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Copyright and Trademarks to Be Better Protected

Senior legislators are considering incorporating Internet articles into the traditional definition of copyrighted works, to better protect intellectual property rights during this burgeoning information era.

They also called for the better protection of renowned trademarks by amending the Trademark Law.

These topics were highlighted in a panel discussion on the draft amendments to the Copyright Law and the Trademark Law which were submitted to the ongoing 21st session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People’s Congress for the second round of deliberation.

“The prosperity of the Internet media has not only provided netizens with a rich source of information but also has led to increasing infringements of copyright on the Internet,” said NPC deputy Nan Zhenzhong.

He was referring to the rampant use of works without paying the copyright owners and sometimes without even adding their names to the pieces by some of the Internet media.

Chinese netizens had exceeded 22.5 million by the end of last year, official figures indicate. Internet media has become increasingly popular in the country.

However, disputes over the copyright protection of works published on the Internet has challenged judges as current legislation has no clear stipulations regarding digital works.

Nan proposed to the meeting that works protected by the Copyright Law should include digital works.

On the protection of well-known trademarks, most of the legislators complained of loopholes in current legislation.

“There is no clear stipulation on the protection of reputable trademarks in the existing Trademark Law,” said NPC deputy Wang Guangxing.

Wang’s view were echoed by legislator Ruan Chongwu who said that the poor protection of renowned trademarks may jeopardize the development of some domestic industries, which have spent years developing a well-known trademark and product image.

Fraudulent copying of trademarks is one of the most serious infringements upon reputable trademarks, he said.

There are scores of fraudulent copies of a famous brand of coconut drink produced in Hainan Province, Ruan told the other legislators.

“We should take tougher measures to combat fake products, which are interfering with market order and undermining confidence between buyers and sellers,” said legislator Xie Songkai.

(China Daily 04/28/2001)

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