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Officials to Be Punished for Lax IPR Enforcement
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China will punish officials who do not enforce intellectual property right (IPR) protection under a new State Council program that intensifies the country's crackdown on IPR infringement.

The Action Program on IPR Protection for 2006-2007, issued by the Chinese Government on Wednesday, is aimed to "bring IPR infringement activities under effective control" and provides what it calls an effective IPR protection mechanism.

"This is the first time China schemed an action program on IPR protection, which highlights government's resolution in handling the issue," said an official with a national working group on IPR protection under the State Council.

"Intellectual property protection should be placed high on the agenda of regional governments and integrated into master plans for economic and social development," said the program, issued on World Intellectual Property Day.

It urged implementing an accountability system under which officials would be punished for not enforcing IPR protection and covering cases of infringement. .

According to the program China would close down production lines making pirated discs and crack down on the transport and sale of the products.

The use of authorized software will be required at all levels.

Administrators of marketplaces will be held accountable for the sale of fake products. Marketplaces may be closed down because of trademark infringement.

A national complaint system will be established to receive and handle complaints.

IPR protection will be included in a national program to publicize laws and taught in primary and high schools.

The program called for increasing international cooperation and exchanges to fight IPR infringement.

China has stepped up IPR protection in recent years in an effort to promote creative activities and innovation.

In one of the latest moves, the government has ordered all computers manufactured in China to be pre-installed with authorized operating systems before leaving the factory.

It also orders governments to only purchase computers with pre-installed authorized operating systems.

Experts said IPR has become a hot issue that may cause a new round of China-US trade frictions.

Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi recently called on domestic businesses to keep enhancing the awareness of IPR protection and earnestly undertake the social responsibility for IPR protection. .

She said that 99 percent of China's businesses had not applied for patent and only 40 percent had their own brands.

Innovation was the soul for the development of science and technology, she said, stressing that without IPR protection there was no independent creation.

(Xinhua News Agency April 27, 2006)

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