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Grassroots inventions at upcoming national exhibit

Around 1,000 creations will be displayed at the National Invention Exhibition to be held from Aug 19 to 22 in Weihai, Shandong province.

Unlike professional and industrial exhibitions for technologies developed by companies, the annual National Invention Exhibition features research results by individuals, according to Lu Dahan, general secretary of the China Invention Association, one of the event's sponsors.

Half of this year's exhibits will be presented by individual inventors and the rest will come from small businesses and research institutions, Lu said at a news conference last week in Beijing.

As the amateur inventors are from different walks of life, their inventions cover a broad range of fields, he added.

Nearly 400 exhibition booths will be used for the upcoming event, almost the same scale as similar overseas exhibitions, he said.

Yet projected visitor numbers are not so optimistic.

The domestic exhibition received thousands of visitors last year, which paled in comparison to the tens of thousands of visitors at such exhibitions abroad.

Low participation by the public is an indicator of the level of awareness about intellectual property rights, said the high-tech veteran who was before an official of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

"We need to do more to inspire interest in creations and promote awareness of innovation," he said.

Still, the attitude of the general public toward innovation has changed dramatically over the past decades, Lu said.

Ten years ago, people would say "without innovation, you have to wait for death - yet with innovation, you're seeking death" due to the inherent risks in time, money and image, he recalled.

The perception has now reversed as the country looks to further industrial modernization and more environmentally friendly development, he noted.

"Different from the previous development model - which relied heavily on resources and low labor costs - the current path requires more technological progress."

With more favorable policies designed to promote innovation and heavy investment in research, recent years saw continuing growth in patents.

The State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) received 391,000 applications for invention patents last year, an increase of 24.1 percent over 2009, according to the latest statistics from SIPO.

Domestic applicants comprised 74.9 percent of filings. Of those, 23.5 percent came from individuals.

A growing number of investors have turned to the China Invention Association for technology projects with market potential, Lu said.

"We want to develop the annual exhibition for both inventors and investors," Lu said.

During the four-day exhibition, the host city Weihai plans to present nearly 100 local projects ranging from seafood processing to electronic information and new materials, while organizers have selected 20 technology projects from other cities in search of investors.

The Weihai city government will offer concessions on tax, rent and use of water and electricity for the proposed projects, said Jiang Qi'an, chief of the city's intellectual property office.

Source: China IP

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