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Three-pronged IPR Protection Effort
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Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai yesterday set out the country's three-pronged approach to protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) comprising cracking down on IPR violations, public awareness education, and establishing a legal framework. 


Cracking down on IPR Violations


From 2000 to 2005, public security departments uncovered over 8,800 IPR infringement related cases worth about 4.8 billion yuan (US$599 million), and detained more than 13,000 suspects. During the same period, procuratorate organs at different levels approved the arrest of over 3,370 suspects and prosecuted over 3,530 of them.


Public awareness education


Every year since 2004, to mark World IPR Day on April 26, the relevant authorities organize a nationwide publicity campaign focused on IPR protection.


Last year, as part of a government-organized activity, over 1 million signed a pledge to protect IPR. The main theme of publicity activities was, "Protect Innovation, Build Brighter Future". More than 10 related departments worked jointly to urge enterprises to protect IPR.


This weekend, an exhibition will be held in Beijing to showcase China's achievements in IPR protection.


The Ministry of Justice has listed IPR protection as one of the law-related topics that citizens should be familiar with. Some provinces have even introduced a basic introduction to IPR protection to primary and middle school curricula. In addition, the central government provides cadres at provincial and ministerial levels with IPR training.


Establishment of a legal framework


As a first step to establishing a discernible legal framework for IPR protection, the threshold for criminal punishment for violations has been lowered and punishment made more severe.


In 2004, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly issued a judicial interpretation of when IPR-related provisions in the criminal law would apply. The interpretation clarifies that offenders selling more than 250,000 yuan (US$30,000) worth of pirated goods -- goods with existing trademarks or patents -- could face up to seven years in jail, a penalty equivalent to that for negligent homicide.


Last month, China publicized a document on the timely handover of suspected cases to judicial departments to facilitate better links between administrative law enforcement and criminal justice departments.


China also plans to set up special service centers in 50 cities within three years to handle domestic complaints of IPR infringements.


( by Yuan Fang, April 12, 2006)




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