2012 events that helped shape the IP landscape

Updated: 2013-01-16 07:28

By Zhang Zhao and Hao Nan (China Daily)

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Editor's note: Influential events in 2012 continue to shape the intellectual property industry and improve awareness, Zhang Zhao and Hao Nan report:

2012 events that helped shape the IP landscape

iPad trademark dispute

International electronics giant Apple Inc paid $60 million to Shenzhen-based Proview Technology in a court-mediated settlement that took effect on June 25, 2012, finally acquiring the iPad trademark on the Chinese mainland and putting to rest a two-year legal dispute over the name.

In 2009, Apple bought the iPad trademark from Proview's Taiwan affiliate through a UK shell company formed by Apple. The court eventually ruled that the deal did not include trademark rights on the Chinese mainland, finding they were still owned by financially troubled Proview Shenzhen.

Burdened with some $400 million in debt to eight creditors, the Shenzhen company battled for compensation from Apple to help repay its loans, said analysts.

The settlement paved way for Apple to release its latest iPad on the Chinese mainland market.

2012 events that helped shape the IP landscape

Beijing audiovisual treaty

As the first international legal framework on intellectual property protection signed in China, the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances is expected to give a strong boost to China's efforts in IP, said Liu Qi, a senior publicity official.

It was also a milestone for audiovisual performers all over the world, he said.

Signed by 48 countries during an IP diplomatic conference held in June, the treaty is especially beneficial to developing countries, helping them build capacity in protecting performers' rights in the global audiovisual industry, he added.

Professor Wu Handong, a legal consultant for the Chinese delegation, said "the new treaty can help improve revision of the third amendment draft of China's copyright law as well as protect artists' rights and stimulate the cultural industry's development".

Trademark Law

The draft of the third amendment to the nation's Trademark Law was approved at an executive meeting of the State Council on Oct 31.

The new law is expected to simplify trademark application procedures, permit more forms of trademarks and provide greater penalties for violations.

The amendment will allow trademark applicants to submit just one application for different categories. The current law requires a separate application for each category.

In addition to words and graphics, the amendment also allows sounds, smells and moving objects to be registered as trademarks.

The amendment will increase the ceiling for fines and levy heavier penalties on those convicted more than once for infringement.

The original Trademark Law was adopted in 1982 as the first intellectual property law in New China.

Innovation in services

A large national cluster of intellectual property services began operation in June at the Suzhou High-tech Zone in Jiangsu province, the first of its kind in the country.

In addition to conventional IP services, the area is also tasked with nurturing quality human resources and commercializing patents and trademarks.

Covering 500,000 square meters, construction on facilities is scheduled for completion by 2014 at a cost of 2 billion yuan ($321.8 million). They are designed to house more than 100 IP agencies and companies, said Zhou Weiqiang, Suzhou's deputy-mayor.

The cluster will boost regional industrial modernization and innovation and gather practical experience for the national IP service industry, said local officials.

Crackdown on Internet piracy

2012 events that helped shape the IP landscape

The "Sword at the Internet" campaign to fight online piracy nationwide that began eight years ago achieved remarkable results in 2012, said National Copyright Administration officials.

The administration dealt with more than 280 infringements during the operation last year, 210 of which were settled, while 72 cases were transferred to judicial authorities.

Copyright enforcement officials said they shut down 183 websites illegally carrying copyrighted products and selling pirated goods. They also seized 93 server computers and other equipment.

Proprietary high-speed trains

In December, the first four China-developed technologies used in high-speed railways were granted patents in the United States, believed to have the strictest IP requirements in the world.

Developers of the now-patented technologies are three subsidiaries of China CNR Corp, whose executives said the patents "represent key technologies in railway transportation and the latest achievements of the company".

China's high-speed railway system and components have been exported to a number of countries, most recently to Tunisia, where operations began on Dec 17.

2012 events that helped shape the IP landscape

(China Daily 01/16/2013 page17)