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 9: Intellectual property, innovation and the ladder of development: Experience of developed countries for China

Wei Shi

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


The reasons for which protection is afforded to intellectual rights are twofold. One is to give expression to the moral sentiment that a creator, such as a craftsman, should enjoy the fruits of their creativity; the second is to encourage the investment of skills, time, finance, and other resources into innovation in a way that is beneficial to society. This is usually achieved by granting creators certain time-limited rights to control the use made of those products. However, the tension between stimulating creation and disseminating its benefits to society at large is delicate. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) as a concept has been debated throughout history and, with a global economy, this debate has become increasingly controversial and confrontational. Scholars from different backgrounds have often debated the validity and legitimacy of IPR from different perspectives. In this chapter, the author attempts to review IPR through a prismatic lens in order to justify the correlation between IPR and economic growth and examine the implications of the existing IPR regime. By tracing development trajectories of different economies, this chapter draws on the experience of such developed countries as the United States and Japan, which have developed a similar development strategy for implementing and enforcing intellectual property rights, and provide a penetrating insight into the economic and social foundation needed to enable development of an effective IPR enforcement mechanism. Such a comparative focus may be constructive to China’s designing of its innovation system.

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