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Piracy Crackdown Gathers Momentum
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A mounting number of intellectual property rights (IPR) cases involving foreign companies displayed China’s aggressive crackdown on counterfeiting and piracy, said a senior official.


"The increasing number of disputes last year doesn't necessarily mean there are more violations," State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) Deputy Commissioner Xing Shengcai said on the sidelines of yesterday's high-level seminar on Intellectual Property of Central and Northesat China, held in Changsha, capital city of south central China’s Hunan Province.


The seminar was co-organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), SIPO and Hunan provincial government.


"Some of the violations, which occurred two or three years ago, are once again disclosed as the IPR issue is attracting more attention," Xing said. He emphasized China's dedication to IPR promotion and protection and would produce a national strategy which featured a sound legal and policy system by the end of the year.


The number of foreign-related IPR cases rocketed last year, according to Jiang Zhipei, chief justice of the IPR Tribunal of the Supreme People's Court.


In 2005, there were 268 civil IPR disputes relating to foreign companies mainly in such sectors as automobiles, motorcycles, pharmacy, computer software, books and audio-visual products. This was a jump of 78 percent over 2004.


Authorities taking stronger measures to curb IPR violations actually helped uncover more cases and the crackdown was expected to create a more favorable market environment, Xing added.


China is devising a national strategy to further improve the IPR system, create a legal environment in which the laws will be respected and protected, increase people's awareness of IPR protection and sternly crack down on any infringements.


A working group, led by Vice-Premier Wu Yi and including officials from SIPO and other government agencies, is expected to produce a strategy at the end of the year.


In their latest move the authorities designed the seminars, the Changsha meeting is the third in a series of four, to promote awareness of IPR at provincial levels.


China "has realized where its efficiencies, weaknesses and strengths (in IPR protection) are and it has decided to take measures at the highest level," said Mpazi Sinjela, dean of the WIPO Worldwide Academy.


Consequently, the "attitude of other countries particularly from developed nations has changed in favor of China and this is why you can see so many sophisticated technologies coming to China because what we’re doing to promote and protect IPR is evident,” he said. "And that's why they come to do business here," he added.


(China Daily August 3, 2006)

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