IPR en­force­ment ‘a win-win’

Pro­tect­ing IPR seen as must for China’s eco­nomic plans

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

When Mark Co­hen, se­nior coun­sel at the US Com­merce Depart­ment’s Patent and Trade­mark Of­fice, asked a group in Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day if China had been mak­ing progress in re­cent years in the pro­tec­tion of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights (IPR), at least 80 per­cent of the au­di­ence raised their hands.

Only a few hands went up when he asked if Chi­nese IPR pro­tec­tion has ex­pe­ri­enced a set­back or if it had been an up-and-down process.

The sev­eral dozen Amer­i­can at­ten­dants par­tic­i­pat­ing in the China 2013 IPR Over­seas Ex­changes pro­gram in the US in­cluded gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, lawyers, academics and judges. The or­ga­nizer, China’s Min­istry of Com­merce, fielded a strong team that in­cluded ex­perts from all rel­e­vant gov­ern­men­tal de­part­ments, in­clud­ing the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court, the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate, the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity, the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms and the Na­tional Copy­right Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the State In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Of­fice.

Chen Fuli, the IPR at­taché at the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton, said China and the US have ex­ten­sive ex­changes in the IPR arena. “In­tel­lec­tual prop­erty is an im­por­tant el­e­ment to en­sure the healthy de­vel­op­ment of a bi­lat­eral eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship,” he said, not­ing that China and the US are each other’s sec­ond-largest trade part­ners with bi­lat­eral trade ap­proach­ing $500 bil­lion.

Chen em­pha­sized that pro­tect­ing IPR is a must for China’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and it is es­pe­cially crit­i­cal if China wants to be­come an in­no­va­tion-driven na­tion by 2020, trans­form its eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment model and ex­pand in­ter­na­tional ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion.

China and the US have been hold­ing reg­u­lar di­a­logues on IPR pro­tec­tion. The out­come doc­u­ment of 4th China-US Strate­gic and Eco­nomic Di­a­logue held in Wash­ing­ton in July reaf­firmed that the two coun­tries would con­tinue to deepen and im­prove law en­force­ment co­op­er­a­tion on IPR is­sues.

The IPR ex­changes be­tween the two coun­tries started in the 1980s and a spe­cial mech­a­nism was set up in 2004 un­der the China-US Joint Com­mis­sion on Com­merce and Trade (JCCT), a high-level gov­ern­men­tal con­sult­ing sys­tem.

Chen be­lieves the de­ci­sion on deep­en­ing re­form and ex­pand­ing openingup made by the just-con­cluded Third Plenum of the 18th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China means that the Chi­nese mar­ket will be more open and trans­par­ent.

Zhang Jing, di­rec­tor of China’s Na­tional Of­fice for Fight­ing against In­fringe­ment and Coun­ter­feit Prod­ucts, said China had dealt with 230,000 coun­ter­feit and in­fringe­ment cases in the first three quar­ters of this year and rounded up 35,000 sus­pects. The more than 10,000 peo­ple who re­ceived court rul­ings were 3.1 per­cent more than the same pe­riod last year.

“It re­flects the con­crete progress China has made in law en­force­ment in its ad­min­is­tra­tive and ju­di­cial sys­tems,” said Zhang.

China now boasts 52 laws re­gard­ing coun­ter­feit­ing and in­fringe­ment, and sev­eral of them have been amended this year, most no­tably those cov­er­ing com­puter soft­ware and copy­right en­force­ment pro­ce­dures.

Co­hen also noted the progress China has made in spe­cial­ized IP courts.

Co­hen be­lieves the work China and the US do to­gether in IPR pro­tec­tion could also have wide im­pli­ca­tions for the rule of law in China.

“It seems that China is cross­ing the rule-of-law river by feel­ing the IP stones,” he said.

“Ev­ery time a US com­pany en­forces its rights in China, it not only ben­e­fits our­selves, but also in a small way helps the le­gal sys­tem and eco­nomic re­forms in China.”

He said good IP is good both for the US and China. “That’s a win-win,” he said.

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