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Archived updates for Thursday, April 21, 2005

China White Paper Touts IPR Success

According to the Chinese State News Agency on April 21, 2005, the Information Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, has issued a white paper entitled "New Progress in China's Protection of Intellectual Property Rights." The document is intended to "help the international community have a better understanding of the real situation regarding China's IPR protection and make a proper judgment" and list the following accomplishments:

  • Establishment of a relatively complete system of laws and regulations.
  • Patent protection. From April 1, 1985, when China's patent law went into effect, to the end of 2004, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) handled 2,284,925 patent applications with an average annual increase of 18.9 percent. Of these, 1,874,358 were domestic applications, and 410,567 came from other countries, accounting for 82 and 18 percent, respectively. By the end of 2004, the SIPO had approved 1,255,499 patents. Of these, 1,093,268 were domestic ones, and 162,231 were from other countries, accounting for 87.1 and 12.9 percent of the total number of approved patents, respectively.
  • Trademark protection. In October 2001, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress made revisions to the "Trademark Law" for the second time, thus bringing the relevant provisions of China's "Trademark Law" in line with the principles of WTO's "Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights." By the end of 2004, China had had 2,240,000 registered trademarks, and meanwhile, 129 countries and regions had had 403,000 trademarks registered in China. This represents almost a 79-fold increase over that in 1979, accounting for 18 percent of the total number of registered trademarks in China.
  • Copyright protection. According to incomplete statistics, from 1995 to 2004, copyright administrative management departmentsat all levels confiscated 350 million pirated copies, accepted 51,368 cases of infringement and resolved 49,983 of them. In 2004, they accepted 9,691 cases of infringement, resolved 9,497 of them and imposed administrative sanctions on the infringersin 7,986 cases. These included the investigation and punishment of two Chineseenterprises that had infringed upon the copyright of the Microsoft Corporation of the United States and other major cases.
The white paper itself concludes that
"Practice over the past two decades and more has shown that the Chinese
government has made arduous efforts to protect IPR. China has achieved a
noticeably great improvement in IPR protection, which took the developed
countries several decades and even over a century to attain. However, the
Chinese government is clearly aware that, in a large developing country with a
population of 1.3 billion, relatively backward economy and low level of science
and technology, a complete IPR protection system cannot be established
overnight. China has a long way to go in this regard, and is faced with heavy
tasks in IPR protection."

In another story published today, state-owned Beijing Metals and Minerals Import and Export Co. was ordered to compensate Nike 165,000 yuan (US$20,000) in Shanghai on Wednesday for attempting to export thousands of fake products to Russia.

In China, the owner of the trademark is obliged to pay customs to impound disputed products and then claim the costs back from the person or company at fault. "Nike paid more than 140,000 yuan (US$17,000) to Shanghai Customs to keep the products from July 2001 to August 2002," said Wang Huixiang, Nike's attorney. "We tried many times to negotiate with the defendant over the costs, but were refused." "My client was not responsible for checking whether the products are genuine or not," said Jin Xiaobing, lawyer for Beijing Minerals.
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