China rejects Japan's rail patents claims

Updated: 2011-07-08 07:16

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The Ministry of Railways has rejected a Japanese claim accusing China of violating intellectual property rights concerning high-speed rail technology. The accusation came after China submitted applications for international patents.

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Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said on Thursday that China had developed the technology, that it was applying patents for, independently. The Japanese accusation displayed a "lack of confidence", he said.

His remarks came after Tadaharu Ohashi, chairman of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, said last week that the company would take legal action if China's high-speed train patents violated contracts signed between Japan and China.

In an online chat with netizens at, the Xinhua website, Wang said that China CNR Corp Ltd and the China Academy of Railway Sciences had been filing patent applications abroad since 2009.

Li Jun, director of the general affairs office at the ministry's transport bureau, told China Daily earlier that China has filed 21 applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

The applications concern train assembly, hulls and bogies (part of the suspension system), and they have been filed in the United States, Brazil, Europe, Russia and Japan, according to Li.

"All the high-speed rail patents that China is applying for abroad have been developed independently, and they do not infringe on other countries' high-speed rail patents," he said.

"China will not claim anything that does not belong to it. However, it will not give up the right to patent its innovations because of irresponsible remarks by others," he said.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries transferred the technology for a 200-km/h train to China in 2004. The CSR Corp Ltd's Qingdao Sifang Co Ltd, in partnership with Kawasaki Heavy Industries, produced the train, called CRH2, in China.

CSR later developed, on its own, a 300-350 km/h train and the CRH380A train with a designed top speed of 380 km/h.

"The strong reaction of some Japanese, without even knowing exactly what patents China is filing for, shows a fragile state of mind and a lack of confidence", Wang said.

Visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto also mentioned the issue to his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on July 4. Yang made it clear that the technology China filed patents for are "China's own innovations", Wang said.

He said China absorbed foreign technology but also innovated.

Compared to the CRH2 train, produced with technology imported from Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, the CRH380A train for the Beijing-Shanghai route operates at much higher speeds.

Among other differences, the CRH380A has a derailment factor of only 0.13, compared to 0.73 for the CRH2, and air resistance at the front of the train is more than 15 percent less, Wang said.

"The facts and data can speak themselves."

It is ridiculous, he said, for some Japanese to say that China pirated technology from the Shinkansen, Japan's bullet train.

"The Shinkansen and the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway are on two different levels. There are huge differences in terms of speed, comfort and technology."

Countries should continue to improve technology to become leaders in the field, he added.

"What China did in boosting rail speed from 250 km/h to 350 km/h is important and similar to progress made when Japan raised train speed, enlightened by European technology, from 100 km/h to 200 km/h," he said.

The two achievements both followed international law on intellectual property rights. China is now applying for patents to facilitate innovation and the transfer of high-speed rail technology, Wang said.

China is willing to offer technological help to Japan, according to international laws and trade rules, as Japan plans to build five high-speed lines totaling 870 kilometers, he added.


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