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Crackdown on Piracy Strengthened
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A mounting number of intellectual property rights (IPR) cases involving foreign companies demonstrate the country's strengthening crackdown on counterfeiting and piracy, said a senior official.

"The increasing number of disputes last year doesn't necessarily mean there are more violation cases," State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) Deputy Commissioner Xing Shengcai said on the sidelines of yesterday's High-level Seminar on Intellectual Property.

The seminar was co-organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), SIPO and Hunan provincial government.

"Some of the violations, which occurred two or three years ago, are once again disclosed as the IPR issue is drawing more attention," Xing said.

He reiterated China's dedication to IPR promotion and protection, and would work out a national strategy that features a sound legal and policy system at the end of the year.

The number of foreign-related IPR cases skyrocketed last year, according to Jiang Zhipei, chief justice of the IPR Tribunal of the Supreme People's Court.

In 2005, there were 268 civil IPR disputes related to foreign companies, mainly in such sectors as automobiles, motorcycles, pharmacy, computer software, books and audio-visual products. This was a jump of 78 per cent over 2004.

Also, authorities taking stronger measures to curb IPR violations help uncover more cases, Xing added, and the crackdown is expected to create a more favorable market environment.

China is devising a national strategy to further improve the IPR system, create a legal environment in which IPRs are respected and protected, increase people's awareness of IPR protection, and sternly crack down on IPR infringement.

A working group, headed by Vice-Premier Wu Yi and including officials from SIPO and other government agencies, is expected to come up with the strategy at the end of the year.

In the latest move, authorities designed the seminar, the third of a series of four that aim to promote awareness of IPR at the provincial levels.

China "has realized where its efficiencies, weakness and strengths (of IPR protection) are, and it has decided to take measures at the highest level," said Mpazi Sinjela, dean of the WIPO Worldwide Academy.

Consequently, the "attitude of other countries, particularly from developed countries, has changed in favor of China. This is why you can see so many sophisticated technologies coming to China, because they believe what China is doing to promote and protect IPR is evident.

"And that's why they come to do business here," he added. "It will succeed."

(China Daily August 3, 2006)

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