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Olympic Logos, Images Get Protection
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New regulations to safeguard trademark logos and images of the 2008 Olympic Games will be issued soon, Zhao Gang, deputy director of the trademark office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), said yesterday at a news conference.

At the briefing, organized by the State Council Information Office, officials said that the new regulation is part of the country's efforts to protect intellectual property rights (IPR), including those associated with the Games next summer.

This is China's first regulatory effort specifically designed to protect Olympic intellectual properties in accordance with international practice.

Zhao said that with the new regulation, law enforcement offices and administrative bodies will share a unified guideline and launch campaigns to stop counterfeiting or pirating related to the Olympics.

"It is incorrect to say that China is only serious in protecting IPRs related to the Olympic Games," said Zhao, "Actually, we have been very consistent and serious about IPR protection in all areas."

He said China is determined to stop counterfeiting, a problem that has triggered many complaints from countries such as the United States and European nations.

On one hand, the country is trying to boost awareness by the public and organizations about the issue. Last year, retail marketplaces in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen were warned that no vendors will be allowed to sell fake products of more than 40 famous international brands.

On the other hand, administrations for industry and commerce and police have built cooperation mechanisms to speed up investigations and enforcement processes.

Last year, the Chinese authorities investigated more than 50,000 counterfeiting incidents and confiscated or destroyed 30 million pieces of such goods. In addition, customs found almost 200 million pieces of goods infringing IPRs.

This year, rural marketplaces will become a priority in fighting counterfeits, according to SAIC.

Zhao said online traders and e-commerce websites should not get involved in sales of counterfeits, otherwise they risk punishments given to those in real world marketplaces.

As traditional marketplaces build up pressure on vendors that sell counterfeits, many shop owners have turned to websites such as Taobao.com and eBay's website in China.

Yin Xintian, a spokesman with the State Intellectual Property Office, said that with the technology like the Internet and mobile phones, the battle against piracy and counterfeiting are more difficult.

(China Daily April 18, 2007)

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