IP Blueprint in the UK-China “Golden Era” 2015 UK-China IP Symposium Successfully Concluded in London

By Emily Tan, China IP,[Comprehensive Reports]

  The year of 2015 marks the beginning of the second decade of China- UK comprehensive strategic partnership, and bilateral relations are showing a constant upward momentum and facing new and important development opportunities. The two countries are witnessing frequent high-level exchanges, sound operation of various dialogue and cooperation mechanisms and extensive cooperation in such fields as trade, investment, finance, culture and personnel exchanges. Moreover, China President Xi Jinping's State Visit to the UK in October has opened a "golden era" in UK-China relations featuring enduring, inclusive and win-win cooperation.
  From the perspective of intellectual property, the "golden era" had already come years ago. The Chinese government has increasingly attached great importance to the development of IP in recent years.
  More importantly, the profound economic cooperation between China and the UK is becoming a major force in promoting IP collaboration between the two countries.
  Last year, UK Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe led the largest ever UK IP delegation to China, including representatives from British companies, industry associations, the judiciary and senior government officials. This year, on December 21, the 2015 UK-China IP Symposium was successfully held in London, over 260 representatives from two parties, including over 50 Chinese representatives from central and local government departments, and a wide range of Chinese businesses representatives.
  The Symposium allows British and Chinese businesses to understand how they can effectively protect their IP . It took place on the occasion of the State Visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UK, which highlighted the importance of IP for both countries. Invited by the UK Intellectual Property Office, China IP journalist attended the Symposium and gave a all-round report of it.
  IP Exchange Strengthens "Golden Era"
  Baroness Neville-Rolfe delivered the welcome remarks at the Symposium. She stated: "I am especially pleased to be hosting this IP symposium on the occasion of the State Visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UK. This visit marks a "Golden Era" of UK-China relations, and the UK-China relationship is "a comprehensive, strategic partnership for the 21st century". And we now have a new ambition to make China the UK's second largest trading partner by 2025." She expressed her expectation of IP cooperation between two countries, "with our strong collaboration to date, we are working together to create an IP system that underpins this Golden Era of UK-China relations." The Symposium covered a wide range of IP issues including intellectual property, innovation and creative industries; patent, trademark and designs; civil judicial enforcement; online counterfeiting and piracy. IP professionals from both parties had in-depth discussion over the above topics.
  Tom Duke, UK's IP Attaché to China, moderated the morning plenary. Rosa Wilkinson, Director of Innovation of UK IPO; Liu Hang, Commissioner of Administrative Commit tee of Zhongguancun Science Park; Professor Michael George, China Digital Copyright and IP Law Research Centre; Harriet Finney, Director of Policy at Creative Industries Federation had discussed how does IP contribute to innovation and growth in the UK and China, and what role do the creative industries play and how are they supported by governments. Delegates from UK IPO, SIPO, CTMO and Intellectual Property Office of Shanghai City and Dalian City introduced and shared their opinions of the IP system of the two countries. As for the topic of "civil judicial enforcement", Justice Colin Birss, Chancery Divison of High Court of England and Wales; Cheng Yongshun, BIPI, ex-Beijing High People's Court; Carol Arnold, President of IP Federation introduced the IP court system of the two country, and exchanged thoughts on the problems they have encountered during enforcement in practice.
  Online Counterfeiting and Piracy, one of the major topic of the symposium, had attracted much attention. Giles York, Chief Constable Sussex Police, UK's IP Crime Lead; Xia Qing, Deputy Director General of China Trademark Office (CTMO); David Ho, Senior Legal Counsel, Alibaba Group shared the approaches to tackling online counterfeiting and piracy in the UK and China, including cross-agency working and case successes.
  John Alty, Chief Executive of UK Intellectual Property Office made the closing remarks, he believed that a strong IP system is significant for trading. The two parties had reached consensus on many IP issues in the Symposium, which enable more cooperation in future and will benefit both parties. He also expressed his expectations on the coming UK-China IP Symposium which will be held in Beijing in 2016.
  IP Cooperation Brings Great Achievements
  Baroness Neville-Rolfe had also shared three major achievements made during the cooperation of the two countries.
  The close collaboration between the China Britain Business Council (CBBC) and Alibaba, China's most popular ecommerce website, has resulted in the removal of more than £8 million worth of counterfeit versions of UK products. The agreement signed in September 2014 means that more than 25 UK businesses, including several large multinationals have been able to get counterfeit goods sold on Alibaba removed. After one year of close cooperation, more than £8 million worth of counterfeit versions of UK products were removed from the Alibaba platform.
  Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: "British products are in demand around the world because our firms invest heavily in creating highly original designs. The removal of £8 million of counterfeit UK goods will protect the livelihoods of some of our most innovative firms and the jobs of British people. There is more work to be done but I am pleased that the UK is collaborating closely with Alibaba to find constructive solutions. I am clear that the UK should be the most innovative place to do business and a strong IP system plays a big part in that. By continuing to work with China we can bring even more benefits to the UK." David Ho, senior legal counsel, Alibaba Group said: "We a re committed to the protection of intellectual property rights and the long-running battle to eradicate counterfeit merchandise that may appear on our marketplaces. We continue to work with rights holders to protect their IPR and welcome further collaboration with the CBBC and British companies going forward." As part of the sympos ium, Baroness Neville-Rolfe also launched a toolkit which will safeguard £65 million per year in joint UK-China IP research and innovation. It provides a clear framework for negotiating how IP will be managed in joint research projects. Based on the Lambert Toolkit, which was created to help manage IP in domestic collaborative research projects, the UK-China toolkit has been adjusted for both UK and Chinese law. It provides a clear framework for negotiating how IP will be managed in joint research projects.
  Baroness Neville-Rolfe highly acknowledged the value of the tool kit, she said: "The risks associated with creating and licensing IP are perceived to be a major barrier limiting joint research and innovation between the UK and China. The UK-China Collaborative Research IP Toolkit will help non-IP experts to manage these risks and promote further collaboration between UK and Chinese institutions.
  Projects involving international collaboration consistently produce better outcomes than when a single nationality works alone.” Finally, Baroness Neville-Rolfe announced the first wave of projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in Ningbo, China, which are implemented by a group of British and Chinese academics and will include industry input. The AHRC has provided £500,000 in matched Newton funding to establish a China Digital Copyright and IP Law Research Centre at the University of Nottingham campus in Ningbo, China. The projects cover the following areas: (1) IP regimes appropriate for internet-based technologies and new business models; (2) 3D printing; (3) fair use of copyright in the digital domain; (4) design intensive industries: designer awareness of IP and how an IP regime can evolve to meet designer needs.
  The relationship between the UK and China in the "Golden Era" is becoming more interactive.
  The increasingly closed business cooperation will involve more profound IP collaboration .
  Moreover, 2016 is the 20 years anniversary o f China-UK IP cooperation, both parties are having great expectations over the forthcoming collaboration. Like Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “with our strong collaboration to date, we are working together to create an IP system that underpins this Golden Era of UK-China relations.”

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