In recent years, China has made significant progress in its efforts to provide better protection for intellectual property rights. By developing a series of institutional systems and regulations, the country has enhanced its ability to tackle copyright violations, improved international cooperation, and boosted awareness of the need for IPR protection among the public.
In 2006, the country further enhanced its image as a responsible nation, with its entry into two international IPR-related treaties, the implementation of a new law and the draft and revision of more than 10 regulations and judicial interpretations.
China pledges to strengthen position on IPR issues
On May 26, the Chinese government pledged to strengthen the country's handling of IPR issues. President Hu Jintao called for the country to become more innovative and he urged local governments to pay attention to IPR related issues and list them at the top of their agendas.
Entry into the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.
Joining the treaties was said to enable the country to improve the Internet copyright protection campaign by working with and learning from other countries.
Outline of IPR Protection Actions (2006-07) and China's Action Plan on IPR Protection 2006. The outline issued guiding thoughts, objectives, requirements and important measures of IPR protection for the two years.
The action plan, jointly released by 11 ministries, gave concrete goals for 2006 with 160 measures in nine areas of legislation, execution, publicity, training, international exchanges and cooperation, special research and services for rights holders.
Last year, all goals were well managed and received positive results.
Progress made in formulating the national IPR strategy
The draft was completed by the end of last year and 20 special issues were started with conclusion and appraisals.
The strategy will help China deal with the challenges arising out of changes in international rules on IPR and safeguard the country's interests and economic security.
The draft is also expected to speed up the establishment of a market environment for fair competition and improve the capability for independent innovation.
Regulations on the Protection of the Right of Communication Through Information Networks. It was implemented on July 1.
This regulation is formulated, in accordance with the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China for the purpose of protecting the right to network dissemination of information by copyright owners, performers, and producers of audio-visual recordings, and of encouraging the creation and dissemination of works.
Fifty service centers for IPR protection. China has set up 50 service centers for IPR protection to receive IPR reporting and complaints related to infringements of trademarks, patents and copyrights. On April 26, the country opened its official website for IPR protection: www.ipr.gov.cn, the only online channel to accept IPR complaints and reports for the centers. The reporter or the complainant may also call the hotline of the corresponding region or city where the infringement happened. The hotline is code plus 12312.
The "Shanghai Initiative" called for joint efforts between China and the global community.
The "Shanghai Initiative" was signed between China and the European Union, the United States and five other countries during the China Forum on IPR Criminal Protection 2006 in Shanghai on April 1, 2006.
The document pledged to improve information exchanges and joint campaigns to uproot the production, storage, export and import, and sales of pirated products.
The joint initiative also called for more exchanges and cooperation in the judicial system against transnational crimes.
Three million patent applications
The number of patent applications surpassed 3 million on June 27, 2006. Patent quality is also increasing.
Last July, eight ministries started a 100-day long national campaign on cracking down pirated CDs, DVDs and software products.
The campaign has targeted producers, distributors or smugglers of illegal publications. Through late October, the departments had confiscated more than 58 million pieces of pirated CDs, DVDs, books and software. They have also stopped four illegal disc production lines and handled more than 10,000 cases.
The Markman Order in the Sino-US IPR dispute
After two years, a United States court issued a Markman Order last June to settle a dispute between General Protecht Group in East China's Zhejiang Province and US-based Leviton. According to the order, the court accepted the claims of defendant General Protecht that its products are beyond the scope of Leviton's patent. In other words, General Protecht's products do not violate Leviton's patent rights.
In April 2004, Leviton filed several patent infringement lawsuits against General Protecht's clients in the United States claiming that the latter's products violated its patent rights.
(China Daily April 21, 2007)