In the knowledge economy era, intellectual property plays a key role in generating new technologies and commercial patterns, according to a senior official.
"IP helps to analyze the market environment and design strategies, and offers protection for scientific research and companies' global development," said Zhang Zhicheng, director of the protection and coordination division of the State Intellectual Property Office. He made the comments at an IP activity in Chengdu, Sichuan province last week, which focused on how IP can serve regional economies.
Fan Su, head of the IP team at Ninebot Ltd, a Chinese startup making electric personal transport vehicles, echoed Zhang. Founded in 2012, the company has become a shining example of IP safeguarding.
"IP, especially trademarks, designs and invention patents, are the core for a startup," said Fan.
Ninebot has made efforts both in China and abroad to fully protect its IP rights.
The company found replicas of its self-balancing scooter on the Chinese market. It reacted to the infringement by asking the Beijing Intellectual Property Office to confirm Ninebot's IP rights to the product design.
"For startups, the most important thing is to ensure profits and market opportunities, so copycats are fatal to them," said Fan.
In 2015, Ninebot acquired Segway, the United States-based producer of the now household name self-balancing scooters founded in 1999. Ninebot obtained the complete patent package for self-balancing scooters and won the US market.
Fan said: "Startups should seize opportunities in the market within the first two years and register their IP for protection. Safeguarding IP rights is essential for protecting the business itself and maintaining market order."
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has taken steps to protect its creation of the "Singles Day" shopping spree, which takes place on Nov 11 each year.
In 2011, Alibaba applied for the trademark "Double Eleven" associated with the spree, which was approved the next year.
Registering the trademark has helped Alibaba to maintain its leading position in the e-commerce sector, said Zhang Haiyan, president of China Trademark and Patent Law Office Co.
"IP is an intangible asset for all walks of life. It will play an increasingly important role in China's economic restructuring and globalization," he said.
Wu Kai, director of the Chengdu federation of trade unions, said: "In the knowledge economy era, the foundation of cities' development has shifted from labor and resources to technology and knowledge. The IP system significantly stimulates innovation, encourages startups and supports innovation-driven development."
Liang Kaiyan contributed to this story.