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Nation Resolute on IPR Protection: Vice Premier

The Chinese Government is determined to improve the nation's intellectual property right (IPR) system, according to Vice-Premier Wu Yi.

"The government is resolute about improving the IPR system, promoting the social awareness of IPRs, and properly and effectively protecting IPRs," said Wu in a written statement that was presented to a high-level workshop Tuesday, hosted by the State Intellectual Property Office in Beijing. Wu is now in the United States for trade talks.

In the letter, she says China is determined to nurture a strong IPR system because it will be good for the "comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development of Chinese economy and society."

To this end, the nation is ready to listen to the opinions of officials and experts attending the workshop, and learn from the experiences of other countries and world organizations, she said.

Co-hosted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Development Research Center of the State Council, the two-day workshop provides a stage for some 300 officials and experts from around the world to share their views on the development of IPRs in China in the wake of its entry to the World Trade Organization.

China's progress in the past 20 years has won wide applause.

"We've seen how China's intellectual property system has made such great progress during that time," said Geoffrey Yu, deputy director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

"You have all the right laws concerning intellectual property right protection, and you have now very active and efficient government departments dealing with copyrights, patents and trademarks."

Yu said China should not be concerned that it is obliged to follow intellectual standards set by developed countries, but see it as an opportunity to benefit its industries and trade.

"The challenge for Chinese leaders is exploiting the intellectual property system for China's own benefit," he said.

Intellectual property protection has been carried out by all levels of government throughout the country.

Shanghai, for example, yesterday vowed to intensify its efforts to create a better environment for the protection of IPRs.

According to the Shanghai Intellectual Property Administra-tion, it handled 81 patent-related cases last year, an increase of 45 percent on a yearly basis.

More than 330 foreign-related trademark infringement cases, which fall within the supervision scope of the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administration Bureau, were handled last year. Nearly 320 of them have been resolved.

Altogether, more than 1,040 cases involving violations of China's Trademark Law were investigated in 2003, up 11.7 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Copyright Bureau reported 105 cases including 17 foreign-related matter last year. And over 30,000 pirated products were confiscated.

Local cultural inspection departments confiscated more than 6 million illegal audio and video discs and electronic publications last year. Also in 2003, Shanghai Customs cracked over 210 IPR infringement cases mostly involving trademark rights, which is a 53.6 percent increase year on year.

"It's comforting to see the remarkable progress the city government has made in IPR protection," said Eliav Benjamin, deputy consul general of the Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai.

(China Daily April 21, 2004)

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