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Patent seminar offered to Chinese firms
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Science and technology department of east China's Zhejiang Province and a law firm of the United States have jointly sponsored a training course to help Chinese firms respond to charges of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement lodged by the US.

The recent training course, mainly targeting US Section 337 investigations, taught Chinese firms on how to deal with the increasing US investigations over alleged IPR infringement, so as to protect their own rights.

Section 337 investigations were put forth against products imported to the United States that are suspected of constituting unfair competition. This is particularly based on the infringement of intellectual property such as patents and trademarks, according to Section 337 of the US Tariff Act of 1930.

Lectures on stipulations of Section 337 investigations, the latest Section 337 investigations and such investigations involving China were given during the training course.

Statistics show that Zhejiang, one of China's major exporters, has been involved in 10 international IPR lawsuits mainly concerning the Section 337 investigation from 2002 to August 2007.

Of the nine concluded cases, three Zhejiang-based enterprises were found innocent and two reached compromises with complaints, according to the provincial government sources.

Many Chinese enterprises have suffered from foreign accusations over IPR violations as they failed to register their patents at the earliest stage, but some foreign companies had registered patent rights for it beforehand, insiders said.

US International Trade Commission (USITC), a major complainant, has instituted 46 Section 337 investigations against Chinese companies since 2002, making China the largest victim among other countries, according to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Of the concluded cases, most of Chinese firms are found innocent or reached compromises with complaints, according to ministry officials.

(Xinhua News Agency December 23, 2007)

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