Campaign busts brand copycats in 6,000 counterfeiting cases

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The State Administration for Industry and Commerce tracked down about 6,000 trademark violation and counterfeit cases worth 798 million yuan ($120 million) in its latest campaign, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

The administration's deputy director Fu Shuangjian told a nationwide videoconference that more than 360,000 law enforcement officers joined the ongoing campaign and busted 556 counterfeit production bases in the six weeks before Dec 20.

In 2008, the administration investigated and punished cases worth 467 million yuan, the administration's trademark office head Li Jianchang said.

In 2009, law enforcement dealt with more than 42,000 cases worth about 570 million yuan, said figures provided by Lianhai, an authorized law firm based in East China's Fujian province.

The annual increases in the numbers and values of cases indicated the country's commitment to eliminating infringements and counterfeiting.

Deputy head of the administration's Beijing bureau Zhang Yongming said on Tuesday that his officers confiscated 398 purses, 484 wallets and 11 belts falsely branded as "Louis Vuitton" during the recent raid. They also found 4 million yuan worth of bogusly branded clothing and arrested three suspects in November.

In Jiangyin, Jiangsu province, authorities found copies of 78 famous overseas brands, including Prada and Boss, worth 50 million yuan, chief of the administration's Jiangsu bureau Jiang Yating said.

The campaign was launched after the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a regulation and undertook a six-month mission to protect intellectual property on Nov 5.

On Nov 23, the State Council made clear the responsibility of ministries and administrations in fighting counterfeiting and called for cross-ministry cooperation.

Wang Qian, a professor with the Intellectual Property School at East China University of Political Science and Law, said China still faced a tough challenge in fighting infringement and counterfeiting, as violators have developed advanced techniques.

He believed current legislation does not levy sufficiently serious punishments on violators.

"(The counterfeiters) would rather pay the fines and damages as long as they earn more producing fakes," Wang said, adding that an amendment to the law was needed.

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