Innovation and Intellectual Property in China

Innovation and Intellectual Property in China

Strategies, Contexts and Challenges

Edited by Ken Shao and Xiaoqing Feng

China is evolving from a manufacturing-based economy to an innovation-based economy, but the delicate context behind this change has not been properly understood by foreign governments, companies and lawyers. This book is an insightful response to ill-conceived notions of, and mis-assumptions regarding, the Chinese innovation economy. It represents an effort to marry a variety of “insiders’ perspectives” from China, with the analysis of international scholars.

Chapter 4: Challenges to China’s self-driven innovation and intellectual property practice

Feng Xiaoqing

Subjects: asian studies, asian innovation and technology, asian law, innovation and technology, asian innovation, innovation policy, intellectual property, law - academic, asian law, intellectual property law


In modern times, innovation is not only an essential requirement for an enterprise to survive and develop, but also a symbol of national competitiveness. The goal of China’s zizhu chuangxin (self-driven innovation) is to improve China’s ability in innovation. The key is to realize the combination of the breakthrough of core technologies with institutional innovation; its basic meaning is to emphasize the autonomy of innovation, or to consider that self-driven innovation is the advanced stage of technological innovation or scientific and technological innovation. Translating China’s current innovation policies (zizhu chuangxin) into ‘independent innovation’ is highly misleading, because none of them reflect the fact that China’s innovation policies do not encourage unnecessary repetition of technologies that have already been produced, or relying on domestic enterprises to complete everything in every technology sector. Actually, self-driven innovation emphasizes that Chinese enterprises should depend on their own strength to control innovation achievements and intellectual property rights (IPRs). For this purpose, technology import is also very important for China to realize its self-driven innovation strategy. Therefore, self-driven innovation in China largely refers to innovation with independent intellectual property rights, not self-made inventions. The main goal of self-driven innovation is to improve the ability of self-driven innovation. In 2006 China enacted the National Intellectual Property Strategy Outline. The promotion of the IP strategy is designed to support China’s construction of its national innovation system.

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