University of Nottingham Ningbo China
AHRC Centre for
Digital Copyright and IP Research in China
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Project 4: Intellectual Property Practices in Creative and IT Industries: A Comparison Study between China and the UK from the User-centred Perspective
 PI Dr. Effie Law  Department of Computer Science, University of
 Co-I               Dr. Xu Sun

Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing, Product Design and Manufacture, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China

Dr. Sue Cobb 

Faculty of Engineering, Human Factors Research Group, University of Nottingham UK

Mr. Yingping Zhang  Deputy Director, Ningbo Chenyuan Patent
Attorneys Office, China
Mr. Guanhua Hou  Secretary General, Ningbo Industrial Design
Association, China
Dr. Patrick Pradel Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing, Product
Design and Manufacture, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China
Dr. Qingfeng Wang  Quantitative Method and Applied Economics, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China
Mr Bruno Oro 

Design Studio Leader, Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing, Product Design and Manufacture, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China

Programme of research

A cross road for China: relevance OR irrelevance of IP  
In around 300 years of IP history, many countries frequently violated IP of other countries until their national interests in IP grew and they passed a certain economic development stage (Mgbeoji 2003). As China is transiting from a low-skill-based economy to a knowledge-based economy, China is gradually losing its low-cost-advantage in manufacturing to its neighbours e.g. India. To sustain its economic growth, China urgently needs to shift to an economy emphasizing more on creative and technological industries. As these require intensive intellectual inputs, therefore China needs to introduce more stringent IP-policies in order to realise ‘the decisive force of innovations in moving China economy forward’ as highlighted in Chinese Premier Li’s keynotes speech at 2013 Summer Davos (Wang 2013). IP protection is a worldwide challenge, especially for China. The accusation that China doesn’t protect IP, as reported in media and literature (Budde-Sung 2013) reflects how developed countries view China’s current IP status. The economic/political landscape of China has undergone a substantial change since 1978. The huge potential benefits that creative/technological-industries can leverage on the Chinese economy should now incentivize the Chinese-government/businesses to properly protect IP. The leverage effect of IP protection on GDP was clearly evidenced in the economic development of Korea, Taiwan and Singapore (Han and Jang 2006); countries which previously adopted relaxed IP-policies to accelerate their technological/economic development (Kumar 2002). Research suggests that the ‘‘root cause’’ of piracy lies in not only on the supplier side but also on the demand side (Kwong et al. 2003). Therefore, in order for China to introduce effective IP policies, policy makers need to understand the current awareness/attitude of Chinese consumers and designers towards IP.

Confucius is the most highly esteemed philosopher in China
Previous studies recognized that “IP infringement in China is more a problem of enforcement of laws than absence of laws” (Massey 2006). In theory, law in China has been considered inferior to Confucian ethics (Allinson 1989). Kshetri (2009) suggested that “the major obstacle to the institutionalization of IP probably is due to the lack of social and cultural acceptability of IP”. Therefore, it is important to identify factors influencing social and cultural acceptability of IP in China. Like every country, China’s culture and history can have a significant impact on IP policies. Resnik (2003) argued ‘no single approach can provide an adequate account of IP’. Endeshaw (2002) reckoned that IP policies of developed countries favour the interest of the rich rather than the poor. A globally unified IP policy is not a realistic approach to provide a satisfactory account of IP rights as countries differ notably e.g. in moral values (moral identity –Aquino et al. 2002; moral reasoning – Kohlberg 1981); social norms (Bandura et al. 1996) and legal systems (McGowan et al. 2007). The concept of IP was absent from traditional Chinese thoughts as knowledge was considered as ‘rediscovery of the ways of ancient sages’ (Lehman 2006). As traditions were deeply esteemed in a Confucian society, ‘no one dared to claim that they had created something new and of sufficient value to bother identifying it as their own’ (Ivanhoe 2005). Since Confucius’ time, people who seek for self-interest are regarded as “an inferior person”, and to profit from creative work is both immoral and low-class (Lehman 2006). Therefore, developing an IP framework in China needs to be consistent with changing trends in the Chinese-culture.

1)What are consumers and designers’ awareness and attitudes towards IP in creative/technological industries? What are factors at individual and cultural level that impact on existing IP awareness and attitude?
1a) Are levels of awareness and attitudes towards IP consistent across cultures (e.g. UK and China)?
1b) What are the relationships between consumers and designers’ awareness and attitudes towards IP?

2) How can we enhance experiences in the process of devising IP strategies, protection and management to aid business innovation and social development of China?
2a) What are the users’ requirements of IP information systems for designers, design institutions and IP officers?
2b) What implications do the IP practices and experiences in the UK have for China?

3) What cultural factors can facilitate or hinder the promotion of IP awareness, the development and implementation of IP policies in China?
3a) How do Confucian’ moral values embedded in Chinese culture influence consumers and designers’ attitude towards IP?
3b) What are the ethical environments in which designers and other professionals of IT innovation are working?
3c) What cultural factors can explain the major