On How the Intellectual Property System Impact in National Innovation Capability

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  • 信息来源::浙江大学公共管理学院
  • 发布时间:2006-12-08
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烟草中国网信息员胡峰报道 Abstract: The appropriateness of the intellectual property system has great influence on the formation and success of the national technology innovation system. In national innovation system, the intellectual property system is an innovation impetus. It is used in the entire process of the technology innovation. Meanwhile, much importance must be attached to the interest balance between the creators and the users of new knowledge again, for the stringent intellectual property system may impede the spread of knowledge. Key words: intellectual property system; national innovation system; technology 1. The Proposal of National Innovation SystemThe world economic pattern has undergone tremendous changes with the rise of the economic globalization and knowledge economy. Innovation has become the essential impetus for the economic growth and the social development and the key factor to maintain and improve the national long-term competitiveness. In the whole world, all the countries take the independent innovation as the main direction. However, the economic development of every country is different. Each of them is searching for an innovation road that is suitable for itself. National innovation system is proposed as a new development theory. The famous British scholar Freeman firstly put forward this theory. When he studied in Japan in 1987, he found that in the case of backward technology, Japan just took a few decades to become a major industrialized country of which the economy was growing fast because it put technology innovation in the first place and supported organization and system innovation. This shows that system factors play a very important role in promoting technology innovation. He believed that for the lead countries appearing in history, from Britain to German, America and then to Japan, such pursuing and surpassing are not only the results of technology innovation but also the system and organization innovation, which is the result of the evolution of the national innovation system. 2. The Extension of the Scope of National Innovation SystemThe accurate definition of the national innovation system is difficult to obtain till now. It is a general term of complicated national system and policy-incentive system. Different scholars adopt various methods in the studies about this system, and every method has its own focus. They put forward many problems, some of which have been solved and many of which have to be further addressed. The only common thing of them is to use the completely same method to assume that “the analysis level of national system cannot be completely restored to every factor”. In other words, the overall does not mean a simple addition of the segments. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also conducted research on national innovation system. In 1996, a report of OECD revealed that the national innovation system could be defined as: the structure network of institutions in public and private sectors whose activities and interaction of these sectors determine the knowledge and technology diffusion capacity of a country and influence the innovation achievements of this country. The proposal and study of national innovation system are a new development stage for the study of technology innovation and the result of deeply understandings of the relationship between scientific technology and economic development. Internationally, the generic definition favored by national innovation system is: national innovation system is the network of institutions in the public and private sectors whose activities and interactions initiate, import, modify and diffuse new technologies. The government, enterprises and scientific research institutions and the higher education institutes are the most important factors in this system. The national innovation system includes various interactive factors that are the generation, dissemination and application of the new economic knowledge and their interactions. The reason why national innovation system has been emphasized rather than regional or international system is that the design and implementation of public policies are still the functions of the government. The interest of national innovation system reflects a belief that the innovation power of domestic enterprises greatly depends on the government’s policies. Moreover, the successful implementation of any policy depends on the local political, economic and social environment. Therefore, when the international obligations confronts with domestic priorities and the local environment, the government will be faced with challenges. So the innovation system, the production system and the background characteristics of the system are national phenomena to a large extent, which are rooted in a specific social, historical and cultural background. Therefore, the implementation background can not be ignored when the impact on the technology innovation system of any industry brought by intellectual property is analyzed. In the national innovation system, the government, enterprises, higher education institutes and scientific research institutions interact with each other constructively in order to seek a series of common social and economic goals and take innovation as the key impetus for the reform and development. The primary functions of the national innovation system are to optimize the allocation of resources and to coordinate national innovation activities. Specifically, national innovation system has the distribution function of national innovation resources (including human, financial and information resources), the configuration function of national innovation system and policy system, construction function of the infrastructures of national innovation system and the implementation function of some innovation activities. The national innovation system possesses several essential characteristics, such as system, network, system innovation and organization learning. What must be conscious of is that the national innovation system is not established purposely. So the elements do not work in unchangeable forms. It is out of question that if this national system is planed to absorb the domestic and foreign innovation activities, the consistency and stability must be maintained in the lowest level. It should be particularly noted that the development of information technology promote the status and proportion of knowledge-based economy to rise increasingly high in domestic economic product since 1990s. With the upgrade of economic and technological globalization and the international competition among enterprises, the possibility for developing countries to infringe on others' rights and imitate products simply with their low-cost labors has been reduced significantly. Therefore, developing countries urgently need to create an intellectual property system that is favorable for domestic enterprises to innovate and acquire patents, and change their passive situation in the international competition to obtain long-term benefits of economic growth. 3. The Promoting Function of Intellectual Property System in Technology Innovation System The nation’s core competitiveness is increasingly reflected in the cultivation, distribution and control ability of the intellectual resources and results, and manifested in the abilities to master and make use of intellectual property rights. In the national innovation system, intellectual property system is an impetus of innovation and function in the entire process of technology innovation. The intellectual property system promote the property right, capitalization, industrialization of the results of technology innovation and accelerate the transformation of the achievements of scientific technologies into practical productive forces, thereby promoting economic development. The innovation result itself does not have material patterns, and it is not protected by law like ordinary properties. The intellectual property system is an effective arrangement of intellectual achievements. It is the innovation that inherits the public knowledge, of which the innovation point is blend together with public knowledge and the property boundaries are difficult to judge; meanwhile, its transfer and proliferation are easy. It is difficult to identify and control, and the cost of reproduction is low. All these above are the characteristics of the innovation result. So the innovation result needs to be defined and protected by intellectual property system. Intellectual property system is used to review innovation results scientifically, define the property rights and identify the scope and ownership of property rights. Intellectual property system conducts all of these by law, therefore, it realizes the industrialization of innovation results and provides system security for the full performance of the market mechanism. In the existing international intellectual property system, only the copyright is established automatically since the date of completion. Other patents and trademarks will take effect through certain legal and examining & approving procedures. The technology innovation activity is a complex and high-risk mental labor. The results of technology innovation are easy to share, diffuse and spread, which possess certain characteristics of public goods. Thus the results of technology innovation have external nature, which means that others can enjoy the benefits without paying any price but the obligees cannot be rewarded. If this external issue cannot be solved, people can use others’ innovation results arbitrarily and freely. The interests of the obligees cannot be guaranteed and its initiative in innovation will be hurt seriously. Therefore, the innovation activities of the whole society will be limited. All of these will impede the progress of scientific technologies and the economic development. Intellectual property system is a benefit incentive mechanism to promote the technology innovation. The property right of innovation achievements endows the obligees with independent interests and they can enjoy exclusive rights in a certain period. Then the most direct linkage of economic interests will occur between the obligees and the property rights of their innovation achievements. Meanwhile, the external nature of these achievements will be weakened, their certainty will be reduced and the costs will be diminished. The innovation achievements can monopolize a part of the market. The excessive profits will be obtained. And the value of the innovation results and the interests of obligees will be maximized. The market value of innovation achievements of their obligees and those of their inventors are tightly connected by the market value of intellectual property system. The more the innovation results meet the needs of the market, the more contribution will be made for the society. So do the interests of the obligees and inventors. Thus people have aimed at market in the entire process from the innovation to the industrialization. And the innovation activities and the market demand are closely linked to form a virtuous circle to promote the common development of technology innovation and economy. The results of technology innovations must be protected by intellectual property. Intellectual property is an intangible intellectual property right, which makes it highly vulnerable to violate. Thus there appears the “pick-up” phenomenon that others do not pay any price for the use of these achievements. Therefore, a legitimate monopoly right is obtained by the obligee for his own intellectual result through the legal system of intellectual property. Only by the innovation results in intellectual property forms will the rights of the obligees be truly realized and ensured and will a special competition advantage be acquired in the market competition. Technology advantage just reveals an achievement on technology but not the occupation of it. The occupation of technology must be realized by intellectual property rights. In the development of modern high-tech industries, intellectual property rights are the essential protection system. High-tech industries are characterized by high risk and high input. For example, the pharmaceutical industry is known as a “three highs” industry that is high-risk, high-input and high-return. Large transnational companies generally spend 10%-20% of the profits in the research and development (R&D). Pfizer, the international pharmaceutical magnate, spends more than 5 billion U.S. dollars in R&D annually. AstraZeneca company’s costs of R&D for each working day get to 14 million U.S dollars. On the contrary, generic drugs just cost a few investments and a little time. Moreover, the development of a large-scale software system needs more than 1000 people to work for years. But a reproduction of the software just can be completed by pressing mouse. Without the protection by intellectual property rights, there are no investors that are willing to make great previous investments in the R&D of the modern high technology. Thus it is difficult for various high-tech industries to form. The property right of technology innovation results represents not only the technology level but also the competition level of the market. In order to measure the competition level of an enterprise, the quantity of patents owned by the enterprise should be measured. And a country’s comprehensive strength of science and technology should be measured by the quantity of patents owned by the whole country. All the powerful countries in the world are intellectual property country. 4. The Superiority of National Technology Innovation System over Various Deficiencies of Intellectual Property System The issue of interest balance between the new knowledge’s creators and their users must be attached importance to again both by developing countries and by developed countries. The regulations of intellectual property rights are so stringent that the price of the knowledge will become too high, which will impede the spread of knowledge. Thus it cannot exert its positive influence on the improvement of living standards. Though the patent theory of intellectual property based on basic researches, it is not necessarily the most appropriate tool to encourage researches. Since the Baye-Dole bill of U.S. was passed in 1980, universities would apply for patents for the technologies developed by themselves. So these research institutions began to use patent rights increasingly frequently in order to protect research results. But such trend is controversial, for the researches made by universities are increasingly aiming at the commercial values, which cannot stimulate the sharing of knowledge and basic research. In fact, many people that study the replication behaviors of developing countries find that the replication process of these countries are like the innovation activities of developed countries. Actually, part of the knowledge’ nature is inexplicit, which determines that both replication and innovation are creative activities that include a search process. Such process is not completely different from the search for new development, and it costs a lot (and even much more expensive than the preliminary innovation sometimes). This view cannot only be used in a patent innovation, but also applied to non-patent innovation activities. Similarly the research ability must be possessed in order to better understand, explain and evaluate the basic knowledge and the applied knowledge. Therefore, there are a lot of uncertainties and risks in the introduction or improvement of foreign technologies. In fact, from the perspectives of these enterprises, the decision to improve the existing technologies is the same as that of innovation. Thus there are many common characteristics between the replication of developing countries and the innovation of developed countries. Both of them possess originality, scientific and technical capacities, and solving-problem abilities by specific knowledge, management capabilities, organizational efficiency and flexibility. All of these will exert influence on production costs, market competition and the evolutionary development of the whole industry. Moreover, both of the two activities can strengthen the ability of enterprises to absorb technologies. The so-called ability to absorb technology is that the ability of enterprises to learn and apply the new technologies through the intangible assets investments. Innovation is a self-reinforcing process to a great extent, which highlights the close connection between innovation and replication. It is the characteristics mentioned above that links the innovation with replication closely. Actually, in many developing countries, the level of industrialization and basic researches is relatively low. But in the process of industrialization, manufacturers have many new products and master a lot of new production technologies and thus accumulate plenty of scientific and technical capacities. The key to obtain such development is that the intellectual property in developing countries is very relaxing, or even no intellectual property exits in these countries. So the scientific technologies can be spread more freely. 5. The Inspiration While the appropriateness of intellectual property system have a significant impact on the formation and success of the national technology innovation system, a supportive frame needs to be established to maintain the success all the time and avoid unbalanced economic disruption. Thus, the radical reduction in the budget, currency devaluation and the instability caused by the speculative mergers and acquisitions, all of them destroy the accumulated knowledge and scientific and technical capabilities. In fact, the unfavorable policy and environment factors could easily lead to the depression and the stagnation of learning. If the domestic background is not taken into the formulation process of the patent policy, it is likely to end in failure. From a historical viewpoint, when the governments of industrialized countries gradually introduce stronger intellectual property policy into these countries, the corresponding policies and institutional reforms should be implemented widely in order to strengthen the technical abilities of the countries and ensure the sustained development of the domestic industries. China has become a WTO member in 2001, so the improvement of intellectual property system is not only the basic principle and significant measures for China to fulfill the “accession” commitment and create an investment environment, but also the deep-seated needs for it to improve the core competitiveness of socialist market economic system and enhance its core competitiveness. At present, the intellectual property situation facing with China is very complex: (1) the legislation of national intellectual property rights has been basically completed. The enforcement of intellectual property rights is continuously strengthened. And the law has been extended; (2) the weakest link of the establishment of China’s intellectual property system should be upgraded comprehensively (which is primarily revealed in the quality of intellectual property and management capabilities of enterprises). So the key to enhance China’s economic power and the international competitiveness of China’s enterprises is to establish and improve the independent innovation system that is intellectual property rights-oriented and to strengthen the creation and operation of independent intellectual property. References[1] Maskus, Keith. The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Encouraging Foreign Direct Investment and Technology Transfer. Duke Journal of Comparative International Law, 1998, 9(1): 109[2]Primo Braga, Carlos A. and Carsten Fink. The Economic Justification of the Grant of Intellectual Property Rights: Patterns of Convergence and Conflict’, in Frederick Abbott and David J. Gerber (eds.), Public Policy and Global Technological Integration, London: Kluwer Law International 1997: 99~122[3]Ferrantino, Michael J. The Effect of Intellectual Property Rights on International Trade and Investment. Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 1993, 129: 300~331

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