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China vows to better protect IPR
Updated: 2004-04-13 16:57

About two and half years into the World Trade Organization (WTO), China plans to launch a nationwide pomotion for intellectual property as well as crackdown on violations.

At a press conference organized by the State Council Information Office, Wang Jingchuan, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), said protecting intellectual property not only meets WTO rules, but also benefits China's economic and social development.

China now adopts both judiciary and administrative enforcement on intellectual property.

From April 2001 to March 2003, nationwide courts accepted 851 criminal cases in violation of intellectual property, with 1,288 people involved. In 775 cases which were ended, 1,207 criminals were punished and 143 were sentenced to more than five years' imprisonment.

In addition to police and customs officers, Wang said, several hundreds of thousands of intellectual property administrative watchdogs help enforce related laws and regulate the market.

In 2003, nationwide patent offices accepted 1,517 patent disputes; industrial and commercial administrative organs confiscated 84.755 million counterfeit trademarks, with a total fine worth of 242 million yuan (US$29 million); and copyright administrators confiscated 12.9 million pirated publications, with a penalty of 2.81 million yuan.

Wang admitted that China still lags far behind in legal infrastructure, enforcement capability and public awareness of intellectual property.

"Complaint from overseas companies will be welcomed," Wang said. "We will earnestly address problems on intellectual property violation in line with Chinese laws and international rules."

At the same press conference, Wang Ziqiang, the State Copyright Bureau spokesman, said many of Chinese people lack awareness of intellectual property as the country is in the transition from the planned economy to a market-driven one.

Pirated publications, particularly audio visual products, make the industry suffer a lot, said Wang, who did not detail the amount of loss.

Since 1996, he said, law-enforcement organs have cracked down 182 pirated disc production lines and customs officers have confiscated more than 300 million imported pirated discs.

"China is also a victim of international criminal networks for piracy," Wang said.

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