Military defends intellectual rights

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2011, 12:00am


The number of defence-related patent applications in China has increased rapidly over the past two years, an official from the People's Liberation Army revealed.

Lu Xicheng, of the PLA's General Armaments Department, was quoted by the People's Daily yesterday as saying that the figures had already exceeded the total number of patent applications made in the 10 years from 1985 to 2005.

China implemented a new intellectual property rights initiative for the national defence sector in 2009.

The campaign aims to increase the number of patent applications to more than 10,000 a year by 2015. It also wants to move forward on patented military technologies and examine if any show potential to be adapted for other uses.

Analysts say the push is due to China having lost out in the international military market because of a lack of intellectual ownership in the past.

A commentary by the PLA Daily said some Western countries imposed embargoes or limits on arms sales to China which pushed China to forge its own technologies.

Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong said patent applications would continue to grow due to the complexity of regional security, including territorial disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

He said: 'The uncertainty over security in the region makes China feel threatened and pushes the country to step up modernisation of the military. China cannot just sit and do nothing.

'This creates demand for the military industry to make more inventions and apply for patents,' he added. He expected a focus on developing missiles and anti-radar technology.

Antony Wong Dong, president of the International Military Association in Macau, said military trade was the real driving force behind the emphasis on intellectual property rights, rather than any territorial concerns.

'China loses because some of the technologies are already patented by other countries,' he said.

'It not only causes economic losses, but also affects China's image because some may perceive that Chinese military equipment is just a copycat of other countries' inventions.'