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Legislators mull measures to commercialize 'sleeping' patents

2014-06-27 10:22 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

Chinese legislators on Thursday put forward various measures to promote the utilization of patented technologies and prevent them from lying dormant forever.

China has a large number of patents, but their quality is quite low, and its abilities to transform patents into real products and commercialize them are weak, Chen Changzhi, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said in a panel discussion.

China owns none of the world's top 100 patents rated by income, Chen noted.

"Patents have become a key factor in market competition. However, in China, many patents' market value has not been fulfilled. They are just 'sleeping,'" said Arken Imirbaki, a senior NPC member from Xinjiang.

Nearly 2.38 million Chinese patent applications were accepted and over 1.31 million authorized in 2013, but very few of them feature originality, or core technology. The utilization rate of patents is very low, according to a report to the NPC Standing Committee earlier this week.

A number of lawmakers suggested adjusting the system by which profits are distributed to patented products' creators at higher learning institutes to raise their enthusiasm in applying for and commercializing patents.

Staff at higher learning institutes are an important source of new products worth patenting. But generally the patent holders are the colleges or scientific organs rather than the inventors. The profits made from the patents also belong to these institutes.

Inventors should be given more benefits, such as a cash reward, or be allowed to share the profits earned from the commercialization of their patents, said Chen.

If a company wants to have the patent, the inventors should be given shares or part of the company's yield, added NPC Standing Committee member Shi Lianxi.

Lawmaker Chong Quan suggested authorities strengthen international cooperation in intellectual property rights (IPR) protection as he believes the issue will inevitably come up in China's international negotiations.

Lawmakers also called for more support for patent-related agencies, which could help inventors find a platform for their patent's utilization.

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