Courts to do more for IPR protection

Updated: 2011-07-13 13:03

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)

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Experts: Judiciary can lower public cost of safeguarding intellectual property

BEIJING - The Chinese government has pledged to strengthen the courts' role in cracking down on infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR).

"The current protection of IPR relies heavily on administrative measures, which are fast and efficient but need to be improved," Jiang Zengwei, vice-minister of commerce, said on Tuesday at a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office.

"In the future, China will draw lessons from Western countries and place more emphasis on dealing with these cases in court. We will simplify the process and make it more efficient while cutting the cost."

Jiang said Chinese police have arrested 9,031 suspects in a nine-month campaign aimed at cracking down on piracy and other infringements of intellectual property rights.

He said China is showing a great resolve to protect such rights because that is "what must be done by every country that wants to develop technology and become a stronger competitor".

In the campaign, police closed 12,854 underground factories that had made pirated and fake products and broke up 4,904 gangs that had sold such goods, said Jiang, also a senior leader of the special campaign.

Other administrative agencies across the country have meanwhile investigated 156,000 similar cases, in which the money involved came to nearly 3.43 billion yuan ($540 million). They have also closed more than 9,130 illegal plants where pirated and counterfeit goods had been produced.

Even so, the "grave" battle against infringements of intellectual property rights, as the vice-minister described it, has elicited mixed comments from senior officials in foreign chambers of commerce and from experts.

Ted Dean, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said the campaign was well-conceived and that he looks forward to helping China achieve its commitments.

"For the enhancement of the business environment as well as China's own innovative capabilities, IPR is fundamental to fair treatment of our IPR-intensive industries and services, as well as to innovation and the future growth of China's economy," he said.

Legal experts agreed that courts should play a greater role in fighting infringements of intellectual property rights.

Feng Xiaoqing, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, noted that taxpayer money would have to be spent if administrative agencies were left to fight infringements of intellectual property rights. Courts, on the other hand, can cover their costs by collecting fees from litigants, making it fairer to rely on them to protect individual rights.

"Although our judicial system has a huge backlog of civil and criminal cases to deal with and is perceived as being inefficient and slow at dealing with IPR cases, reinforcing the system's role is a step in the right direction."

During the recent nine-month campaign, China's courts were presented with 2,492 cases involving intellectual property rights and adjudicated 1,985 cases, Jiang said.


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