Patent/trademark-related News in China (updated twice a month)
R&D input '2nd-highest in the world' (2018-02-20)
China leads patent applications worldwide (2018-02-19)
China 'moving forward' in technology research (2018-02-16)
China sees robust technical transaction (2018-02-11)
Guangdong's invention patents top China (2018-02-10)
BBC sues Chinese company for trademark infringement (2018-02-09)
Beijing steps up fight against IPR infringement (2018-02-07)
Asia stands tall, regains top status as innovator (2018-02-01)
Innovation helps boost private firm's turnover (2018-01-30)
Beijing courts handle over 36,000 IPR cases in 2017 (2018-01-29)
AI-enabled smart homes coming soon (2018-01-25)
China to tighten examination of IPR transfer abroad (2018-01-23)
Is paying for knowledge a promising industry? (2018-01-17)
Huawei wins in Samsung patent dispute (2018-01-12)
Nation at forefront of intelligent ship design (2018-01-11)
Zhongguancun eyes AI science park (2018-01-05)
Anti-unfair competition law expands rights range (2018-01-04)
U.S. launches probe into solid state storage (2018-01-04)
Shanxi business wins US patent (2018-01-03)
China has been the world leader in patent applications on inventions for seven consecutive years, said Wan Gang, president of the China Association for Science and Technology.
The Chinese mainland issued about 1.36 million patents on inventions by the end of last year, working out to about 9.8 patents per 10,000 people, according to the State Intellectual Property Office.
"China's input on research and development rose to the second-highest in the world in 2017," said Wan, adding that the number of full-time R&D personnel in China is the high-est in the world.
"For years, China has been investing in major S&T (science and technology) fields, such as infrastructure, high-speed rail, aerospace and biological technology. It is time to reap the fruit," said Zhang Ping, a Peking University professor who specializes in intellectual property.
"China has aimed at science and technology innovation and added R&D investment for years, which aligns with S&T breakthroughs. However, there is no direct link between R&D investment and the increasing number of patent applications. China's great input－such as in aerospace and military industry－is hardly apparent in the patent numbers," Zhang said.
The patents are closely associated with fields such as information technology and communication, which require continuous product updates, she said.
The soaring number patent applications links with preferential government policies, such as rewarding scientists for successful patents and cutting taxes for enterprises that foster them. The policy encourages enterprises to raise investment in patents. Some enterprises bought a few hundred and even a thousand patents in a year or two, Zhang said.
"We need to step up protection of intellectual property rights to promote innovation and improve the business environment," said Shen Changyu, director of the State Intellectual Property Office.
Shen said China should improve the production of intellectual property to raise the quality of technological service.
China has a number of domestically developed core technologies in telecommunications, aviation and space, high-speed railways and nuclear energy. Over the years, the quality of the patents filed in these fields has notably improved, Hu Wenhui, spokesman for the State Intellectual Property Office, said in January.
Professor Zhang also called for improving the quality of patents.
"We must face the reality that China has a great number of patents, but high-quality ones are still in short supply," Zhang said.
"High-quality patents can benefit enterprises, such as when trade conflict occurs. Low-quality patents waste money and obstruct innovation."
"It is money-, energy-and time-consuming to maintain a patent. It is also costly to nullify useless patents," she said.
By market adjustment, enterprises will realize filing for patents is not only for show but for benefits over time. The government should consider rewarding high-quality and competitive patents, and not only focus on the number, Zhang said.
"Patents are not a panacea. Useful patents are powerful and should be valued. Their opposite should not," she said.
China has been the world leader in applications for patent for invention for seven consecutive years, said Wan Gang, president of the China Association for Science and Technology.
China's mainland held about 1.36 million patents for invention by the end of 2017, meaning on average 9.8 patents for invention per 10,000 people, according to the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).
"We need to step up protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) in a bid to promote innovation and improve the business environment," said Shen Changyu, director of the SIPO.
China has a national system for protecting IPR.
"China's input on research and development rose to the second highest in the world in 2017," said Wan, adding that the number of full-time research and development personnel in China now ranks the highest in the world.
Dalian institute is seeking important breakthroughs that can benefit industry immediately, says deputy director
Cai Rui believes China is catching up with the West in the technology race.
The 41-year-old deputy director of the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, one of China's national-level science institutes, says the country is now making major progress.
"We are getting closer and closer to the US and countries like the UK. China is moving forward in all areas of research," he says.
A report published in December by the European Commission, "The 2017 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard", pointed to an 18.8 percent increase in research and development spending by some of China's top companies in 2016.
"We are seeing within our institutions an annual increase in our budget of about 10 percent. We also getting a lot of support from industry as well, since everyone has an interest in investing in technology," he says.
General Secretary Xi Jinping, in his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October, set the objective for China to become a global technological leader by 2035.
With its Made in China 2025 strategy, China also has the more immediate goal of making breakthroughs in such areas as artificial intelligence and robotics.
Cai, speaking in a meeting room at the institute's Xinghai campus in Dalian, Liaoning province, says the goals have created a lot of energy, adding that turning them into reality is now part of a general national effort.
Cai says that when he returned from the United States in 2010 and "went to the city government and talked to them about supporting ideas, the response was often quite slow. Now they just come to us and ask for our ideas."
The Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics is the obvious place to go. It is by far the biggest research institute in Dalian and one of 104 national research institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the country's largest research and development institute.
The institute, which was established in 1949, has four campuses where 2,500 people work and study, including 14 members of the CAS and the Chinese Academy of Engineering; 213 professors; 437 associate professors; and around 600 students pursuing PhDs.
It attracts 1 billion yuan ($158.9 million; 129.7 million euros; ￡114.9 million) in research funding each year and has 10 international research centers on its campuses in which it collaborates with international partners.
Two of its most important collaborations are with British oil conglomerate BP and Saudi Arabian chemicals giant SABIC.
With BP, it set up an Energy Innovation Lab in 2008, and with SABIC, it founded the Research Center for Advanced Chemicals Production Technology in 2013.
"With BP, we have the longest history ... setting up an office here with just one person in 2000. They have about 10 people on campus right now. We have learned a lot from them, particularly in areas like protecting intellectual property and how to negotiate - areas in which scientists often don't have enough knowledge."
The SABIC research center is involved in research in a number of areas, including new, fossil and alternative energy as well as fine chemicals and new materials.
"SABIC is one of the largest chemical companies in the world. The collaboration fits in with the government's Belt and Road policies," adds Cai.
Cai says Chinese institutes such as the DICP are often more open to foreigners than their counterparts in the West, particularly in the US.
"There is research going on here related to national security activities and to spacecraft technology, yet we allow foreigners to join us here. We regard this as perfectly normal, but to work in such a national laboratory in the US, you would probably need a green card at least to do so," he says.
The institute is ranked first among CAS institutes for the number of patents it has granted over the past five years and third in terms of the number of academic publications it has published, after the Beijing-based Institute of Chemistry and the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry.
Cai admits the institute's strength is in applied research, coming up with breakthroughs that can be of immediate benefit to industry.
"Our strength is in doing applied research for commercialization. Within the CAS system, we do have a lot of prestigious institutes working on fundamental or blue-sky research. If you go to Beijing to the Institute of Chemistry or the Institute of Physics, 95 percent of the people there will be working on fundamental research. There is a lot of support from government and also the CAS headquarters for this kind of research," he says.
"At the CPC's 19th National Congress last year Xi Jinping mentioned that fundamental research was the key to China achieving its national goals."
Cai, who was appointed deputy director of the institute last year, presents a youthful modern face for the DICP.
Fluent in English, he is not a native of Dalian but is from Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province.
He studied chemistry at Nanjing University and then moved to Liaoning to get his PhD in physical chemistry at the DICP.
However, he has experience in both Chinese and Western scientific academia after spending five years as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, before returning to the DICP in 2010 as an associate professor.
Cai believes that Chinese academic institutions do not lag behind their Western counterparts in the quality of scientific education. One of the criticisms of the Chinese system is that the quality of teaching at PhD level in China is poorer and more limited and that the thinking is more rigid than at Western universities.
"I just don't think this is true," says Cai. "China is a big country, and we have many different universities. I think people here are often more diligent and devoted to their studies. Certainly that was my experience when I was at Riverside in California, which is a middle-ranking university in the US," says Cai.
"It does, however, depend on the institution. While in California I also spent some time at Caltech (the California Institute of Technology), which was a totally different story. Clearly at places like Harvard also, students work very hard."
A key effort of the institute is to address China's energy needs. One of the country's major problems is that it has to import most of its oil, much of which has to be shipped through the Strait of Malacca, the narrow shipping lane that connects the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Last year, the DICP put into operation the world's first plant capable of producing ethanol from coal. Launched in conjunction with Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group in January last year, it has the capacity to produce 100,000 metric tons of anhydrous ethanol annually.
"We have to focus on coal in China because we don't have any choice," adds Cai. "We import 60 percent of our oil from overseas and last year probably 65 percent. If our oil supplies had been cut off, what can we do?"
The work of the institute is aligned with China's Energy Innovation Action Plan (2016-30) as well as President's Xi's call for an "energy revolution" in terms of consumption, production, technology, policy and international cooperation.
"Most of us are doing energy-related research. We are trying to develop technologies that are more efficient and produce less pollution. We also have a team working on fuel cells and battery technologies as well as new energy, solar energy and a broad range of other technologies," he says.
Cai says it is wrong to see Northeast China, built on traditional heavy industries, as an area of inevitable decline, since these industries can be modernized and play a major role in the country's modernization.
"These industries are very important and they are the base of this area. We have a lot of existing infrastructure, let alone a lot of workers in these industries. The challenge is to remodel this whole sector and bring in new industries. This really should be the blueprint for the development of Northeast China," he says.
More than 367,000 technical contracts were signed in China in 2017, up 14.7 percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology on Sunday.
The transaction volume of the contracts totaled 1.34 trillion yuan (213 billion U.S. dollars), with a year-on-year increase of 17.7 percent, the ministry said.
Technical service contracts totaled 682.6 billion yuan in value, an increase of 16.7 percent from 2016. Contracts for technical development also saw a rise in transaction volume.
Electronic information, urban construction and social development, and transportation are the top three fields that gained the most value.
The transaction volume of aeronautics and astronautics contracts went up 59 percent while those for nuclear application technology went down 62 percent than the previous year.
A rise in transaction volume also occurred in such fields as new energy, high-efficiency and energy-conserving technology, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, environmental protection and bio-medical industries.
Over 40 percent of transactions were contracts involving intellectual property rights. The transaction volume of invention patents grew by 19.2 percent in value year on year.
China's patent ownership is expected to increase from 6.3 per 10,000 people in 2015 to 12 per 10,000 in 2020, according to State Council plan on intellectual property as part of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).
South China's Guangdong Province has topped the country in the number of valid invention patents over the past eight years, according to local authorities.
By the end of 2017, the number of valid invention patents in the province reached 208,500, said He Jufeng, deputy director of the Guangdong Intellectual Property Office.
He said companies in the province were leading contributors to the rising number of invention patents.
Last year, Guangdong had accepted 455,400 patent applications from 56,000 companies, accounting for more than 72.5 percent of the total number of patent applications in the province.
In 2017, Guangdong had four firms in the list of top 10 companies in invention patent grants on the Chinese mainland.
China is determined to push out Bitcoin, the price of which has drastically halved since it once topped $20,000 a coin, but the country has always been a staunch supporter of blockchain, the underlying technology on which the cryptocurrency kingdom was built.
In fact, the nation is taking the lead in blockchain technology development. The whole nation, from small- and medium-sized financial institutes to state-owned bodies, is actively exploring the technology.
Blockchain, an open, distributed ledger that records transactions among parties in a verifiable and permanent way, was first written into China’s 13th Five-Year Plan for the development of information technology in December 2016, as one of the major tasks and projects for the nation, along with other cutting-edge technology including quantum communication, AI, and autonomous driving.
In his new book “Blockchain: Quantum Wealth,” Han Feng, a supervisor at iCenter of Tsinghua University, observed that the new decentralized technology would unveil a new pattern of financial consumption.
IBM estimates that decentralized operations can cut management costs by 99 percent compared with centralized operations. For banks specifically, as much as $20 billion in operation costs could be saved every year, according to Santander Group.
In the latest ranking on blockchain patent rights holders, nearly half of the top 100 international companies are from China, and Jack Ma’s Alibaba sat on top with a total of 49 patents on blockchain technology, while the cryptocurrency research institute from People’s Bank of China ranked third with 33 patents. Bank of America Corporation took second with 44 patents, according to IPR Daily.
In addition to business players, Chinese academics were also highly involved in promoting the technology. China’s first blockchain research center at the university level was set up at Beihang University in Beijing, while Tsinghua University is one of the world’s first universities to set up postgraduate courses on the technology.
Tsinghua University also boasts a student association on blockchain made up of 153 members from computer science and other majors. The association aims to apply the technology to more real-life situations.
“Blockchain will play a key role in physical and virtual worlds. We want to explore and find out how the decentralized technology can best serve us,” said Jia Yinghao, head of the association, at a January summit held at the university.
Thanks to its decentralized peer-to-peer network that adheres to a set protocol, blockchain is also highly-secure and easy to audit, which cuts down on fraud, Han noted in his book.
“Cyberattacks on any single point would be futile. You would have to attack more than 50 percent of the countless blocks, which would cost hundreds of millions of yuan,” wrote Han, who is also the secretary general of Distributed Autonomous Coalition Asia (DACA), a large association initiated by OKCoin, BTCC, Vitalik Buterin (founder of Ethereum), and other important platforms of blockchain and Bitcoin.
The world’s pioneers have been leveraging the new technology to facilitate their operations. In as early as 2015, NASDAQ completed its first transaction based on blockchain technology, which means the stock was sold to an investor without a third-party agent or a stock exchange.
Also in 2015, a coalition called R3 CEV was set up among world’s biggest financial institutes in a bid to build a new operating system for financial markets. China’s Pingan Bank was the first Chinese financial institute to join the consortium, along with international counterparts such as Citibank and JP Morgan.
The Chinese version of R3 was launched in 2016 and it has welcomed at least 25 members since 2017.
Though Chinese education authorities are decreasing the number of questions for the English part of college entrance exams, students and their parents haven't stopped trying to learning English, with apps eagerly feeding this demand.
Among the thousands of learning brands focused on English, it seems nothing can shake the Chinese belief in recognizable names like "BBC," "CNN," and "VOA." App developers regularly use "BBC" as bait to get more downloads.
Recently, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has lodged an appeal against Chinese technology company, Iyuba, for using BBC's trademark and content on its website, app and WeChat push messages without any authorization, according to the Haidian District People's Court in Beijing on Tuesday.
The BBC is seeking 500,000 yuan (80,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation and asked the company to cease infringing on its trademark which was said to be registered in China in the 1980s.
Established in London in 1922, the BBC is the world's oldest national broadcasting organization and the largest broadcaster in the world. According to the Trademark Office of the country's administration for industry and commerce, it displays a total of 263 trademarks registered by the BBC in China, covering video and audio teaching materials and devices, and publishing.
According to The Paper, a Shanghai-based news outlet, the BBC claimed that they had sent multiple letters to ask Iyuba to remove their brand from content and messages.
Iyuba hasn't issued any statement about the appeal, but the trademark and content of BBC have been removed from its website. However, the use of "BBC" can still be found in the headlines of its push messages on WeChat.
Established in 2012, the Beijing-based company aims to make their online platform the best way for people to learn English and Chinese. Over 85 kinds of apps on language learning can be seen in its app stores.
Scotch whisky will be protected under law in China for a further decade, following the renewal of its trademark during British Prime Minister Theresa May's visit to China.
The protection means that any bottle of spirit sold in China labeled "Scotch whisky", or bearing a Chinese translation with the same meaning, must have been produced in Scotland using methods that distillers have perfected over centuries.
The move is a renewal of trademark protections set up in 2008 to crack down on locally produced spirits in China that are falsely described as Scotch.
Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, helped to secure the renewal while accompanying the UK prime minister on a three-day visit to China.
Betts said the renewal is an important step in securing future growth for the drink in "the world's largest spirits market".
The association says it has investigated around 200 brands of fake "Scotch" in China since 2008, in addition to more than 100 trademarks featuring Scottish words and images.
"While challenges remain, Scotch whisky producers can be confident that the Chinese government officially recognizes Scotch whisky as a Scottish product, produced according to traditional methods, that should be given special recognition in the Chinese market," Betts said.
Whisky has become increasingly popular in China as a growing urban population and middle income earners develop a taste for fine spirits.
British beverage company Diageo says more than 100 whisky bars opened in China in 2016. In the first half of 2017, Scotch exports to China increased by 45 percent year-on-year, totaling 27 million pounds ($37.6 million).
The Scotch Whisky Association is made up of 69 distilleries that produce more than 300 brands of Scotch whisky. Several of its members export to China.
The first record of distilling in Scotland dates to a tax record from 1494, when a Scottish monk placed an order for enough barley to make 1,500 bottles of spirit, indicating the distillery was well established.
Various attempts have been made throughout the centuries to protect Scottish distillers via legal methods. The UK government set up regulations in 1988, and again in 2009, stipulating that whisky labeled as Scotch must be distilled in Scotland from water and malted barley, to which other grains may be added.
Scotch must be matured in Scotland, in oak casks, for no less than three years. Single malt Scotch whisky must be made at the same distillery, using only malted barley. Other varieties, including single grain, blended malt, blended grain, and blended Scotch, are achieved with the addition of certain grains and cereals or by mixing Scotch whiskies together.
Asia regained its status as an innovation hub in 2017 after a brief lapse into second place behind North America in the previous year.
That's according to a report released on Jan 26 by Clarivate Analytics, formerly the intellectual property and science business of Thomson Reuters.
The 2017 Top 100 Global Innovators report shows that the number of top 100 innovators from Asia increased over 15 percent from 39 the previous year to 45, followed by North America with 36 companies and Europe with 19 groups.
Asia has taken the lead in three of the last four years, confirming the region's status as the global innovation powerhouse.
Clarivate Analytics has issued the annual report since 2011.
It selects the world's most dynamic innovative organizations by examining their research capacity, IP protection and commercial performance, especially the volume of patents and the commercialization rate of patents, as well as globalization and influence.
Daniel Videtto, head of Clarivate Analytics' IP and standards business, said the world is undergoing major economic reform, and a major motivator for corporate leaders during this transformational turmoil is innovation.
Innovation can help companies to increase their competitiveness and create sustainable economic development, to promote social progress and improve the quality of people's lives, Videtto said.
The latest report noted that Asia's top 100 companies have outperformed the top 100 as a whole on all metrics, indicating they are producing higher-quality innovation, commercializing that innovation more globally and creating more influential innovation than both the remaining top 100 global innovators and other organizations outside the list.
Organizations on the 2017 list are from 12 countries and regions.
Of these, 85 also made the list in 2016, and six companies - Facebook, Hon Hai, Fuji Electric, Molex, Nichia and Western Digital - appeared on the list for the first time since the program began.
The Chinese mainland featured on the list again, with one standout performer - telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies. Huawei also made the list in 2014 and 2016 and the report said the group showed an improved performance in globalization in line with its strategy to develop a "global response to global needs".
Huawei was also recognized as a first-tier Chinese innovator in the Clarivate Analytics Chinese Top 100 Innovators report published in November, which found that the combined influence metrics of the top 100 Chinese innovators grew by an impressive 60 percent on the previous year.
Clarivate Analytics recently organized an IP and innovation seminar in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, together with the Guangdong Intellectual Property Office.
At the seminar the 2017 Top 100 Global Innovators report was announced. The event attracted more than 100 participants, including senior officials from the provincial IP office and IP leaders of Guangdong companies.
China is one of the world's most dynamic innovators in the research and application of graphene technology, contributing more than half of the global patent applications in the sector, according to a report recently unveiled by the China Innovation Alliance of the Graphene Industry.
According to the Global Graphene Industry Report 2017, 58 percent of the world's graphene patent applications are from China. There are also 76 applicants that have at least 60 applications each in the sector, and 49 of them are from China.
With unique electronic, optical and thermal properties, graphene was listed as a new material with great importance for industrial development in the national science and technology innovation program for the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), which was issued by the State Council in July 2016.
Beijing-based Tunghsu Group, for example, has developed a graphene-based LED light that saves 80 percent in electricity usage and increases luminous efficiency by 20 percent compared with traditional sodium lamps.
The report said that China's graphene market value was worth more than 4 billion yuan ($610.8 million) in 2016, and expected the number to exceed 10 billion yuan in 2017. It estimated the global graphene market value will reach 100 billion yuan by 2020.
By the end of last year, about 4,800 companies in China were involved in graphene-related businesses.
Li Yichun, secretary-general of the industrial alliance, said although China has a huge number of patents, most of them are domestic patents with a low quality on average, and few are core and fundamental patents. Besides, many companies have publicized their patents too early before forming a strategic plan.
Liu Zhaoping, a researcher at the Ningbo Institute of Industrial Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, agreed. He said the fast development of the graphene industry in China is promoted by investment and government planning, but the industry lacks systematic research.
He also said the applications mainly focus on the lower end, and the innovators are mostly small companies. The universities and research institutions, however, have a low rate of patent commercialization.
Of the 49 Chinese organizations with more than 60 graphene patent applications, only five are companies.
"Chinese organizations have been improving their international patent activities over recent years, but still lack an overall plan," Liu said. "Some advanced countries, such as the United States, Japan and South Korea, already started patenting high-end applications."
He suggested domestic companies, universities and research institutions form alliances to protect patents in the entire industry chain. He also called for more financial support from the government to encourage high-end research projects into core technologies.
The International Graphene Products Certification Center was founded in mid-January in Beijing, co-funded by the Chinese graphene industry alliance and a number of international institutions.
As the world's first third-party certification institution in the graphene industry, the center aims to foster healthy development of the industry and establish international standards.
A recent science commentary shed light on China's recent reveal of its technological progress in cloning and its "meteoric rise" on the scientific stage.
Published Sunday on the Financial Times, the opinion piece by the newspapers' science commentator Anjana Ahuja, said the birth of the two identical macaque monkeys in Shanghai -- Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua -- refreshes the technical possibility of human cloning.
The British Indian science journalist referred to an announcement scientists in China made last week that they had successfully cloned the world's first macaques, using technique used to create Dolly the sheep.
The arithmetic behind their success bears testimony to the technical difficulty of cloning primates as well as the more obvious moral considerations regarding human individuality, the article said.
The author pointed that China files more patents each year than the U.S., Japan and Korea combined and has overtaken the U.S. when it comes to the total number of scientific publications in 2016: 426,000 versus 409,000.
China is now "pioneering" gene-editing in humans and has become a "scientific superpower," read the op-ed.
China is pursuing a policy called "Double World Class", an attempt to catapult six universities into the league of top global institutions by 2020. The Recruitment Program of Global Experts, also known as the Thousand Talents Plan, meanwhile, is attracting international professors to China, the passage said.
The adorable face of a baby monkey is perhaps the most eye-catching symbol of a nation intent on academic dominance. When it comes to science and technology, the sun is most assuredly rising in the east, Ahuja wrote.
Authorities in Beijing have stepped up the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) in a bid to improve the business environment.
Wang Hong, head of the Beijing intellectual property office, Tuesday said the agency handled more than 1,200 patent disputes in 2017, an annual increase of 43.6 percent.
Among them were disputes over shared bikes and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that have significant social influence, Wang said.
The Beijing Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce handled 2,300 cases concerning IPR infringement and counterfeit products, up 92 percent from 2016. The city's cultural authorities handled 2,700 cases, up 55 percent.
Meanwhile, courts in Beijing accepted more than 35,000 first-instance IPR-related cases, up 46 percent, and closed over 31,000 cases.
The city will this year establish a center dedicated to providing IPR services to high-tech companies.
The center will offer fast-track services for patent applications for companies in information technology and high-end equipment production, two areas with high demand.
At the frontline of China's fight against IPR infringement, Beijing set up the country's first IPR court in 2014.
A Wuxi-based private firm generated a recorded turnover of 540 million yuan ($84 million) last year, up 40 percent year-on-year, according to its deputy general manager.
Wuxi Paike New Materials Technology Co Ltd, established in 2006, is a leading player in producing forged components in aerospace and aviation, wind power and nuclear power.
In 2012, the firm transformed and upgraded its manufacturing facility and products amid strong competition at the low-cost end of the industry.
It established a production line of high-end products like lightweight alloys and high-temperature resistant alloys.
"The profits of such high value-added products account for more than 30 percent of the total turnover last year," said Li Yaojun, the deputy general manager of the firm.
Li noted that more than half of their items would be high value-added products in the future.
To meet the high demands of the market, the firm has also vigorously promoted innovation cooperation with universities and research institutes.
It has established long-term cooperation with leading universities like Central South University and Shanghai Jiaotong University.
As of 2017, the firm owns 59 patents, 27 of them invention patents, and has become an important supplier of aerospace engines and gas turbines.
Li stressed that technological innovation will help inject new impetus into the development of private firms.
According to him, the firm will enable the products to reach target clients in European and American countries.
Beijing courts resolved 36,800 cases concerning intellectual property rights (IPR) in 2017, more than doubled the number in 2013.
Yang Wanming, head of Beijing's higher people's court, announced the number when delivering a work report at the capital city's ongoing legislative session.
During the past five years, Beijing courts solved more than 125,000 IPR cases, a fifth of the country's total, Yang said.
Nearly 5,300 of the case from 2013 to 2017 were patent disputes.
The city will establish a center this year dedicated to providing IPR services to high-tech companies.
The center will offer fast-track services for patent applications to companies in information technology and high-end equipment production, two areas with high demand.
At the frontline of China's fight against IPR infringement, Beijing set up the country's first IPR court in 2014.
Chinese wind turbine maker Sinovel said it is "fully prepared and will take proactive measures to protect its interests," after the company was convicted on Wednesday of multiple U.S. court charges of trade-secret theft that may lead to fines of millions of dollars on the company.
"We received our U.S. lawyers' email on Thursday morning informing us of the charges, and in response, we will resort to legal means to safeguard our legal rights as well as those of small stakeholders," read a statement the company sent to the Global Times on Thursday.
The comment came after a U.S. federal jury in the state of Wisconsin on Wednesday found Sinovel guilty on multiple charges.
It includes trade-secret theft, conspiracy and wire fraud in its business with American Superconductor (AMSC) and its related companies, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
The charges against Sinovel were brought in 2013, in which prosecutors claimed that Sinovel stole AMSC's patented information to "avoid having to pay" AMSC, Reuters reported.
A final ruling is expected on June 4. If convicted, the Chinese company could face fines up to $4.8 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported in January.
Shares of Shanghai-listed Sinovel declined 3.92 percent to 1.47 yuan (23 cents) at Thursday's close.
The case also came amid U.S. President Donald Trump's tougher stance against China in bilateral trade, raising concerns that friction between the two economic powerhouses, not only in trade but also other areas like intellectual property rights (IPR), could intensify in 2018.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said at the Davos Forum in Switzerland that property rights, steel and aluminum "will be the next for protections in the U.S."
On Tuesday, the Trump administration approved a 30 percent tariff on solar panel imports, which industry insiders interpreted as a move targeting Chinese producers.
Conflicts over IPR between China and the U.S. have existed for a long time.
In general, IPR lawsuits are used by industry leaders as a protective measure against their competitors, Dong Yizhi, a research fellow with the China e-Business Research Center, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Sinovel may countersue lawsuit to refute AMSC, he said.
Dong said such conflicts between Chinese and U.S. companies will grow as domestic companies go global, but this contributes to the development of industries once the cases are settled within an international legal framework.
Beijing will establish a center this year dedicated to providing services to high-tech companies on intellectual property rights (IPR), officials said.
Chen Jining, acting mayor of Beijing, announced the plan in a legislative meeting this week as part of the government's efforts to make the Chinese capital more tech-savvy.
The center will offer fast-track services for patent applications to companies in information technology and high-end equipment production, two areas with the highest demand, said Wang Lianjie, a political advisor for Beijing and expert on IPR.
Patent applications for unsophisticated inventions and exterior design will usually be processed within three months, Wang said, adding that the center will also fast-track cases involving IPR infringement.
Beijing saw 9.5-percent growth in its high-tech industry in the past year, and the municipality's strategic new industries expanded 10.6 percent year on year, according to data from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics.
IPR protection centers have been established in cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen to meet the high demand in patent applications and growth in cases involving IPR infringement.
China's patent office received nearly 1.34 million applications for invention patents in 2016, up 21.5 percent year on year. Chinese inventors filed more than 40,000 international applications in 2016.
China continued to top global trademark applications in 2016, with about 3.7 million trademark applications, up 28.4 percent from 2015. The number of valid trademarks registered in China was nearly 12.4 million by the end of 2016.
The number of new patents filed rose to 1.38 million in China in 2017, up 14.2 percent from a year earlier, and 420,000 were accepted, according to the State Intellectual Property Office, or SIPO.
By the end of 2017, Chinese mainland had 1.35 million grants, Hu Wenhui, spokesperson for the SIPO, said at a news conference on Jan 18.
According to Hu, Chinese companies dominated the innovation patents filling and granting, with the proportion hitting 63.3 percent and 66.4 percent last year.
China's State Grid was granted 3,622 innovation patents by the State Intellectual Property Office in 2017, the most among Chinese companies, followed by Huawei and Sinopec.
Smartphone maker Oppo took the first spot on the growth rate of innovation patent filings last year, with a year-on-year surge of 142.3 percent.
Here are the top 10 Chinese companies granted most innovation patent authorizations last year.
No 10 SMIC, 862 patents granted
No 9 Petrochina, 1,008 patents granted
No 8 Oppo, 1,222 patents granted
No 7 Gree, 1,273 patents granted
No 6 Lenovo, 1,454 patents granted
No 5 ZTE, 1,699 patents granted
No 4 BOE, 1,845 patents granted
No 3 Sinopec, 2,567 patents granted
No 2 Huawei, 3,293 patents granted
No 1 State Grid, 3622 patents granted
For Qian Jing, chairman of Hengbao Co Ltd, it was a big surprise to hear that his company might not have to pay 50 million yuan ($7.2 million) to Watchdata Co Ltd for violating its patent rights.
One year after the result of the first trial was announced, attracting much attention, the case, famous for its rare large compensation sum, saw signs of a dramatic reversal recently.
Both companies are developers of USB keys, a technological tool used as electronic authentication devices in financial services.
Defendant Hengbao was charged with violating the rights of Watchdata by using its patent "physic identification method and electronic device" in USB key products sold to banks across China.
In December 2016, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court ordered Hengbao pay 50 million yuan in damages to Watchdata, the highest amount since the court was founded in November 2014.
However, the case saw signs of being overturned when the Patent Reexamination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office announced Watchdata's patent was invalid, after receiving an application from a third-party participant.
"It may not be necessary for a second trial," Qian said. "It means the net profit of our company could increase 50 million yuan."
However, Watchdata said it was still too early for a final result.
"It sounds like they already succeeded," Watchdata Vice-President Guo Tianguang told China Securities Journal. "But it's just the beginning."
Watchdata said it has initiated an administrative lawsuit against the Patent Reexamination Board and is waiting for the final result, which may not be confirmed for two years.
The dispute between the two companies was listed among many other major and typical intellectual property-related cases handled by specialized IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou since they were founded in late 2014, in a report delivered by Zhou Qiang, head of the Supreme People's Court, last August.
A day after the original ruling on Dec 9, 2016, the stock market reacted negatively with Hengbao's share price dropping 7.09 percent, and continuing to decrease 4.58 percent in the next day's trading.
"At the beginning, Watchdata asked for compensation of 1 million yuan, and we thought it was not a big problem. But it shocked us when we were asked to pay 50 million yuan in the end," Qian said.
To that, Watchdata's Guo may have mixed feelings when defending their patent rights.
In 2012, Watchdata sued Hengbao for using their patent antenna used in intelligent cards. In 2015, the defendant was ordered to stop producing and selling products which violated the plaintiff's rights, and pay 200,000 yuan as compensation.
"It took three years to get compensation from Hengbao, which could not even afford the legal fees," Guo said.
Zhou, from the supreme court, said in his report that the compensation amount will be increased in accordance to the law. And for repetitive and deliberate violations, the amount of indemnity will be judged according to the market value.
In terms of Watchdata's case, Beijing Intellectual Property Court said it approved the plaintiff's request to have the defendant pay litigation costs up to 1 million yuan, for the first time, said Zhou.
Guo said they would protect their rights more actively after the amount of compensation had increased.
"If the market space is 10 billion yuan, we could only earn 5 to 6 billion yuan, with the rest stolen through infringements," Guo said.
Qian, from Hengbao, said the company would strengthen development of its intellectual property.
"We expect to become a company which has the most patents with highest quality in the USB keys industry within three to five years," he said in a report in the China Securities Journal.
Traditional manufacturers are pressing ahead as industry enters period of fast expansion thanks to new technologies
Cutting-edge technologies are making life more convenient, and upgrading one's home with the latest such technology has become a new engine driving China's economy. More and more affluent consumers are pursuing a smarter, high-end lifestyle, which has given a big boost to the smart home market.
The AI-powered smart home is the future, experts say. According to statistics from market consultancy Statista, China's smart home market is expected to reach a value of 130 billion yuan ($20.3 billion) by 2018, with an annual growth rate of about 48 percent, a big jump from the 40.3 billion yuan market in 2015.
And the growth potential is huge, as smart home technology has only reached a penetration rate of 5 percent. The smart home industry is therefore poised to enter a period of rapid expansion, according to the consultancy.
Traditional home appliance manufacturers are pressing ahead with smart home products, such as air conditioners, televisions and refrigerators, by applying artificial intelligence technologies to transform and innovate products, as well as to grab a larger market share.
Leading Chinese home appliance maker Midea Group has announced M-Smart, a smart home system designed for the future of family living. In the past few years, the company has invested 20 billion yuan into research and development of smart home solutions, including the establishment of 17 research centers in eight countries, with more than 10,000 employees involved in R&D. It has more than 26,000 authorized patents.
As Midea is at the forefront of R&D, its intelligent air conditioners, which have a smart eye, a Wi-Fi function and a camera, can adjust the temperature to adapt to human activity in a room. The air conditioners can also respond to voice commands.
Its smart refrigerators are equipped with high-definition touch screens and sensors, which show the nutrition of the food inside. Some microwave ovens also offer voice activation and Wi-Fi-controlled functions.
Hu Ziqiang, chief technology officer of Midea, said technological innovation will help Midea keep driving ahead as Chinese consumers need a smarter home environment. Its smart home appliances have brought convenience to consumers with a centralized control system.
Moreover, Midea and China's second-largest e-commerce player JD signed a 20 billion yuan strategic cooperation agreement last year. The two sides will deepen cooperation in the fields of smart home appliances.
"JD can provide online technology, big data analysis and intelligent cloud platforms for manufacturing enterprises. It is an ideal strategic partner for Midea, which is actively seeking transformation," said Fang Hongbo, chairman of Midea.
Sichuan Changhong Electronic Co Ltd, a manufacturer of televisions, has produced TVs that can comprehend semantic nuances and distinct features of each voice, memorize users' preferences and viewing habits, and then come up with recommendations to suit the users at any given time.
"Artificial intelligence, with big data as its core, is an important application and development direction for the internet of things," said Yang Dan, chief technology officer of Changhong.
Internet heavyweights have stepped up efforts to march into the smart home market.
Chinese tech behemoth Xiaomi Corp is expanding beyond smartphones. There are products under its subbrand Mi Ecosystem, which includes air purifiers, cleaning robots, rice cookers, smart lamps, air conditioners and cameras.
These products are internet-connected and Wi-Fi-enabled and can be controlled via the Mi Home app. Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi, said they aimed to "promote an upgrade in Chinese manufacturing with a new concept of 'Made in China' products."
Chinese internet search giant Baidu Inc is also tapping into the smart home sector, unveiling three AI-powered hardware products.
The smart speaker Raven H takes advantage of the company's advancements in voice recognition and AI, providing an instant gateway to Baidu's vast online resources and allowing users to use voice to perform a wide range of tasks including searching for information, playing music and hailing a taxi.
Raven R, an automated six-axis robot with emotional intelligence, has six humanlike "joints" that allow it to move flexibly following a user's command, and express emotions to enhance the interactive experience.
"These smart speakers and AI home robots will help people's everyday lives and bring them an experience once only seen in sci-fi movies," said Jesse Lyu, founder of Raven Tech who last year joined Baidu as the general manager of its intelligent hardware unit.
"The smart home industry is now developing by leaps and bounds, thanks to the advancement of internet of things, big data and other technologies. With people's increasing requirement for a high-quality life, the AI-enabled smart home sector has a promising future," said Zhang Yanbin, assistant director of Beijing-based consultancy All View Cloud.
A Chinese court ruled that Activision Publishing Co. won a trademark lawsuit over a Chinese film distributor.
The people's court in Pudong New Area in Shanghai ordered Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Ltd. to stop infringement of the rights of Activision and pay damages of 600,000 yuan (about 90,900 U.S. dollars).
Activision, the plaintiff, claimed that "Call of Duty," a film distributed by Huaxia in September 2015 infringed upon its trademark rights.
"Call of Duty" is a popular video game that entered the Chinese market in 2004, Activision claimed.
Huaxia used the name of the game without consent of the plaintiff in promotion of the film and thus confused the public.
Activision owns rights to "Call of Duty" logos and registered them with the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
China will tighten the examination of transferring intellectual property rights (IPR) to foreigners, particularly those concerning state security, according to a regulation passed Tuesday.
The regulation was adopted at the second meeting of the Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee and will be put on a trial run.
Chinese individuals and organizations, who would like to sell their IPR to foreign counterparts, will be subject to strict review and cases concerning state security will be under stricter supervision, according to the regulation.
The procedure, extent and mechanism of such reviews will be tightened.
China's green development path has provided opportunities for its recycling industries, with some enterprises making achievements in the circular economy.
GEM Co. Ltd, a Shenzhen-based company that specializes in resource recycling was awarded runner-up in the Award for Circular Economy Multinationals at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Tuesday Beijing time.
The "Circulars," an initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Forum of Young Global Leaders, is a circular economy awards program that recognizes individuals and organizations around the world who make contributions to the circular economy.
"We increasingly see China's globalizing enterprises playing a responsible role on the international stage in circular economy," said Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and chief executive.
GEM focuses on urban mines, including metal, used electronics and batteries. With China's booming new energy vehicle (NEV) market, it also recycles scrapped lithium batteries from NEVs by extracting the nickel, cobalt and other precious metals that are strategic resources.
Xu Kaihua, GEM chairman, believes that promoting the circular economy is vital to tackle the economic and environmental risks of resource exploitation.
"Turning waste into treasure is a sunrise industry that fits into China's green development. We aim to build a world-leading recycling enterprise," said Xu.
GEM is just one of the practitioners of China's green development concept. According to the report delivered at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October, China will promote a sound economic structure that facilitates green, low-carbon, and circular development.
China aims to increase the output value of the resource recycling industry to 3 trillion yuan by 2020, according to an action plan to boost the recycling industry.
GEM has combined the recycling industry with green technology. It has applied for 1,200 core patents in the field of waste recycling and material recovery, including 52 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and foreign patents, and among which over 20 core patents were authorized in Europe, the United States and Japan.
The company has also promoted international cooperation in the circular economy. It cooperated with University of Oxford and the Oxford University Innovation Limited to research on how to effectively produce pyrolysis oil from waste tires. GEM has also made investments in Europe and South Africa,and plans to build a China-African Circular Economy Industrial Park in South Africa.
Experts say China's recycling industry also see opportunities in the global market.
"Many countries along the Belt and Road are still in the early stages of recycling their renewable resources. They have high demands for management experience and technical equipment, which will provide opportunities for China's maturing recycling enterprises," said Peng Xushu, deputy director of the Circular Economy Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
China's trademark applications exceeded 5.7 million last year, up 55.7 percent year on year, both setting record highs.
Most of the applications were made online as China has streamlined the trademark application process, according to the Administration for Industry and Commerce.
At the end of 2017, China had 14.92 million qualified registered trademarks, the most of any country worldwide.
Thirty-seven Chinese brands made it into the top 500 global brands last year, an increase of 150 percent compared with 2013, according to the World Brand Lab.
China is also the third largest applicant for trademark registration in the international trademark alliance Madrid System with 4,810 applications in 2017, up 59.6 percent year on year, which shows the fast pace of Chinese firms expanding overseas.
Chinese tech giant Tencent announced Friday it has signed a long-term patent cross-licensing agreement with Google, covering a broad range of products and technologies.
Both companies are open to future deeper collaboration on innovative technologies, according to the agreement.
"We are pleased to advance the collaboration between the two leading technology companies," said Sam Xu, deputy general counsel and head of intellectual property at Tencent. "With this agreement, both companies can focus on bringing greater products and services to consumers around the world."
Meanwhile, Mike Lee, Google's patent head, said "by working together on agreements such as this, tech companies can focus on building better products and services for their users."
Tencent's social products WeChat and QQ link its users to a rich digital content catalogue including games, video, music and books, while through products and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people.
A spokesman of China's Ministry of Commerce on Thursday expressed doubts over "the objectivity and credibility" of a U.S. report that listed China as one of the so-called "notorious markets" for pirated and fake products.
The report, released last week by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, lacks "solid evidence and data support," spokesman Gao Feng said at a press conference.
"The Chinese government has always attached great importance to intellectual property right (IPR) protection and made noticeable achievements," Gao said.
In the first three quarters of last year, law enforcement dealt with more than 110,000 cases related to IPR infringement or fake products.
The two countries should resolve differences in a constructive way by pushing forward bilateral cooperation in IPR protection, he added.
It’s a pay era. So is it with knowledge.
While knowledge sharing in the conventional sense caters to the logic of a gift economy, pay knowledge takes financial returns as an incentive to develop marketable products or services via existing knowledge output platforms, which not only promote sharing efficiency but offer various learning media.
China’s Quora Zhihu, Guokr website and other pay knowledge platforms mushroomed in China with a rapidly-growing market. A three-fold surge in pay knowledge users arose, amounting to nearly 50 million.
As of March 2016, the estimated size in the overall economy of pay knowledge was between 10-15 billion yuan and is expected to rise up to 30-50 billion yuan in 2017 as a result of higher aggregate demand.
Albeit its strong momentum and huge potential, doubts have been raised continuously. By some accounts, one-time paying for knowledge is like placing a bet in that users have no sufficient details about the service or product they bought.
Content homogeneity is another challenge facing the industry. On the face of things, popular knowledge areas attracted the most attention and was therefore highly recommended. Most of which, nevertheless, remain skills training courses with a high degree of standardization.
Copyright issues shouldn’t be ignored, either. The lack of online IPR remains a huge problem. Piracy is occurring more often, and Zhihu is a case in point, as evidenced by its joint investigation and penalty over some 200 intellectual property piracy cases with Taobao last year.
2017 also witnessed marked achievements in this emerging market.
According to Himalaya FM, China’s domestic audio sharing platform, the total consumption of its second “123 knowledge carnival” reached 196 million yuan in December 2017, with the best-selling Kevin Tsai’s 201 EQ classes at over 100 million yuan.
As an investor with Zhihu and executive director of Innovation Works, Gao Xiaohu has his own views on the pay knowledge market. Luo said that “the market is in essence promising in spite of crowding-in competitors.”
Economists have voiced their opinions that China will keep innovation and industrial upgrading at the center of efforts to ensure sustainable and stable economic growth.
"During the last two years, investors worldwide have become increasingly interested in stories about innovation in China. Now that they believe the stories are real and the innovations can indeed create value, they are starting to ask more questions and to look for the next big opportunity for investment," said Zhang Zhiwei, chief economist and head of equity strategy for China at Deutsche Bank.
At a recent media briefing on Deutsche Bank's 2018 China economic outlook, Zhang highlighted automation as a key area where disruptive innovation might emerge next.
"Although we have seen quite fast growth of industrial robots in China, there is still a lot of room for improvement. The number of industrial robots for every 10,000 employees in this country is 68, smaller than the world's average of 74.
"In the next few years, the Chinese government will make greater efforts to boost the development of automation, and encourage private companies to make investments and conduct research in this area," he said.
With an aging population, China is likely to witness an accelerated reduction in its labor force after 2020, which explains why the government is devoting more resources to the development of automation, he added.
While international investors have become more positive about China's new economy－which refers to a transition from factory-led growth to a growth model driven by services and consumption－it is worth noting that innovation is also taking place in the manufacturing industry.
"Whether or not China can use innovation to drive upgrades in midstream and downstream manufacturing－which is dominated by private companies－into a sustainable trend will become a crucial factor, deciding whether China will maintain steady economic growth in spite of downward pressure this year," said Qu Hongbin, co-head of Asian economic research and chief economist for China at HSBC.
Recent polices, including the tightening regulation of financial markets and local government financing vehicles, as well as stricter rules on environmental protection, are really positive, if policymakers look at them separately, said Qu.
But, their combined economic impact could exert greater-than-expected downward pressure, he added, when sharing his opinions on China's economic outlook with reporters on Monday.
"We keep emphasizing that China's (economic and financial) policies should take supporting continued innovation and upgrading of midstream and downstream manufacturing as a starting point, rather than simply focusing on the reduction of leverage at State-owned enterprises.
"I think a truly neutral monetary policy will be most suitable for promoting such innovation," he said.
A report on Chinese corporate innovation presented by HSBC in 2017 found that the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong province has emerged as a national leader in innovation. It analyzed more than 1,200 domestically listed companies and their "innovative power", using indicators including their patents filed and investment in research and development.
According to a report published by the World Intellectual Property Organization last year, patent applications filed in the Chinese mainland increased by 21.5 percent from 2015 to around 1.34 million in 2016.
Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has won another patent victory in China over its South Korean competitor Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, amid increasingly fierce competition in the world's largest smartphone market.
The Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court ruled on Thursday in favor of Chinese smartphone-maker Huawei, issuing a ban on Samsung infringing the firm's intellectual property rights by manufacturing and selling products that use its patented wireless communication technologies.
Huawei's other litigation requests were rejected and Samsung holds the right to appeal to a higher court.
Samsung said in a statement that it always respects fair competition and the reasonable development of the industry, and fully values others exercising their patent rights. The company said it will deal with the ruling carefully.
Huawei said the court's decision reflected the continuous improvement of China's intellectual property protection environment. The company said it fosters industrial innovation and the healthy development of the industry by respecting and protecting intellectual property.
Huawei has launched a series of legal actions against Samsung in recent years, as the competition in China between two of the world's largest smartphone vendors has become more intense.
The Chinese smartphone producer filed lawsuits against Samsung in Shenzhen and California for patent infringements in 2016, alleging that some of Samsung's phone and tablet models use its technologies without permission.
In April 2017, the Quanzhou Intermediate People's Court in Fujian province ordered Samsung's Chinese subsidiaries to pay 80 million yuan ($12.3 million) to Huawei for patent infringement, and to stop manufacturing and selling more than 20 models from the Galaxy smartphone series.
The Quanzhou court's ruling marked Huawei's first victory in safeguarding its intellectual property in the local market.
"The reason for Huawei's patent dispute with Samsung lies in that it hopes to obtain reasonable business returns through patent licensing," said Li Junhui, an intellectual property researcher at China University of Political Science and Law.
Li said because Huawei holds some essential patents related to 4G technology standards, Samsung's defeat could also affect other smartphone manufacturers.
A recent shipwreck off the Shanghai coast has triggered discussions on the research and application of intelligent ship operation systems.
Changping, a cargo ship loaded with 5,000 metric tons of steel, collided with Xinwang 138, another cargo ship, after unmooring in Wusongkou at midnight on Jan 2.
The collision carved a big hole in the starboard side of the stern and the entire ship sank into the sea in only about five minutes, said Changping's first mate, one of the survivors.
As of Jan 6, three crew members had been rescued, two bodies had been retrieved and eight remained missing, according to Shanghai's maritime search and rescue center.
Experts said the likelihood of the tragedy would have been significantly reduced if Changping had been equipped with a more intelligent operation and maintenance system.
"Many of China's ports are becoming more crowded and the rate of ship collisions is higher due to the congestion," said Wang Cailian, a researcher from a Shanghai-based ship research institute of China State Shipbuilding Corp. "Modern and smart operation systems will enable the crew to discover malfunctions earlier and help decrease the likelihood of shipwrecks and collisions, by constantly monitoring the ship structure and equipment performance."
Among other functions, the system can measure the amount of water flowing into the ship and give timely warnings, as well as providing the best remedies and evacuation plans, Wang said.
Along with the rapid development of big data and artificial intelligence, vessels increasing their intelligent capabilities is becoming an inevitable trend.
On Dec 5, China launched its first self-developed smart ship at Marintec China 2017, an influential large-scale maritime exhibition. It is the world's first seafaring vehicle awarded the "cyber-safe", "cyber-perform" and "cyber-maintain" ship descriptive notes by Lloyd's Register, a leading maritime technical and business services organization and a maritime classification society.
The 38,800-ton bulk carrier, named Great Intelligence, was designed primarily by Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute, and was built by Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province. It is a modified version of the well-known Green Dolphin fuel-efficient bulk carrier concept design.
The ship has more than 110 smart data analysis models and 34 patents, and its intelligent functions cover such fields as navigation and energy-efficiency management, said Li Xin, one of its designers.
The China Classification Society's Vice-President Sun Feng said at Marintec China that Great Intelligence showed that China is at the forefront of global merchant ship design and manufacturing, and also lays a solid foundation for China's research on unmanned vessels.
China is also working on its first smart crude oil carrier and hopes to launch the vessel by 2020.
Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co is undertaking a special project named Smart Ship 1.0 R&D assigned by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The very large intelligent crude carrier will be the most important goal of the project, according to the company.
China became one of the top five U.S. patent recipients in 2017 for the first time as the country also reported double-digit growth for its intellectual property sector last year internationally and domestically.
The number of international patent filings by China jumped 12.5 percent compared with 2016, and the number filed in China rose 14.2 percent on the previous year, according to Shen Changyu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office.
In the United States, last yearthe Chinese mainland increased its patent awards 28 percent over 2016, passing Taiwan to take fifth place, according to a report from the US Patent and Trademark Office (SIPO).
IBM remains in first place with 9,043 grants in 2017, up 12 percent -- its 25th year as the U.S. patent leader. Samsung is only 150 patents behind if all five divisions of the conglomerate are counted.
The US Patent and Trademark office issued 320,003 utility grants in 2017, up 5.2 percent from the previous year.
Government data show that the number of international filings from the Chinese mainland via the Patent Cooperation Treaty jumped to 51,000 last year, compared with 2016, and the annual applications for invention patents filed in the country topped 1.38 million.
Shen told an annual assembly in Beijing last week that the country has developed a batch of core technologies in such sectors as telecommunications, aerospace, aviation, high-speed trains and nuclear energy.
During the annual event, the IP heads of provincial regions and major cities across China shared their experiences of last year and set out what they would focus on in 2018.
Shen said the nation's growing participation in global innovation was marked by its increasing international collaboration with a wide variety of partners.
SIPO established a comprehensive strategic partnership with the European Patent Office, or EPO, and signed 52 bilateral and multilateral agreements in 2017.
Shen said the office is playing an active role in advancing China-Mongolia-Russia cooperation in IP. It is also involved in the collaboration in patents and industrial designs with EPO and the patent offices in the United States, Japan and South Korea — as well as having strong links with the IP heads of members of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations.
"Our goal for 2020-35 is to develop China into an IP powerhouse and enable IP to become a robust engine to drive the country's innovation," Shen said.
To this end, SIPO is pressing ahead with reforms.
In 2017, Xiamen, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Changsha, Suzhou and Shanghai's Xuhui district were named pilot areas for comprehensive IP reforms, in an initiative that is seeking breakthroughs in integrating administrative services.
The SIPO top official also said his organization was encouraging local governments to put emphasis on their IP development. To date, 13 provinces and 14 cities have rolled out IP development plans, with SIPO's support.
"The IP system provides a fundamental guarantee for innovation and is common practice in international trade," Shen said.
It is conducive to creating an environment friendly to innovation and business and promoting a country's development and opening-up, he added. "We have made remarkable achievements in various IP areas over the past five years."
These achievements included strong new policies and legislation and initiatives in protection, management, international cooperation and infrastructure, which "had won acclaim in China and abroad".
A major part of these efforts was about increasing protection.
Punitive damages of up to three times a complainant's losses were introduced to the draft of revised Patent Law, as a beefed up check to counterfeits and piracy. The revision is pending a green light from the State Council, China's Cabinet, according to Shen.
Legislators are also looking at the feasibility of integrating IP into a civil code planned for full enactment in 2020.
Currently, there are 31 IP protection centers across the country.
The SIPO commissioner said his office's enforcement officials had worked closely with other departments, including the police and customs, to promote cross-regional protection.
Coordinated enforcement raids in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao area and the Yangtze River economic belt were exemplars of such cooperation, he added.
Special crackdowns on infringements in the e-commerce sector and the exhibition and conference industry in Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces were highlights of last year's local moves, hitting the headlines in the Chinese media.
Chinese researchers have developed a new testing method for the diagnosis of lupus, which could improve the accuracy rate to over 90 percent.
The new method uses DNA methylation detection to find lupus-specific information in genes, the first time researchers are able to elevate the diagnosis of lupus to the genetic level, according to Lu Qianjin, a professor with Central South University.
Lupus, technically known as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, is an autoimmune disorder that can damage the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain and blood. It affects 1 million Chinese, and 40 to 70 of every 100,000 people worldwide.
"Early symptoms of lupus are often too general to be distinguishable, making accurate diagnosis difficult and depriving patients of timely treatment," Lu said. "The new method can accurately discriminate lupus from other dermatoses, with an accuracy rate of above 90 percent."
The breakthrough, made by Lu and his team after 20 years of research, was awarded Monday at the National Science and Technology Award Conference in Beijing.
The new testing method has been adopted by 23 hospitals in China, Lu said, adding that he had applied for patents for the technique both at home and abroad in hopes of benefiting more patients.
China made 1.38 million invention patent applications in 2017, a 14.2 percent increase year on year, an intellectual property official said Thursday.
Of the total applications, 744,000 patents have been handled and concluded, said Shen Changyu, head of the State Intellectual Property Office, told a meeting attended by intellectual property officials from across the country.
Under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, a total of 51,000 international patent applications were received in 2017, up 12.5 percent from the previous year, Shen said in a work report delivered at the meeting.
Shen said the number of invention patents on the Chinese mainland reached 1.35 million, meaning that for every 10,000 people there are 9.8 patents on average.
About 67,000 administrative patent cases were handled last year, increasing by 36.3 percent on a yearly basis, according to Shen.
Shen said the country should improve the production in IP to raise technology service quality.
"Protection of IP should be further strengthened to create a favorable market environment, while the application of IP should be strengthened to better support the real economy," he said.
He also asked for more international cooperations and exchanges on IP, to serve the country's policy of opening up.
China plans to invest a total of 13.8 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) in the Zhongguancun AI Science Park, a national technology park dedicated to developing the artificial intelligent industry, it was announced on Jan 2.
Miao Jun, president of Zhongguancun Jingxi Construction Co Ltd, the developer of the park, a company of Zhongguancun Development Group, said that the new AI park will be located in the suburban Mentougou district of western Beijing, will cover 54.87 hectares, and be completed in five years.
The park is expected to attract about 400 enterprises, with an estimated annual output value of about 50 billion yuan (about $7.7 billion).
Focus will be put on high-tech fields including super high-speed big data, cloud computing, biometric identification and deep learning. The park's technological infrastructure includes a fifth generation mobile network, a super computer and cloud services.
Cooperation between worldwide renowned universities, science research institutes and leading companies on building various research centers in the park including a national AI laboratory, a research academy and a technology platform is expected.
The first phase of project construction with an investment of two billion yuan should be finished by the end of 2018.
Zhongguancun is home to China's biggest and most powerful AI innovation power group. Official statistics show that there're currently 250 artificial intelligence enterprises with over 7,800 patents in Zhongguancun, both ranking first in China. Additionally, 42.9 percent of China's AI entrepreneurial enterprises are also from Zhongguancun.
By 2020, Zhongguancun is expected to form an AI super group that will encourage international competitiveness. For instance, many frontier technological achievements and AI international standards are expected to take shape in the next three years.
Trade secrets violators now face up to a 3 million yuan ($460,970) statutory fine, after the revised Anti-unfair Competition Law came into effect on Monday.
"Tough crackdowns on trade secrets breaches will help to create a business-friendly environment and promote businesses' healthy and sustained growth," Sun Jia'en, a legal expert in the field, told China Intellectual Property News.
Trade secrets cases are generally a complex matter, partly due to the difficulty of collecting evidence compared with other types of IP cases, said Sun, founder of trade secrets protection platform cnsymm.com.
The revision contributes to increasing awareness of and improving protection for trade secrets, he said.
Unlike the previous version, which came into force in 1993, a trade secret as defined in the latest update does not need to bring right owners "economic interests" or have "a practical application".
Instead, the new law places emphasis on trade secrets' commercial value and their competitive edge in the market. In this sense, it has expanded the protection range, Sun said.
If a company has poured investment into research and development, and its recently generated R&D achievements have yet to be industrialized or patented, a raft of related activities that are part of the process are in the protection range of trade secrets, including technical drawings, parameters, know-how and data, he said.
Once the commercial spinoffs from the research are revealed, they will enable competitors to save time, spending and labor in their R&D endeavor, he added.
"Wherever there are R&D activities, there are fights against disclosure and theft of trade secrets," the senior expert said, counting such an infringement as a huge disaster to rights owners.
The law added new rules that tackle breaches by former employees who use trade secrets in their own business or reveal them to others in the industry without authorization.
The new amendments to the current law reflect the trinity protection goal - the interests of the public, businesses and consumers, Lu Cong, a judge in Beijing, wrote in an article published online.
Adjusted to the internet era, the law prohibits the use of internet technologies for unfair competition, which is a highlight of the revision, said Yang Hongcan, director of the China Anti-monopoly and Anti-unfair Competition Enforcement Bureau with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
Bans targeting e-commerce cover false online sales volume reporting and user comments. Online traders that fabricate data to mislead consumers in their purchase decisions can be fined up to 2 million yuan and lose their business licenses.
The change in the law will be a deadly knockout to the "internet water army" - legions of netizens paid to flood websites with comments and reviews in an attempt to manipulate public opinion - and will play an active role in cleaning up user comment systems on e-commerce portals, Lu said.
China's Lenovo Group along with other foreign IT firms are facing probes by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) on charges of infringing on patents related to the solid state drive technologies of U.S. chipmaker BiTMICRO Inc, China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said Wednesday.
BiTMICRO brought patent litigation based on Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act against Lenovo, U.S.-based Dell Technologies Inc, and South Korea's Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix Inc, according to the USITC.
Neither MOFCOM nor Lenovo offered any comment when reached by the Global Times on Wednesday.
Under Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act, the USITC can impose sanctions on imports of products that have been found to violate patents owned by U.S. companies or individuals.
The BiTMICRO complaint asked the commission to issue a limited exclusion order, cease and desist orders and to impose a bond upon respondents' alleged infringing articles.
Shanxi Quan'An New Technology Development has recently been authorized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the company's method and apparatus for remote coal mine leakage testing.
The apparatus for remote coal mine leakage testing will greatly reduce the mechanical and electrical accidents in coal mines and improve the reliability of power supply in coal mines, according to its inventor Guo Chunping.
It's the third US patent that the company has won, filling the gap in special apparatus for remote coal mine leakage testing.
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Jiexiu county, Shanxi Quan'An New Technology Development is a high-tech business focusing on developing products that ensure the electrical safety of coal mines.
To date, the company owns 30 intellectual property rights including patents and trademarks with a part winning the patents of more than 30 countries and regions, such as the United States, Russia and the European Union.
Banking regulators are encouraging commercial lenders to help develop emerging industries, overhaul credit structures and look for new growth opportunities.
In Jiangsu province alone, the banking sector's balance of loans to strategic emerging industries, such as information technology, biomedicine and high-end equipment manufacturing, reached 469.49 billion yuan ($71 billion) by the end of June 2017, a rise of 12.5 percent since January.
This has involved banks offering innovative financial services like the use of intangible assets as loan collateral, the creation of credit guarantee funds and venture capital loans.
Changzhou Sujing Electronic Material Co Ltd has benefited from this program of funding.
The company manufactures thin film materials for semiconductors, flat panel displays and liquid crystal displays, and is based in Changzhou, Jiangsu province.
Sujing Electronic Material obtained a 3 million yuan loan over 12 months from the Jiangnan Rural Commercial Bank Co Ltd by using patent rights as collateral.
Another loan of 10 million yuan was agreed by using its trademark as security, while a 5 million yuan loan was put together on a risk sharing mechanism at a favorable monthly lending rate.
"Before using our patent rights as collateral, our company suffered from tight liquidity but had already used our real estate as security," said Hu Qingxiong, chairman of Sujing Electronic Material.
"We tried to borrow from small financial companies but that could only meet short-term demands. In the end, it was the Jiangnan Rural Commercial Bank that helped us and the financing cost was about 40 percent lower than that of small loan companies," Hu added.
Jiangnan Rural Commercial Bank has created a loan program that caters for the different business cycles companies face.
It offers loans to firms to stimulate growth by using their intangible assets as collateral. It also provides loans for mature small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, listed on the New Third Board.
Backed by regulators, financial institutions have been exploring innovative risk-sharing measures with municipal and provincial governments.
The Suzhou municipal authority in Jiangsu province set up a credit guarantee fund of 1 billion yuan for companies meeting the requirements of a special bank loan, without providing any collateral.
"If a company defaults, the credit risk will be shared among the fund (65 percent), the relevant guarantor or insurance company (15 percent) and the relevant commercial bank (20 percent)," said Kan Zhe, deputy director of the China Banking Regulatory Commission's Suzhou Office.
By the end of June 2017, 1,820 companies had obtained loans worth 6.42 billion yuan with the help of the credit guarantee fund.
This in turn has stimulated growth in parts of the economy that produce goods and services.
In the first half of 2017, sales revenue from strategic emerging industries in Jiangsu increased by 12 percent year-on-year to 2.62 trillion yuan.
It accounted for 30.5 percent of gross industrial output value at all State-owned and non-State-owned industrial enterprises above 20 million yuan in main sales volume during the same period.