China to form national office for IPR fight

Updated: 2011-11-10 07:24

By Qiu Bo and Zhou Wenting (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The central government is to establish an office to facilitate the crackdown on infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR) and counterfeit products, the State Council said on Wednesday.

China faces an arduous task fighting IPR infringement as well as the production and sale of fake products, so greater administrative and law enforcement efforts are needed, according to a statement issued after a State Council executive meeting.

The meeting highlighted demand for stricter supervision over manufacturers and inspection over the markets for food, medicine, cosmetics, agricultural materials, construction materials, machinery and electronics, and auto parts.

The office will be set up under the Ministry of Commerce.

Police are urged to establish a cross-regional enforcement system to facilitate investigations, according to the statement.

Huang Hua, a copyright expert with Beijing-based Wowa Media Company, said the recent food safety scandals and controversial events over Internet IPR may have triggered the measures by the central government.

"Since more and more individual copyright owners have been aware of defending their rights through legal suits, cases involving IPR have increased significantly in recent years," Huang said. "Such a trend requires more market supervision and a perfect legal framework, and that is why government is anxious to enhance related legislation and its enforcement."

In October 2010, the State Council launched a nationwide campaign aimed at patent violations, online piracy, pirated software and producing and marketing counterfeit products.

By the end of June, law enforcement officials in quality-supervision departments had filed 2,696 cases worth 1.2 billion yuan ($189 million) with 1,233 counterfeit manufacturing sites uncovered, the announcement said.

In addition, a national conference was held in February in Beijing to help enforce the ban on unauthorized software in 147 central government departments.

All central government departments were urged to ban the use of unauthorized software by May.

On Sunday, 25 million pieces of counterfeit goods, including pirated and illegal prescription medicine, healthcare products, fake seeds and poor-quality auto parts were destroyed in 182 cities across the country. It marked the launch of the latest national campaign to crack down on fake and shoddy commodities.

The campaign was the second action of a mass destruction by the public security department since May 15, the beginning of a move to combat and prevent economic crimes.

Since November last year, police have seen positive results through trans-regional cooperation of police officers under unified command and supervision.

More than 28,000 criminal cases of infringement of IPR and selling shoddy goods have been cracked, and more than 6,700 criminal gangs who were involved in wholesaling and marketing the goods were destroyed.

"Such campaigns aimed at cracking down on IPR infringement have been held year after year and it seems it all ends up with just sound effects," said Wang Qian, a professor at the Intellectual Property School of East China University of Political Science and Law. "But they were to cure the symptoms, not the disease."

The State Council is looking to establish an effective mechanism to guarantee the smooth running of IPR protection, he said.

Xinhua contributed to this story.