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IPR Policy Gains Good Report
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AmCham China yesterday released a survey, which suggests the Chinese government is both capable of and willing to take action against those who violate intellectual property rights (IPR).

The 2007 AmCham China Business Climate Survey said that 44.2 percent of the US companies operating in China that responded to the poll said the situation regarding IPR infringements had improved. A majority 48.1 percent said it had stayed the same and 7.7 percent said it had deteriorated.

For those companies with experience of public security enforcement on IPR cases, 51 percent said it had improved, 47 percent said it had stayed the same and 2 percent said it had deteriorated.

For those with experience of Chinese customs enforcement on IPR, 43 percent indicated it had improved and 57 percent said it had stayed the same.

The survey was carried out by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, which represents more than 1,000 US companies here.

It said: "Over the past year, evidence has continued to mount that the Chinese Government is serious in its intention to bring IPR protection order to the Chinese market."

Various legal initiatives were advanced over the past year, such as a string of new legislation and revisions of existing laws on online copyright protection, royalty levies, patents and trademarks.

A 100-day nationwide campaign launched on July 15, which targeted pirated audio and video products and computer software resulted in an average haul of 19.46 million illegal publications every month through September.

In the whole of 2006, authorities seized 150 million illegal, pirated and pornographic publications.

"Many of these positive developments reflect China's ambitious plans to promote homegrown innovation," the report continued.

Early this month, the National Working Group for IPR Protection released China's Action Plan on IPR Protection 2007, detailing 276 concrete measures in 10 areas.

A National IPR Strategy Formulation will be completed by the end of June.

"Moreover, a continued surge in application filings in China demonstrates that both Chinese and foreign companies are embracing these developments," the survey said.

In 2006, there were more than 700,000 trademark applications filed in China, and the number of invention patent filings rose to 210,490, up 21 percent on the previous year.

Despite the favourable report and China's progress on IPR protection, Canada is likely to join the United States in complaining to the World Trade Organization about the IPR protection situation here.

Canadian Trade Minister David Emerson was quoted by local media as saying yesterday: "We are seeking clarification from China on its IPR enforcement regime, given concerns expressed by Canadian industry.

"Our goal is to resolve this issue through dialogue with the Chinese government and through cooperation with our trading partners."

(China Daily April 27, 2007)

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