Franco-Chinese Innovations Celebrated with Joint Awards

Franco-Chinese Innovations Celebrated with Joint Awards


Five China-France cooperative research teams won the Innovation Awards for Franco-Chinese Teams, an activity to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

The winners were announced on Dec 4.

The awards were organized by the France-China Committee and were part of the "France Technology - so French, so innovative" campaign, which launched in July. The awards aimed to promote and reward excellent innovative projects that were jointly developed by Franco-Chinese bi-cultural teams.

A team funded by French EDF Group and the Institute of Electrical Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences won the R&D Award with their joint project on concentrated solar tower power plant technologies. The award was for innovations not yet available in the market.

A team from Alchimedics SAS and Sino Medical Sciences Technology Inc won the Innovative Product Award. Their drug eluting stent, called BuMA, was designed for patient safety and reduced healthcare costs. The award was for innovations already commercialized with a patent filed.

In addition, three awards of special mention were given to teams from the French Mines-Telecom Foundation, Alstom Hydro China and Solvay.

A total of 25 Franco-Chinese teams entered the awards and 22 of them were eligible to run in the competition. They included companies, R&D institutions, universities and joint labs, which involved more than 200 French and Chinese specialists.

The judging panel was made up of intellectual property officials and experts from institutions, companies and scientific publications in both nations. The team selected three finalists for the R&D Awards and three for the Innovative Product Awards in late November.

The projects were assessed based on innovative aspects, economic viability and usefulness in social, economic, industrial and ecological terms.

The combination between innovation and market makes value, said Yves Lapierre, commissioner and CEO of the French National Industrial Property Institute, at the award ceremony.

"Innovation should be some scientific findings that meet market demands," he said. "But the transformation from a research achievement to a product on the market can be difficult sometimes."

"IP rights, as a huge asset for a company, are used so that the innovator can exclusively enjoy the profit brought by its innovation, at least in the first few years after the launch of a product," Lapierre said.

He said that IP cooperation between Chinese and French teams was "leverage" because it integrated various technologies and people with different cultures and understandings.

Lapierre also highlighted the key role of patents in ongoing Franco-Chinese innovation projects in fields such as nuclear power, aviation and the auto industry.

"Business and technical cooperation between the two nations is advancing because of proper and sufficient IP protection, thanks to which both parties get returns after their R&D investment," he said. "IP protection will promote the two nations' cooperation in innovation and diplomatic relationship."

Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, French ambassador to China, said that both China and France were nations that contributed many important inventions to the world. He also encouraged innovation by young people.

A Young Talents Award for innovators aged between 18 and 30 was planned but the French Mines-Telecom Foundation team was the only applicant, so they were granted a special mention instead.

China and France signed an IP cooperation treaty in 1998. It was the first treaty of its kind signed by China and a foreign government and it "laid a solid foundation for the two nations' bilateral IP cooperation", said He Zhimin, deputy commissioner of China's State Intellectual Property Office.

"With the development of the knowledge economy, IP has emerged as an important resource and element in competition," he said. "The capacities of IP creation, use, protection and management are regarded as measurements of a nation's economy and innovative power."

(Source: China Daily)

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