Pirates beware as China opens first intellectual property centre

As the US Chamber of Commerce report shows, intellectual property issues remain a problem in China and piracy is widespread, and the possible theft of a brand is often mentioned as a major disincentive to investing in the Chinese market.

The law firm Rouse recently linked up with the prestigious Tsinghua University to launch China's first intellectual property centre in Beijing, which aims to support the 31,000 current students and all past alumni of the university, as well as local businesses in the Haidian district of the capital where Tsinghua is located, with developing and commercialising their ideas.

"China is on the way to becoming one of the world's great innovative nations and intellectual property is a key ingredient in translating innovation into products that will benefit the world," said Ian Harvey, founder of the Innovation and IP Strategy course and chair of the IP Centre Advisory Board.

The centre will provide education, legal expertise, business mentoring and networking opportunities for the next generation of Chinese innovators, and is the first of its kind in China to focus on IP strategy applied to business.


"We are passionate about intellectual property and about educating the next generation of Chinese entrepreneurs to realise its value," said Chris Bailey, Rouse executive and member of the IP Centre advisory board. Our firm still maintains its start-up culture, and we are excited about helping others to bring innovations to life. Our support of the IP Centre, at China's premier university for science and technology, is a contribution that aligns perfectly with Rouse's mission," he said.

Rouse has run a dedicated business course on IP Strategy as part of the Tsinghua International MBA since 2009.

The IP centre will be a part of Tsinghua’s x-lab, a section of Tsinghua University’s school of economics and management, that functions as a platform for innovation and entrepreneurship, helping people with bright ideas to transform them into successful products and new technologies.

Pearl Donghui Mao, executive director of Tsinghua University's x-lab, said it was crucial for x-lab participants to have a practical understanding of IP from the moment their new ventures take shape.

Clifford Coonan

Clifford Coonan

Clifford Coonan, an Irish Times contributor, spent 15 years reporting from Beijing