China's Ministry of Science and Technology is reviewing draft law for protecting intellectual property rights covering biological and information technology, and is also considering legal proposals to protect property rights on large instruments and animals used in experiments related to State-level research programs, said Li Xueyong, vice-minister of science and technology, commenting at a conference on scientific systems and intellectual property which opened recently in Beijing.

The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council has been charged with drafting frameworks for the proposed laws, he said.

The concept of protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) on new technology has become a major consideration in scientific research. Scientific departments which undertake the so-called "863 Program" (China's high-tech development plan initiated in March 1986) and other national scientific programs are required to submit IPR protection strategies before they apply for project implementation, said Li. As a result, some projects have gained patented technologies. A new technology for growing genetically modified pest-resistant cotton, for example, was granted the "Golden Award of Invention Patent" by the World Intellectual Property Organization last year.

According to the State Intellectual Property Office, patent protection has been strengthened to spur the development of cutting-edge technology in China, and has been linked with 12 key scientific projects launched last year by the Ministry of Science and Technology, covering information security, computer software, electronic motor vehicles and other programs.

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