When the Chinese Intellectual Property System Hits 35
Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property, Vol. 8, 2018, Forthcoming
13 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2017 Last revised: 4 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 27, 2017
In 1982, China promulgated its first modern intellectual property law, offering protection to trademarks. Since then, China adopted the Patent Law in 1984, the Copyright Law in 1990 and the Anti-Unfair Competition Law in 1993. In December 2001, China finally became a member of the WTO, assuming obligations under the TRIPS Agreement.
One can certainly debate about the actual age of the modern Chinese intellectual property system, but it will not be too far-fetched to suggest that the system began in the early to mid-1980s and is now entering, or approaching, its middle age. What exactly does a middle-aged Chinese intellectual property system mean? Will the system hit its prime? Or is it about to face a hard-to-predict mid-life crisis?
Written for a special issue on 35 years of the Chinese intellectual property system, this article explores what it means for this system to hit 35. It begins by briefly recapturing the three phases of development of the system. In the style of David Copperfield, it discusses the system’s evolution from its birth all the way to the present. The article then explores three different meanings of a middle-aged Chinese intellectual property system – one for intellectual property reform, one for China and one for the TRIPS Agreement and the global intellectual property community.
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