Evolve to Thrive —realizing the value of In-house IP managers during economic transitions

2013/3/21By Anne Zhang, China IP,[Comprehensive Reports]

The 3rd China IP Annual Forum was successfully concluded on 10th January 2013 in Beijing Broadcasting Tower Hotel.
 
The theme of the Forum was “Evolve to Thrive— Realizing the Value of In-house IP Managers during Economic Transitions.” IP experts and scholars, IP managers from enterprises and practitioners of law firms, IP agencies as well as IP service organizations participated actively in the Forum.
 

 
Retrospect and prospect
 
Tommy Zhang, Editor-in-Chief of China IP , delivered the opening speech. He reviewed the overall performance of China’s IP industry in 2012. The amendments of three major IP laws including Patent Law, Trademark Law and Copyright Law, as well as some Regulations like Service Invention caused vigorous debates. Despite the doubts and confusions which arose in the amendment process, the general public’s feedbacks appreciated the progress in the IP society construction. IP litigations in 2012 had drawn the most attention which helped the widespread of basic IP knowledge, and to assist people realized the value and power of IP in business competition. Moreover, the realization of IP value led to an upsurge of IP investment. How should enterprises meet higher requirements in 2013? The forum discussed and answered the questions with practical solutions.
 
Professor Qu Sanqiang, Dean of Law School of Beijing Institute of Technology, gave the first keynote speech. He explored his topic “IP, the Way to A Prosperous Country” by analyzing the importance of IP in constructing a strong country through science and technology. Prof. Qu stated in his speech that, “Intellectual property system filters the inferior designs and inventions. Only inventions representing cutting edge technology, which can benefit the whole society, can be protected by IP. Apparently, for a country, choosing eligible IP technologies is more advance and scientific than indiscriminate selections.” He stressed that the greatest achievement in China since the adoption of reform and opening-up policy is the development of IP.
 
Su Chi, Associate Dean at Beijing College of Politics and Law, is the former Vice-President of the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court as well as the former Presiding Judge and founder of the Beijing Intellectual Property Tribunal. He analyzed the development of IP adjudication in the past 20 years, “There were only a few members of staff in the Tribunal when I was the Presiding Judge and we only took fewer than 100 cases per year at that time. However, the number of cases gradually increased from hundreds to thousands. By the end of 2011 and 2012, the number amounted to approximately 10,000 cases, with 9050 cases in 2011 and over 10,000 cases in 2012.”
 
He also analyzed the case features, “25% of the cases are IP administrative cases. Copyright related cases are on the top. Take 20,000 cases as the base to calculate, 12,495 of them are copyright cases, 259 cases involving unfair competition, 269 cases are technology contract cases, cases in other fields are 500. These cases are becoming more complicated with a growing number. The Patent Reexamination Board and the Trademark Appeal Board are more commonly in the position of defendants, the trial scope is getting broader.”
 
He shared his extensive first-hand experience accumulated in court. He believed that IP trial requires more acuity than other trials and the balancing of rights and interests should be taken into consideration. The proper practice is beneficial to the IP industry for it is able to exert positive influence on the protection and development of technology innovation, while improper dealings may cause adverse influence last for years or even longer. IP laws have to deal with the recent emerging issues with the development of technology and innovation. Therefore, IP practitioners should obtain higher capabilities on reading, observing, thinking and judging.
 
QPBC’s Chairman Jack Chang elaborated on the current situation and relevant changes of the IP policy environment in China from an international perspective. He believed that IP practitioners should perceive an international outlook. Having comprehensive professional knowledge in all aspects is the basic requirement to survive in IP field. In coping with infringements, problems such as which party bears the burden of proof and how to maintain company’s interests should be resolved. People should have an international vision and strong social network, which are the basis in bringing interests to one’s company.
 
Speeches from multiple angles
In the enterprises section, IP managers from several international companies shared their personal working experience and managing experience with the audience.
 
First came Qu Xiaoyang, the Director of Corporate IP from Siemens, China. He believed that IP is currently under the spotlight worldwide, an increasing number of enterprises are constructing and expanding their in-house IP departments. They serve unique functions and provide IP solutions according to individual circumstances such as involving in R&D activities, making strategies in litigation orientated on company’s business goals and IP risk management. In-house IP has two features, firstly, differing from IP agencies, in-house IP is deeply-rooted in enterprises’ operation; secondly, the initiative working model for in-house IP enables it to identify and resolve problems actively. Furthermore, he also summarized 8 capabilities that in-house IP counsels should possess: spirit of entrepreneurship, strategic thinking, great initiative, change-orientated, learning, communication, interpersonal relationship construction and analyzing.
 
Zhang Yan, Senior IP Law Counsel of IBM Asia Pacific Growth Market Units (GMU) shared her understandings on the growing popularized innovation. She interpreted the relationship between self-innovation and cooperative innovation, patent quality and patent quantity, and gave her own answers to questions such as the main body of innovation and how to value innovative talents.
 
Zhang Gaoxiang, Principal IP Counsel of Intellectual Property & Standards Department at Philips (China) Investment Co., Ltd. introduced the layout of his department. He revealed that Philips attaches great importance to its IP department because of the revenues it brought to the company. Thus, as a decisive process, any trade related to IP must meet with the IP department’s approval. He said, “IP strategy is profoundly embedded in orchestration, and we have inner process management as well.”
 
Ren Feng, IP Manager of Panasonic Corporation of China expressed in her speech that, “IP is the basic resource with great importance in business operation. As early as 2003, Chairman of Panasonic put forward a slogan saying Advance with IP.’ The view there is no business without IP’ has become the basic principle within the company. ”
 
Li Chaofan, Patent Examination Management Department of SIPO; Wang Ningling, Partner of Finnegan and Linda Chang, China Country Manager of Rouse gave speeches on patent information application in enterprises IP management and IP litigation.
 
Panel discussion

 
In the first panel discussion, Yuan Zhenfu, Deputy Director of SHIPA; Wang Haibo, IPR Director of ZTE; Wang Huotao, Assistant General Manager of the Intellectual Property Department at Tencent Technologies; Chen Yuanqing, Patent Senior Manager of Lenovo (Beijing) Co., Ltd. and Yang Xuri, Intellectual Property & Intellectual Capital Director of Peking University Founder Group Co., Ltd. discussed the realizing of the professional value of in-house IP managers. These IP managers are surprisingly similar in their career development route, they have a comparatively simple working background and been devoted to their career since they entered the IP industry. They also expressed that in order to be an outstanding IP manager, one should have patience and good communication skills, and should be strong in information collecting and be sensitive to innovative products. They discussed their obstacles in work and the correspondent solutions. The audience asked incisive questions and had great interactions with the panel members.

 
In the second panel discussion, Doctor Kevin X. of Troutman Sanders LLP; Li Zhonghua, Vice President of CTEX; Zhang Tao, Vice President of ANTA Sports Products Limited; Han Xuefeng, Vice General Manager of Feitian Technologies Co., Ltd. and Naomi Abe Voegtli, Vice President of Global Intellectual Property China / Emerging Markets discussed the efficient combination of a company’s development with its IP strategies. Zhang Tao stated that R&D plays an important role in ANTA, it acquired IP in the process of R&D. The company protects its brand image and IP under government assistance. While Han Xuefeng stated that the company now highly values its IP related business because of the past unfortunate experience. The panel members believed that, on the patent quality and quantity issue, enterprises should guarantee the quality while ensuring the quantity; quantity may exceed quality when they are at the initial stage of IP accumulation, while for enterprises which have gathered experience in IP, the balanced development of quality and quantity would be crucial.
 
(Translated by Emily Tan)
 

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