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IPR Protection Strengthened
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More people are going to prison for violating intellectual property rights (IPR), Supreme People's Court spokesman Sun Huapu said on Friday.


Nearly 3,000 violators were put in prison last year because of IPR-related crimes, Sun told a press conference. The figure was up 24 percent on 2004.


Great achievements were made after a judicial interpretation became effective in late 2004 to enhance judicial protection of IPR, said Ren Weihua, chief justice of the No 2 Criminal Tribunal with the court.


At that time, Chinese courts began to treat infringement of IPR as a major criminal offence rather than a minor one.


More severe punishments also began to be meted out for IPR crimes previously considered to be not so serious, according to the judicial interpretation, which was jointly announced by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.


"As an IPR judge, I am upset if the IPR of foreign individuals or companies are infringed in China. But I cannot help if the proper owners do not file a suit," said Jiang Zhipei, chief justice of the IPR Tribunal of the court.


The ratio of foreign-related cases has not risen sharply in recent years, said Jiang.


At the press conference, the opening of a website on IPR protection was announced.


Court verdicts made last year were available at http://ipr.chinacourt.org/.


Jiang vowed that more and more of the latest IPR judgments would be available in the near future.


High People's Courts in provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions are responsible for uploading legal documents.


Foreign IPR owners are encouraged to sue suspected violators in Chinese courts to protect their legal interests, said spokesman Sun.


"Courts throughout China will continue to give equal protection to domestic and foreign IPR owners," he added.


(China Daily March 11, 2006)


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