IP held up as way to aid tech innovation

Updated:Oct 15,2020 10:38 AM China Daily

Province promotes technology creation through support to protect original ideas

In East China's Anhui province, the government and companies are highlighting the role of intellectual property while pursuing innovation-driven development.

The province, which is to integrate economically with its neighboring Yangtze River Delta-a powerhouse of China-has spared no efforts in upgrading its technological strength.

"IP can serve as an umbrella or a guard to protect technological innovation," said Cheng Yin, director of the Anhui Intellectual Property Bureau.

Currently, the province is leading the country in terms of IP in the fields of smart manufacturing, electronic information, biomedicine and quantum communication.

In early August, the China National Intellectual Property Administration approved the setting up of an IP protection center in Anhui. It focuses on new-generation information technology and advanced equipment manufacturing industries.

The invention patent examination cycle could be shortened from an average 30 months to 10 months once the center is opened, according to Cheng's bureau.

"We will keep providing efficient services to companies," he added.

Anhui has a pool of more than 6,800 IP specialists that have served nearly 6,000 IT companies and more than 100 scientific and technological research institutes in the province, Cheng noted.

Chery is one of China's largest independent auto brands with a home base in Wuhu of Anhui. It said it has invested 5-7 percent of the company's annual sales in research and development since its establishment 23 years ago.

Over the years, the company has applied for 19,191 patents. Out of this, 12,393 have been granted, including nearly 3,700 invention patents, said Li Yongjie, IP department director of Chery Holdings.

The automaker has removed the barriers of key technologies that were once monopolized by foreign companies. This spans engines to gearboxes, core spare parts to platform development and from traditional auto technology to that of new energy vehicles, said Li.

"We fully realized the importance of IP rights and set up a comprehensive system that covers the full process from R&D, production to marketing," he noted.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the total sales volume of new energy vehicles in August rose more than 20 percent from one year ago, according to company figures.

Both domestic sales and exports of the company's vehicles registered more than 20 percent growth year-on-year as well, the company said.

Also based in Wuhu, CETC Wuhu Diamond Aircraft Manufacture has developed several models of aircraft and sells them at home and abroad.

The company, co-invested in by China Electronics Technology Group and the Wuhu city government in 2013, aims to be a world leader in the aviation industry. It has established an independent R&D system of high-performance general aircraft based on models introduced from their Austrian partners, according to the company.

It has applied for 235 patents, including 122 invention patents, company data showed. So far, 90 patents have been granted to it.

"We have set up a system to award the innovative ideas of the employees. We expect more projects with self-developed IP rights and core competitiveness can be fostered in the future," said Zeng Rui, the company's communications director.

Anhui Yingliu Group, a company that produces spare parts for aircraft engines, gas turbines, nuclear power station equipment and marine equipment, has invested heavily in tackling key technological problems.

"We have injected 1.6 billion yuan ($237.2 million) in R&D over the past five years because we believe only sufficient input can generate our own IP rights," said Ding Bangman, vice-president of Yingliu Group. "It's easy to buy equipment, but very hard to solve the technological problems and grasp the core technologies."

One of their products is a reactor coolant pump, a key component used in nuclear reactors to shield main pumps. It took the researchers five years to work out and the work cost 80 million yuan, he said.

"We are very proud we can make such a product. The company has applied for more than 30 patents and all technologies are self possessed," he noted.