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Government Helps Enterprises Tackle IPR Disputes

The Chinese government has begun to take concrete measures to help domestic enterprises better deal with international disputes related to intellectual property rights since the beginning of the year, in a bid to protect the nation's fundamental benefits and economic security.

Since China's entry into the World Trade Organization, large Chinese enterprises have been involved in more than 20 international patent disputes. In one of the major cases, the US-based company Cisco sued China's network company Huawei Technologies for infringement of several of its intellectual property rights.


The number of patent infringement-related cases is increasing and so is the amount of money paid by Chinese enterprises which are involved but have little knowledge about how to deal with such circumstances, according to the State Intellectual Property Office under the State Council, China's cabinet.


The office is establishing emergency and warning mechanisms to protect the legal rights and interests of Chinese enterprises in this field.


From 2004, the State Intellectual Property Office will ask some departments to keep a close eye on information and disputes relating to intellectual property rights, make analyses, send warning messages to relevant governmental departments, guilds and enterprises, and put forward solutions, said Deputy Director Zhang Qin.


The office will make efforts this year to help enterprises build and improve systems managing intellectual property rights, so as to promote their capability in safeguarding such rights.


It will also facilitate the establishment of intellectual property right agencies, and train a number of agents and lawyers familiar with international rules, laws and practices concerning intellectual property rights.


Promoting the commercialization of technologies based on China's own intellectual property rights and enhancing law enforcement are also on this year's work agenda of the office.


Experts estimate that each year, China's universities train about 1,000 students in the profession of intellectual property rights. Less than 5 percent of all students in 11 major universities select intellectual property right courses, according to a survey conducted by the State Intellectual Property Office.


"It is therefore urgent to train high-level talented professional versed in rules and regulations in this field," said Zhang Qin, the deputy director.


The State Intellectual Property Office has made plans to cultivate hundreds of senior professionals familiar with international rules, thousands of talented people engaging in patent management, appraisal and law enforcement, and tens of thousands of people working for enterprises and agencies in this field.


In the first 11 months of 2003, Chinese courts handled 5,750 intellectual property lawsuits, an increase of 24.57 percent year on year.


China could face more international trade disputes during its economic integration into the global economy, said Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme People's Court.


(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2004)

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