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China Resolute on IPR Protection

"The government is resolute about improving the intellectual property rights (IPR) system, promoting social awareness of IPR, and properly and effectively protecting these rights," said Vice Premier Wu Yi in a written statement that was presented to a high-level international workshop in Beijing Tuesday. Wu is now in the United States for trade talks.

In the letter, she said that China is determined to nurture a strong IPR system because it will be good for the "comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development of the Chinese economy and society."

To this end, she said, the nation wishes to hear the opinions of officials and experts attending the workshop and learn from the experiences of other countries and world organizations.

Co-hosted by the State Intellectual Property Office, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Development Research Center of the State Council, the two-day workshop provides an opportunity for some 300 officials and experts from around the world to share their views on the development of IPR in China in the wake of its entry into the World Trade Organization.

China's progress in the past 20 years has won applause.

"We've seen how China's intellectual property system has made such great progress during that time," said Geoffrey Yu, deputy director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization. "You have all the right laws concerning intellectual property rights protection, and you now have very active and efficient government departments dealing with copyrights, patents and trademarks."

Yu said China should not view negatively its obligation to follow standards set by developed countries, but rather to see this as an opportunity to benefit its industries and trade.

"The challenge for Chinese leaders is exploiting the intellectual property system for China's own benefit," he noted.

All levels of government throughout the country have carried out intellectual property protection measures.

Shanghai, for example, vowed Tuesday to intensify its efforts to create a better environment for the protection of intellectual property.

According to the Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration, it handled 81 patent-related cases last year, an increase of 45 percent on a yearly basis.

More than 330 foreign-related trademark infringement cases, which fall under the supervision of the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administration Bureau, were handled last year. Nearly 320 of them have been resolved.

Altogether, more than 1,040 cases involving violations of China's Trademark Law were investigated in 2003, up 11.7 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Copyright Bureau reported 105 cases, including 17 foreign-related matters, last year. More than 30,000 pirated products were confiscated.

Local cultural inspection departments confiscated more than 6 million illegal audio and video discs and electronic publications last year. Also in 2003, Shanghai Customs handled some 210 IPR infringement cases, mostly involving trademark violations. This was a 53.6 percent increase year on year.

"It's comforting to see the remarkable progress the city government has made in IPR protection," said Eliav Benjamin, deputy consul general of the Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai.

(China Daily April 21, 2004)

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