State Intellectual Property Office
In 2003, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) adopted effective measures, focusing on the special enforcement operations in the circulation area to enhance IPR protection. Taking advantage of its simpler procedure, more technical-wise team and the more responsive administrative enforcement power, local IPR offices effectively handled patent disputes, cracked down on patent passing-off and faking others' patents. In 2003, local IPR offices received 1,517 patent disputes, resolved 1,237 disputes, and handled 1,873 cases related to patent passing-off and 164 cases related to faking others' patents.
This year, the IPR system organized several dedicated clean-up operations and April 26 special operations to further strengthen IPR protection.
Several days ago, the State Council organized a national TV teleconference on IPR special operations. In an effort to implement the decisions made during the conference, SIPO formulated and promulgated a notice titled Plans for the Enhancement of IPR Administrative Enforcement and Special Enforcement Operations (the notice) for further strengthening of IPR administrative enforcement.
Provided in the notice, the princIPRles for the special enforcement operations are IPR administrative enforcement shall include both day-to-day enforcement and dedicated clean-up operations, both improvement of enforcement skills and efficiency, and both explicit jurisdiction responsibility and intensified coordination. There are three main objectives:
i) Restrain organizational infringement, repeated infringement and other types of malicious patent infringements;
ii) Improve conditions for administrative enforcement, increase rapid response speed of administrative enforcement, increase annual resolution rate of cases and efficiency of coordination and case transfer among different authorities;
iii) Enhance government authorities' skills in handling IPR disputes involving foreign parties; further improve China's international reputation and credibility of the Government in IPR protection;
There are mainly five parts of the special enforcement operations:
I) ParticIPRate actively in the operations of the IPR Protection Sub-Group. Establish an all-around IPR enforcement coordination mechanism, connect administrative enforcement more snuggly with criminal enforcement, and further clarify the case transfer standard of patent cases, work jointly with other departments to supervise high-profile IPR infringement cases. IPR offices at all levels shall strengthen professional relations with the Local Group, police, administrations for industry and commerce, copyright administrations, customs, quality inspection administrations and law and regulation departments as well as judicial authorities, strengthen enforcement coordination and information exchange. Work closely with police in case transfer of patent or other kinds of cases.
II) Intensify capacity building in IPR administrative enforcement. Formulate the patent protection regulations, intensify administrative enforcement tools, strictly apply administrative enforcement procedure and standardize administrative enforcement. Further strengthen the decision-making in the IPR administrative enforcement, focus on the intrinsic rules of the constitution of infringement and include both seizure and precaution.
Modern IT methods will be applied to further upgrade the automation level of administrative enforcement. Establish and improve inter-regional enforcement coordination mechanism. Intensify training level by organizing various kinds of training and discussions to further elevate the caliber of the IPR enforcement officers.
III) Continue holding activities during IPR Protection Week. IPR administrations across the nation will hold press conferences and seminars, writing and quiz contests, lectures, disseminate general information of IPR protection and elevate the public's awareness of IPR protection during the April 26 in 2005.
IV) Establish communication and cooperation mechanism for IPR protection. Follow the enforcement information in foreign countries and Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and Taiwan Province, actively organize international communication and cooperation in IPR protection. Further improve communication mechanism with foreign-funded companies in IPR protection, communicate on the regular basis and being aware of the opinions and proposals of foreign-funded companies on cracking down on counterfeiting or inferior quality goods and IPR protection.
V) Encourage self-discIPRlinary action of industry. Support and encourage establishment of various kinds of IPR self-discIPRlinary and right enforcing organizations or industry associations to form effective self-discIPRlinary actions, nurture, develop and standardize intermediary agencies for IPR infringement investigation and verification. Make full play of the functions of intermediary agencies in IPR protection.
The specific measures in the special enforcement operation:
I) Special patent enforcement operations in the fields of food and pharmaceuticals
In September 2004, IPR offices in provinces, autonomous regions and municIPRalities will hold large-scale investigation and dedicated clean-up operations in the fields of food and pharmaceuticals to crack down on patent infringement, patent passing-off and faking others' patents. Once a patent violation is found, it will be handled strictly. If criminal violation found, the case will be transferred to police. When other government departments handled violations in the fields of food and pharmaceuticals, IPR offices shall work closely with them and offer effective support.
II) Special enforcement operation on protecting all kinds of patent right
In October 2004, special enforcement operations for protecting patent right for designs were conducted in many provinces, such as Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shandong, Henan, Sichuan and Xinjiang, where the volume of patent applications for industrial designs is large and the pressure on patent protection is heavy.
In November 2004, special enforcement operations on protecting patent right for utility models were conducted in many provinces, such as Guangdong, Zhejiang, Sichuan, Shandong, Henan, Hunan, Hubei, Hebei, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Yunan, where the volume of patent applications for utility models is large and the pressure on patent protection is heavy.
In November 2004, special enforcement operations for protecting patent right for inventions were conducted in many provinces, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Hubei and Shaanxi, where the volume of patent applications for inventions is large and the pressure on patent protection is heavy.
III) Special enforcement operation on intellectual property protection in large wholesales and exhibitions
The Intellectual Property Offices in the provinces, autonomous regions and municIPRalities mentioned in b. shall pay full attention to intellectual right protection by investigating and regulating the large wholesales and exhibitions when conducting the above special enforcement operations.
Intellectual property protection enforcement operation should be well organized during the period of the Guangdong Trade Fair for Exportation and Importation, the August 8th China Investment and Trade Conference in Xiamen and Shenzhen Hi-tech Trade Meeting. Guangdong Intellectual Property Office and Fujian IPR Office shall be in charge of the meeting organization and other work concerned.
In the second half of 2004, the detailed work plans for intellectual property protection during the Beijing 2008 Olympics shall be laid down. The Beijing Intellectual Property Office shall be in charge of the work concerned.
In the second half of 2004, the detailed work plans for intellectual property protection during the Shanghai Expo 2010 shall be laid down. The work plans shall be drafted in advance of the meeting. The Shanghai Intellectual Property Office shall be in charge of the work concerned.
The strategies for intellectual property protection in exhibitions shall be worked through and laid down, and try to get the strategies published in the third quarter of 2004.
IV) Special enforcement operation against patent swindle
V) Studies on intellectual property enforcement
In October 2004, studies the Rules for intermediary services such as investigation of IPR infringement and consultation will be organized.
During the third and fourth quarter in 2004, and the first and second quarter in 2005, combined with various kinds of enforcement operations, organize seminars on special enforcement, enforcement coordination, case study and enforcement evaluation.
VI£©Facilitate information exchange and communication in IPR administrative enforcement areas
Those IPR offices in provinces, autonomous regions and municIPRalities that have not established publication systems for IPR protection status are required to prepare their own systems. By the first quarter in 2005, all provinces, autonomous regions and municIPRalities shall establish such systems. The case reporting system shall be strictly applied pursuant to SIPO's Methods for the Reporting of High-Profile Patent Cases. Data concerning local enforcement shall also be submitted accordingly.
In the second half of 2004 and the first quarter of 2005, local IPR offices shall introduce the local IPR protection status to area-based foreign consulates, chambers of commerce/associations, foreign-funded companies and foreign media and listened to their opinions and proposals.
Enhance information exchange with government agencies of relevant foreign countries, international organizations and IPR enforcement departments in Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR, establish IPR enforcement dialogue mechanism at all levels.
VII) Coalition Enforcement Special Operations During March 15 and April 26
During March 15 and April 26 in 2005, inter-region and inter-agency coalition enforcement check-up and dedicated clean-up operations will be held.
The notice requires IPR offices in provinces, autonomous regions and municIPRalities to offer their own specific programs or action plans covering organization, measures, procedures and timelines and conduct enforcement activities by phase while taking account of the general plan and local situation.