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Efforts pay off in IPR protection
By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-31 00:39

Attempting to create a favourable environment for foreign investors, local authorities focused on the intellectual property rights (IPR) of overseas enterprises in Beijing last year.

In six cases among all of the eight put forward by overseas enterprises last year, Chinese companies proven to have violated IPR were ordered by the Beijing Intellectual Property Office to stop the illegal behaviour, Liu Dongwei, the office director told a press conference Tuesday in Beijing.

Liu also said Tuesday that 90 per cent of the pirated discs on the Beijing market are from overseas.

"In fact China is also a victim of pirated products," said Wang Yefei, vice-director of the Beijing Copyright Administration.

Wang vowed to launch campaigns during spring and autumn this year to combat sales of pirated discs in Beijing.

The other two foreign-related IPR cases dealt with by the intellectual property office last year were resolved through negotiations between foreign companies and indicted Chinese firms, said Liu.

Germany's Barmag AG appealed to Liu's office last year that the textile machines displayed at the China International Textile Machinery Exhibition in Beijing violated invention patent it owns.

"Our law enforcement staff investigated immediately at the exhibition," she said.

Finally, the German company reached a consensus with the three related Chinese companies based in Zhengzhou, Shanghai and Hangzhou. Joint venture deals were signed among them, according to the official.

Trademarks of foreign enterprises were also given priority by local authorities for better protection.

In August last year, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Press, which published a series of four Peter Rabbit books, was ruled to have infringed upon the trademarks owned by Frederick Warne & Co Ltd and was fined 350,000 yuan (US$42,200) by the Beijing Xicheng District Bureau for Industry and Commerce.

The United Kingdom-based Frederick Warne & Co Ltd registered three Chinese characters of "Peter Rabbit" and all the illustrations in the Peter Rabbit series in China as trademarks in 1994 after the books entered the public domain.

Meanwhile, Beijing Customs caught goods worth about US$80,000 last year suspected of violating copyright and trademark rights.

Over 60,000 items worth US$110,000 were caught by the Beijing Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau last year, suspected of being counterfeits of items authorized by the US Underwriter Laboratories (UL).

In another development, over 270,000 symbols that violated the copyright of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) have been found so far.

A total of 609 advertisement boards were required to make changes for copyright violations, said sources.

Fines of 530,000 yuan (US$64,000) were levied against those who violated the IPR of BOCOG last year.

The Beijing Municipal Intellectual Property Task Force was established in 2002 in an attempt to join forces of relative departments in IPR protection.

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