China's WTO Entry
Top Legislators Support WTO Accession

Top Chinese legislators, who are attending the 15th session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), have voiced their support in the government's efforts to enter the World Trade Organization.

At yesterday's panel discussions, top lawmakers including Li Peng, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, deliberated the report on the progress of China's bid for entry into the WTO, which was delivered on April 25 by Shi Guangsheng, minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation on behalf of the State Council.

The speakers supported the government's efforts for resuming the status as a founding nation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and joining the WTO.

The lawmakers reached a consensus that being underdeveloped, China could only join the WTO with the status of a developing nation. China must adhere to the principle of maintaining a balance between rights and duties and follow the principle of opening up the market gradually to safeguard China's economic security and State sovereignty.

The members also said that the Patent Law will be revised to enhance patent protection, streamline the application process and better intertwine its system with international standards.

They deliberated a proposed amendment to the Patent Law during the session.

It stipulates that the sale of patented products without authorization of patent owners is prohibited.

That means no one would be allowed to exhibit the products in advertisement, put them on store shelves or present them at trade fairs unless the owner gives permission.

This is in agreement with the stipulation of Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). China has to sign the TRIPS agreement after it enters the WTO.

The protection of patent owners would start from the day when the patent application is published, according to the proposed amendment. Under current law, a patent owner can be protected only after his patent is granted.

The proposed amendment would add a calculating method of compensation for patent infringement, which takes into account not only the loss to patent owners but also the profits patent infringes gain.

It would also spell out the punishment for people who counterfeit a patent. Crimes of counterfeiting a patent are handled by the Criminal Code with punishment ranging from detention to imprisonment of less than three years.

However, some of the counterfeiting is not serious enough to be punished by Criminal Code. The new changes are expected to fill the void, NPC sources said.

The proposed amendment has simplified the long process of patent application that has aggravated both investors and patent applicants.

Proposed by the State Council, the amendment is the second revision of the law.

The Patent Law took effect in 1985 and was amended in 1992.

The initial amendment enlarged the scope and prolonged the period of patent protection.

(China Daily April 29, 2000)


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