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U.S., China Reach Agreement on Intellectual Property Protections for U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center

September 23, 2011 - 10:46am

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Minister Wan Gang, of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, today witnessed the signing by U.S. and Chinese government officials of letters of endorsement recognizing intellectual property guidelines agreed upon by each of the three consortia comprising the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center. David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs signed for the U.S.  MA Linying, Deputy Director General for International Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology, signed for China.

The agreement protects American and Chinese researchers, scientists, and engineers by ensuring their intellectual property rights for the technology they create. It also defines how intellectual property may be shared or licensed in each country. Participating members in each project also may gain compensation on favorable terms, depending on their level of involvement in the final product.

“This innovative and enhanced framework for protecting intellectual property is an important step for the Clean Energy Research Center and collaborative research,” Secretary Chu said. “With both the U.S. and Chinese governments supporting these agreements, we are freeing our researchers to offer their best ideas and encouraging innovative thinking.”

President Obama and President Hu Jintao formally announced the establishment of the CERC during the President's trip to Beijing in 2009.  At the time, Secretary Chu joined Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang and Chinese National Energy Administrator Zhang Guobao in signing the protocol launching the Center. As the world's top energy consumers, energy producers and greenhouse gas emitters, the U.S. and China will play central roles in the world's transition to a clean energy economy in the years ahead.

The three U.S. consortia leads include the University of Michigan to advance technologies for clean vehicles; West Virginia University to focus on the next generation of clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage; and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for energy-efficient building technologies. Leading institutions in China are, respectively, Tsinghua University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Housing, Rural and Urban Development.

Total funding for CERC, including private and public investments in both countries, will be at least $150 million over five years.  U.S. government funding will be used to support work conducted by U.S. institutions and individuals only.

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