩。


As a 5,000-year-old civilisation that has famously contributed, among numerous ideas and innovations, the “four great inventions”, a phrase coined by British sinologist Joseph Edkins to refer to paper-making, the compass, gunpowder and movable-type printing, China has continued to make major breakthroughs in innovation in modern times. Since the founding of the New China, especially since reform and opening-up, China has contributed most notably artemisinin (anti-malaria medicine), synthetic insulin and hybrid rice, and is leading the world in the new round of scientific revolution featuring artificial intelligence, electric vehicles and 5G communication technology.


According to a recent report issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), China was the second largest source of international patent applications filed in 2017 under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty and was expected to overtake the US, which was the largest, within three years. The same report listed two Chinese technology companies, Huawei and ZTE, as the top filers of international patent applications in 2017. Within China, the State Intellectual Property Office received nearly 1.4 million applications for invention patents in 2017, outnumbering the US, Japan, the ROK and Europe combined. These facts and figures speak loud and clear: China is becoming a world leader in scientific and technological innovation.


首先,中国创 新成就举世瞩目。在五千年文明史中,中国贡 献了诸多促进人类社会发展的重大创新成果。中国人 最早发明了造纸术、指南针、火药和印刷术,英国汉学家艾约瑟(Joseph Edkins)将其称为“四大发明”介绍给世界。新中国 成立特别是改革开放以来,中国不仅取得青蒿素、人工胰岛素、杂交水 稻等重大创新突破,还在人工智能、电动汽车、5G通信等 新一轮科技革命中走在时代前沿。世界知 识产权组织不久前发布的报告显示,中国是2017年《专利合作条约》框架下 国际专利申请第二大来源国,有望在3年内赶 超现在排名第一的美国,中国华为、中兴两 家科技企业成为2017年最大 的国际专利申请人。去年,中国国 家知识产权局受理的发明专利申请量达138.2万件,超过美国、日本、韩国以 及欧洲专利局总和。中国日 益成为世界科技创新的引领力量。


Such a level of innovative outcomes could not have been possible without stringent and robust efforts in IP protection. Following a complete and systematic legal revisions around the time of its accession to the WTO in 2001, China has established a full-fledged system of domestic IPR laws and regulations that conforms to both international practice and China’s national conditions.


Further improvements in judicial safeguards are made in recent years, with the establishment of the intellectual property courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and the specialised IP tribunals in 15 cities. Public awareness of IPR has been notably increased, evidenced by over 210,000 first instance court cases and over 40,000 administrative cases last year involving IP disputes and patent enforcement respectively. In 2017, China paid $28.6 billion in intellectual property royalties to overseas rights owners, up from $1.9 billion dollars in 2001 when China joined the WTO.


At the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the decision was made to restructure the State Intellectual Property Office in order to improve the IP management system. Furthermore, the process of amending the Patent Law will be accelerated, which will step up legal measures against IPR infringement by introducing punitive damages. This will be conducive a pro-innovation and business-friendly environment in China where foreign and domestic companies receive equal IP protection. 


Of course, no country is perfect and China is no exception. It has its problems, such as the immature system, insufficient protection and inefficient punishment measures. But these “growing pains” will be addressed gradually as China continues to develop.


第二,中国知 识产权保护水平不断提升。知识产 权是科技创新的“刚需”。2001年加入 世界贸易组织前后,中国全 面系统修订知识产权法律法规,建立了 符合国际通行规则和中国国情的知识产权法律体系。近年来,中国在北京、上海、广州设 立了知识产权法院,在15个城市 设立知识产权专门审判机构,不断完 善知识产权司法保障体系。去年中 国法院新收一审知识产权案件超过21万件,专利行 政执法办案总量突破4万件,中国人 对知识产权的维权和应用意识显著提升。2001年“入世”时,中国对 外支付的知识产权使用费仅有19亿美元,2017年达到286亿美元。今年“两会”期间,中国政 府决定重新组建国家知识产权局,进一步 完善知识产权管理体制,并将加快推动“专利法”修订,实行侵 权惩罚性赔偿制度,加大对 侵权行为的惩治力度。中国始 终坚持对国内外企业的知识产权一视同仁、同等保护,努力营 造良好的创新环境和营商环境。当然,在保护 知识产权问题上,没有一 个国家是十全十美的,中国也 存在制度不够成熟、保护不够到位、惩戒不够有效等问题。但我相信,这些问题只是“成长中的烦恼”,必将随 着中国的进一步发展逐步得到解决。


Globalisation and economic interdependence are irreversible, which means “closing the door” and conversion to protectionism is not a winning path. In IP protection, countries should also be open to cooperation, and this is exactly what China is. After being a member of WIPO for nearly 30 years, China welcomed the opening of a WIPO office in Beijing in 2014. China actively promoted IP protection under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and within the BRICS. Several days ago, China and its BRICS partners, namely, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, signed the Joint Statement on Strengthening Intellectual Property Cooperation to boost progress of IP development and protection in emerging economies. China also holds regular dialogues on IP protection with the UK, EU and US, and signed the Patent Prosecution Highway agreement with over 20 countries and regions. 


These are a few highlights of China’s active efforts to build a more balanced, universally beneficial and inclusive global intellectual property system.


第三,中国知 识产权国际合作日益深入。全球化 是不可逆转的趋势,世界各 国经济相互依存,“关上大门”、奉行保护主义只能“损人不利己”。知识产 权领域发展亦应坚持开放、包容。中国加 入世界知识产权组织已近30年,2014年该组 织还在北京设立了办事处。中国积极推动在“一带一路”、金砖国 家等框架下开展知识产权合作,不久前 金砖国家共同签署了“知识产 权合作联合声明”,共同推 动新兴经济体知识产权发展;中国还与英国、欧盟、美国等 建立了知识产权对话交流机制,与超过20个国家和地区签订了“专利审查高速路”协议,为推动 全球知识产权体系向平衡、普惠、包容的 方向发展做出积极贡献。


The US allegation of “forced technology transfer” is an excuse that clearly has in mind suppressing scientific innovation in China and protecting US domestic industries. This is the complete opposite to the Chinese traditional wisdom that “to establish oneself, one should help others establish themselves; to achieve success, one should help others succeed”.


Moreover, this allegation is totally wrong. The fact is, there is not a single provision in Chinese laws that says foreign companies must transfer technology to their Chinese partners.


Moreover, China has taken firm actions against IPR infringements and never tolerated “force” technology transfers. The deals between Chinese and American companies are commercial actions and independent decisions of the companies involved after consultations on an equal basis. They are completely in line with business and market principles, and they have created huge job opportunities for the US.


美国以“强制技术转让”为借口 打压中国科技创新、保护本 国产业的做法是完全错误的。中国没 有任何一条法律规定外国企业必须将其技术转让给中国企业。中国坚 决打击知识产权领域不法行为,决不允 许让来华投资的外企“强制转让技术”。中美企 业之间的技术转让完全是由企业平等协商、自主决定、有偿交易,遵循商 业和市场化原则,并为美 国创造了大量就业岗位。


America is good at innovation, but America does not hold the exclusive “patent” on innovation. The past 40 years of reform and opening-up in China have seen the country highly integrated with the world and supplying the global market with goods that are not only “made in China” but also “created in China” and “innovated in China”. China’s economy is in a transition from high-speed to high-quality growth, with an emphasis on innovation, which has been an enabling force behind China’s remarkable progress in IP protection.


美国是 富有创新的国家,但创新不是美国的“专利”。中国改革开放40年来,已与世界高度融合,“中国制造”和“中国创造”广受欢迎,“中国创新”如火如荼。中国经 济已经从高速增长阶段转向高质量发展阶段,“创新驱动”成为中 国经济增长主要动力之一。中国在 知识产权保护领域取得的成就也有目共睹。


While pursuing an innovation-driven development strategy, which naturally leads to better IP protection, China is open to cooperation with like-minded partners including the UK and EU. There is a high-degree of complementarity and broad prospect for cooperation between China and the UK, and between China and the EU on creative industry, and current cooperation on IP protection has produced notable results in terms of legislation, policies, data exchanges, IT tools and personnel training.


China stands ready to work with the world to uphold open cooperation and protect IPR, with a view to delivering the benefits of scientific and technological innovation to everyone.


“己欲立而立人,己欲达而达人”。中国正 在坚定实施创新驱动发展战略,坚定保护知识产权。中英、中欧科 技创新合作互补性强、前景广阔,在知识 产权保护领域合作进展良好,在法律政策、数据交换、信息化工具、人员培 训等领域合作成果显著。我们愿 继续同各国一道努力,坚持开放合作,保护知识产权,推动科 技创新成果更好造福世界各国人民。


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