Evidence and Experience from Developing Countries
Edited by Sunil Mani and Richard R. Nelson
Chapter 5: The national patent regime and indigenous innovations in compliance with TRIPS: a case study of China
China is a transition economy moving from a planned economy to a market one. Under the planned economic system, with the concepts of public ownership and public property right dominant, awareness of protecting intellectual property used to be very weak, and as a result legislation in the field fell far behind. As a backward country, during the era of the planned economy, China made breakthroughs in certain fields such as nuclear weapons, hydrogen weapons, man-made satellites, and the aerospace industries as well. In the meanwhile, China achieved a very high level of education for its citizens, and set up a relatively complete and sound innovation system which kept science research separate from production. During this period, China made a great number of breakthroughs and developments in the high-tech core fields as well as the key segments. By making full use of the existing technologies and equipment and by improving and updating imported equipment and machines, China gradually mastered the designing and functioning of this equipment, improving its imitating and learning capability greatly. In this way, China established a relatively sound national economic system in the whole country. Since its economic reform and opening to the outside world, with private enterprises developing and state-owned enterprises reforming, development of the market economy encouraged more and more individuals, enterprises and research units to make innovations for the sake of economic interests. The patent protection laws also provide legal and institutional supports to such activities.
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