IPOS Platform: Commercialization of Zhongguancun Innovation

2011/09/22,By Kevin Nie, China IP,[Patent]

In recent years, Zhongguancun has piloted intellectual property (IP) systems, management and innovation in operational mechanisms in an all-around manner and yielded certain results. Next, it will focus on pooling optimum IP resources, developing new IP service models, and improving the service level of domestic IP service agencies. In particular, its entire work will depend upon achieving an integrated and innovative IP service platform, so that technology can be effectively connected with capital.
The Background
In April, at the Zhongguancun Intellectual Property Promotion Conference, Hong Feng, Vice Mayor of Beijing commented, “Currently, Beijing will focus on the implementation of its IP strategy, to strengthen the use of IP demonstration areas, further enrich and improve the IP commercialization and technology exchange system, guide innovative elements in attracting market players, and encourage the transfer of innovative, scientific and technological achievements to market players.”
For many years, the advantageous IP resources of Zhongguancun have been dispersed among IP-related government agencies, research institutions, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and colleges and universities. Since they have not been timely integrated, there is not any good communication channel and commercialization model for IP-related information and research results. They have failed to drive the implementation of the IP strategy and to motive enterprises in their post development phase.
Innovation is one of the essential sources of life. For permanent innovation of Zhongguancun, besides macro policy guidance and support, the configuration of the resources need be optimized in a comprehensive way. As the first state-level self innovation demonstration area approved by the State Council, Zhongguancun has had a large online IP stock with a large throughput, endowing its enterprises with good advantages. These resources can be integrated and built into a smooth IP communication channel.
Also, a special processing platform can be established, to create a public network of IP information release, and to provide enterprises with express services.
It is certain that what the Chinese technical market lacks is not research results, funds and intermediaries, but an effective integration of these resources. The market demand has led to the birth of a comprehensive IP service platform, which was built up jointly by Chinese Technology Exchange (CTEX) and related units.
In August 2009, following the approval by the State Council, CTEX was incorporated in the core area of Zhongguancun, which intended to use the pilot advantage of the area to break the bottleneck of the technology exchange market, promote the combination between technology and capital, and explore and summarize highly market-oriented transformation models.
Guo Shugui, President of CTEX, told our journalist, “The entire business of CTEX is focused on one target, that is, to integrate technology with capital and service. It will try to find a sustainable development to help scientific and technological achievements in their industrialization. Its functions are in dual ways—to promote public policies and investment service, and more importantly, to try to match deals and support enterprises in the market-oriented trade.”
According to this positioning, on August 17, 2010, CTEX, together with China Intellectual Property, Beijing East Linden Co., Ltd., Peking University IP Law School, and scores of agencies, launched the Intellectual Property One-stop Service (IPOS).
Xu Xiangyang, Assistant of CTEX resident, told our journalist that the purpose of IPOS is to carry out the IP strategy of the state, integrate top-class IP agency resources in China and other countries with respects to IP-related consultation, search, legal service, appraisal and training, accelerate the transfer and commercialization of research results in China, promote industrial upgrade and leap-forward economic development, and provide government and society with professional, high-quality and all around services in IP search, consultation, transaction and commercialization. In addition, for the stable operation of the platform and improvement of its service quality, two committees have been established, including the IPOS Service Steering Committee, which consists of leaders from related departments and agencies of the central government and Beijing City, and the Expert Committee headed by Zhang Qin, Secretary, the Secretariat of China Association for Science and Technology.
Bao Hong, Deputy Director of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), speaks highly of IPOS. She believes that the platform effectively integrates the broker resources on the IP exchange market. It will help solve the existing problems and improve the brokerage services that are dispersed in functions and uneven in service quality. It is not a simple collection of the resources, but optimizes and integrates them. It also shoulders the tasks to explore and develop new service models, and to improve the exchange and communication among Chinese and foreign technical markets and industries. It will definitely achieve a synergetic result.
Moreover, as reported, Beijing Municipal Government has attached much importance to IP work, by issuing and implementing The Opinion of the People’s Government of Beijing on Implementing the Capital IP Strategy, and by launching the “126 Capital IP Project” and the “Project to Promote the IP Work at Zhongguancun’s State-Level Self Innovation Demonstration Area”, in the last year. It has included the promotion of patent exchange as one of the booklet projects of the city, to actively explore new models of patent exchange and encourage the establishment of patent exchange agencies. Also, it has given much support to the building of the IPOS platform as one of its essential actions on the Capital IP Strategy.
“The launching of IPOS is based on our understanding of the demands of enterprises at their different phases. As we have found from practice, they are faced with the following difficulties in their IP work. There is a lack of proper: 1. Ideas. Their decision-makers do not pay sufficient attention to IP rights; 2. Systems. They are short of a practical management system template that is suitable to the conditions of China; 3. Talents. They are short of professional personnel in IP strategy management; 4. Tools. They are short of management software platforms that are pertinent and have a high P/P ratio; 5. Partners. They are short of the ability to screen, evaluate and supervise their partners; and 6. Experience. They are short of the experience to cope with mature and powerful international competitors,” said Xu Xiangyang.
IPOS is generally positioned as to coordinate with the state’s proposal to build an innovative country, to promote the IP strategy and its implementation, and to meet the practical needs of enterprises. In view of its operating mechanism, it is built by institutions and agencies from the same trade, with guidance from relevant ministries and commissions. It integrates related agency services and is proactively engaged in service innovation. Its ultimate objective is to enhance or improve the society’s sense of IP protection, IP management level, IP creation and application, and IP service system.
The entire framework of CTEX service system comprises the technology exchange service platform, the scientific and technological financing and innovation platform, and the scientific and technological policy and operation platform. And, IPOS is the practical operation platform for these three superior platforms in their applications.
The IPOS Architecture
Reportedly, the entire IPOS system is divided into six tiers, namely: the raw data tier, the processed data tier, the supporting capabilities tier, the service products tier, the service exchange tier, and the member client tier. It provides one-stop services for different industries, fields and enterprises, according to their personalized requirements. It also has a complete credit rating system for the service agencies on the platform.
The services are as follows.
The first tier, which is the raw data layer, consists of the original patent database, the trademark database and other IP databases from countries around the world. Among them, the raw patent database contains data from 98 countries and regions, including the patent databases of China, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Switzerland, and the World Intellectual Property Organization and the European Patent Office.
The second tier, the processed data tier, consists of the patent database, the trademark database and other IP databases that have been processed according to the focuses of industries and customers. It acts as the data source for all the searching, analyzing and consultation services. It also provides databases customized for customers.
The third tier provides supporting capabilities. For better serving customers, IPOS has pooled, combed and categorized the resources of IP-related government and research institutions and best agencies, so that the supporting capabilities indispensable to the provision of IP services are readily available.
The fourth tier is the layer of service products. On the basis of the data and capabilities at the second and third layers, IPOS has launched ten sub-platforms for customers, which cover appraisal service, consultation service, legal service, training service, search service, database customization service, international service, exchange service (forums and saloons), industrial information service, and commercial service. All these sub-platforms have been built jointly by CTEX and members and partners of IPOS.
The fifth tier is the layer for service exchange, where patents, trademarks and IP-related service products are exchanged. With this layer, the customer can add value to its intellectual property and plot out its IP strategy. IPOS also provides third-party clearing services and credit rating services for IP-related dealings and transactions. The sixth layer is the layer of our member clients that provide services to IPOS, mainly including government agencies, research institutions, scientific and technological parks, enterprises, VC/PE, and angel investors.
Among them, the ten sub-platforms at the service products tier will be more practical to enterprises. Their detailed services are as follows: (1) The appraisal service. It analyzes and evaluates a given patented technique with respect to legal status, technical level, and market value. It also evaluates trademarks and copyrights with respect to market values. (2) The consultation service. It can offer customers the consultation service to their IP management systems, strategic analysis and early warning systems. (3) The legal service. It covers IP-related legal services and agency services. It provides one-stop legal services to enterprises that incur infringement or litigations in China or any foreign country. It also helps apply for patents or trademarks in China or any foreign country. The prime service sectors include patent application (including PCT), patent infringement, and patent-related administrative litigation; trademark registration, trademark infringement, trademark-related administrative litigation, and recognition and protection of Well-known Marks. (4) The training service. It is mainly targeted at enterprises and agencies. The trainings are intended to improve the trainees’ IP awareness, IP management system and IP practice. Saloons, forums, intensive programs, and on-the-machine operation are included to cater to the needs of different trainees. Customized training programs will be available, if so requested. (5) The search service. IPOS has integrated the free online search boxes of mainstream service providers, so that customers may choose whichever search box they like to do a search. If the requirements of the customer can not be met by the online search, IPOS also provides customized searches by subjects, patentees, patentability, infringement, invalidation and legal status. (6) The database customization service. The customized database is made of data for a given area that has been selected from a huge amount of primary information and then further processed. In this way, the patent information is complete and centered on the given area. The data mining degree is deep, and the search made easy. This sub-platform supplies integrated patent databases of China and foreign countries, as well as scores of patent databases on special topics. The customization service meets the personal requirements of customers. (7) The international service. IPOS provides agency services to Chinese and foreign institutions and enterprises with respect to products and technology. It has built up strategic cooperative relationships with well-known service agencies in the United States, Europe, Japan, Israel, and Singapore.
It has also begun listing international techniques on the domestic Chinese market. The international service mainly includes the transnational transaction of patents, trademarks and the right to apply for patents; the transnational representative service in IP-related proceedings; and the patent-related early warning service. (8) The forums and saloons. IPOS will regularly hold various forums and saloons, to pool IP resources and promote internal exchange and development. (9) The industrial information service. Through websites and magazines, IPOS will timely release the latest information on IP-related industries in general. It also provides customized services, so that customers may, according to their focuses, choose such categories as policies and regulations, industrial and technical information, cases at law, and judicial hot spots. The customization will help customers find what they need within the shortest time possible. (10)  The commercial service. For the purpose of commercializing IP effectively, IPOS, together with banks, guarantee institutions, investment institutions, trust companies, evaluators and law firms, has built this effective and high quality sub-platform. With relevant policies and funding, this sub-platform is targeted at small and medium-size technological enterprises, and centered on their self-owned innovations. It provides one-stop services to meet their funding requirements at different phases. The detailed services include the IP pledge loan and supportive service, the assembled trust products (notes and bonds), the equity investment service for small and medium-sized enterprises, and the equity incentive consultation service.
“Previously a company has much difficulty in dealing with many institutions. Now, IPOS greatly helps improve its efficiency and reduce its cost of doing this. Our general thinking is that with such a platform, the best domestic IP service agencies can be brought together to serve our enterprises. Also, we will actively develop our international service and through close cooperation with many other countries, align the domestic IP service agencies with international advanced levels. We will help domestic companies arrive at the IP management levels of large famous international companies,” said Xu Xiangyang.
The IPOS Operation
“As to the operation of the platform, we start entirely from the perspective of our enterprise customers, and study the right ways to help solve their practical issues in IP work. For instance, for their senior management who are unfamiliar with or unaware of IP, we arrange high-end seminars on cases where enterprises sustain losses or benefit from IP, and to discuss the strong and weak points of pilot projects. For up-starts which are small or medium-sized, we introduce our IP host service. For medium and large-sized enterprises that are sensible, we introduce our service of ‘support strong principle’, which includes IP management system consultation, training and software database tools. For enterprises that own core technology and patents and want to go international, we provide overseas IP early warning and emergency response service through carefully selected and evaluated foreign law firms. For enterprises which want to purchase, be licensed or transfer patents, we provide one-stop services, including evaluation and auction,” Xu Xiangyang commented. “In any case, our ultimate purpose is to provide enterprises with powerful supporting capabilities.”
During the six months since it was launched, all the work of IPOS has proceeded orderly, and also has made the preliminary progress. In 2010, on this platform, CTEX successfully issued Zhongguancun S&T Transformation Trust Fund (first phase) of RMB 11 million; promoted about 1,000 patent packages of Hewlett-Packard of the United States; completed the trade invitation for the auction patent package of ICAP Ocean Tomo of the United States in China; undertook a research project of Beijing S&T Commission, which was the “Study on the Construction of an Indicator System for Evaluating the Investment Worth of Patented Techniques”; built for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology the “One-stop IP Services for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises; and developed a large number of international exchange and training programs.
“IPOS will not only be a platform for CTEX, but a service platform for Zhongguancun. It will serve all the high-tech companies at the area. This year, our series of work have been focused on the area. In addition, IPOS will serve all the high-tech parks nationwide. Depending on their different requirements, we will provide customized IP services. IPOS will also become their supporting platform with respect to intellectual property. What IPOS has been done at Zhongguancun is a signpost to the industrial parks throughout the country.” Xu Xiangyan further commented.
“This year, we have also undertaken a research project—the Patent Evaluation and Analysis Indicator System and Operating Manual—from the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). The patent evaluation and analysis has been a difficult issue worldwide, and one of the top projects in IP work. For this sake, we will pool a large number of experts from related government agencies, research institutions and corporations, and think tanks from China and other countries, to jointly develop a practical indicator system and finally a national standard.” Xu Xiangyang looked very confident about 2011.
(Translated by Ren Qingtao)

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