March 19-20 was the 5th IP Counsel Congress held at Shenzhen, one of 3 2013 IP Counsel events in China managed by JFPS Group. This was their first year in Shenzhen, and I think it was highly successful. I think about 150 delegates from China and other nations were present, including IP leaders and influencers from Hungary, Germany, South Africa, Korea, Japan, and other nations.
I was especially pleased to learn from IP leaders from some of the world's leading IP generators such as ZTE, the top international filer recently.
I had the pleasure of chairing day one of the two-conference, and being the lead speaker with my presentation on IP, China, and innovation. I briefly retraced some of the monumental achievements in the history of China, including some major inventions that the West originally thought came from the West but actually started in China. I began with the example of the printed book, and quizzed the audience about who invented the world's first mass-produced book printed with movable type? Gutenberg is a pretty good answer and his Bible was a remarkable achievement, one that came just 142 years after the world's first mass-produced book printed with movable type was created in China by Wang Zhen. Had some fun with that bit of history, and caught a lot of the Chinese people by surprise. Many don't realize how rich China's tradition of innovation actually is.
Today, many people think of China as a great copier, but China is rapidly and deliberately moving from a copier to an inventor and a leading source of IP. There are still barriers and inertia to overcome, but the goal is being realized and by the time the West understands the significance of this transformation, many players will have missed the opportunity of a lifetime and some will be completely disrupted. Those who recognize what is happening here may more wisely prepare for the opportunities and risks that will be created, and adapt.
China as a source of innovation and IP must not be ignored. But tapping its potential requires a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and business, which is much different that what the West is used to. I gave some basic tips and reviewed the importance of Chinese concepts such as guanxi, yuanfen (destiny in chance encounters), and hexie (harmony).