China's WTO Updates
Enforcement of IPR Laws to Improve

China's judicial departments have stepped up efforts to strengthen enforcement of intellectual property rights laws in a bid to bring the country closer to the requirements of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Judges from the Supreme People's Court, and local people's courts of Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities have drafted a proposal to improve law enforcement, so as to bring China closer to so-called TRIPS standards, following a meeting attended by Chinese and European Union judges which concluded in Beijing yesterday.

TRIPS - Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights - is one of the major principles followed by WTO members. Meeting TRIPS requirements is crucial for China's entry into the WTO, according to experts in China.

The proposal suggests that judicial sectors across the country implement laws of patent, trademark, copyright and website domain name protection in line with TRIPS, said Jiang Zhipei, an official from the Chief Justice of Intellectual Property Rights Tribunal of China's Supreme People's Court.

The proposal covers several aspects of intellectual property rights, such as the relation of administrative supervision and judicial enforcement and the confusion of website domain names and trademarks.

Though not finalized, the proposal has been highly regarded by judges from the European Union. It will be discussed at a conference of the Supreme People's Court in a week, as a criterion of enforcing intellectual property rights laws, said Jiang.

According to Jiang, China and the European Union are conducting a judge-training program, to help Chinese judges gain advanced experience of law enforcement on intellectual property rights.

So far, 200 judges from intermediate people's or higher people's courts in all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have received such training. The training program will target more judges in a bid to spur regional courts to tighten law enforcement, said Jiang.

The judges' meeting was held to promote exchanges of intellectual property rights protection between Chinese judicial departments and their foreign counterparts.

In an interview with China Daily, Hans Marshall, presiding judge of Corresponding Chamber of the Court of Appeals in Munich, praised China's efforts in this field, adding that the country was rapidly developing intellectual property rights enforcement.

Christopher Heath, head of the East Asia Department of the German-based Max-Planck Institute for Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and Competition Law, said China has made enormous progress in legislation of trademark, patent and copyright. "But the best law would be useless without enforcement," he warned.

Heath said China should do more to promote effective enforcement.

(China Daily June 2, 2001)


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