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Revised Laws to Safeguard Rights

Innovators are to get extra protection from July 1 under the newly revised Patent Law which brings China more in line with international standards of protection.

It means patent holders will be able to block the sale of any of their products or technology before they are officially put on the market, in accordance with the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

The move is aimed at curbing infringements of patents as early as possible, said Wang Jingchuan, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing Tuesday.

This has very much improved the Patent Law as previously it had no such stipulation, Wang said.

Meeting the requirements of TRIPS -- a principle followed by members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) -- is important before it can join the economic super-group, said Wang.

Compared with the previous Patent Law, the amended one will simplify the process for patent registration by cutting procedures for domestic and overseas institutions or individuals, Wang said. Regulations on the implementation of the law, which were approved by the State Council on June 15, will also become effective on July 1 to clarify the revised law.

China, which introduced a patent protection system 20 years ago, has a long way to go in comparison with industrialized countries which have longer traditions of patent systems, said Wang.

Governments at all levels have been actively implementing laws of intellectual property rights and cracking down on any infringements, he said.

Last year 60 foreign audio and video companies said some Chinese firms were producing digital video disks (DVDs) without abiding by patent laws.

SIPO is investigating this complicated case, which is important to the profits and images of both domestic and foreign companies. "SIPO will give a fair answer to the public on this case,'' said Wang.

China adopted the Patent Law in 1985 with the first revision of the law taking place in 1992. By the end of last year, the country has received 1.17 million patent applications from home and overseas companies or institutions, SIPO's statistics reveal.

Trademark and copyright laws will also be revised to meet the requirements of new economic, technological and cultural development, according to the Education, Science, Culture and Health Committee of the National People's Congress.

(Chinadaily.com.cn 06/27/2001)

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