China steps up piracy fight

Updated: 2010-12-04 10:28

By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

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Measures to root out fake goods, idea theft

BEIJING - The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) rolled out detailed measures on Friday to root out production and sale of fake goods at home and abroad as the nation becomes more committed to cracking down on the infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR).

China steps up piracy fight

A banner highlights the campaign to fight piracy in Chongqing as the nation strengthens protection of intellectual property rights. [Photo/China Daily]

The State Council announced recently that it was launching a six-month campaign against piracy from October to March. Now the MOFCOM has initiated "concrete" measures and set up a specialist team to power that drive, said Gao Hucheng, vice-minister of commerce, during a television and telephone conference to Chinese commerce bureaus.

The measures include "blocking and smashing the activities in sales of counterfeit goods overseas; inspections and strictly punishing those found selling fake goods through television, telephone and the Internet; and managing national commerce retailers and standardizing all procedures from stocking and checking to logistics and sales".

The ministry's move comes after Premier Wen Jiabao emphasized in a speech Nov 5 that China will promote the improvement of the IPR system and that IPR protection is a key to encouraging innovation.

It also comes just days before the annual China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting, during which the IPR issue is expected to be discussed. The meeting is scheduled in mid-December in Washington.

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"The measures show how seriously the ministry is promoting the campaign. This is by no means empty talk - these measures cover the most important things local commerce authorities should do to fight piracy," said He Weiwen, a council member of the China Society for American Economic Study.

The ministry is additionally encouraging the use of legitimate software by local authorities. "We will assess the level of legitimate software use in local governments and will devise and implement a purchasing plan based on our findings," Gao said.

The software-piracy rate in China has been decreasing. The world's foremost software advocate, The Business Software Alliance, estimates that 79 percent of all computer software installed last year in China was pirated, down from 86 percent in 2005.

Experts and foreign companies say China's six-month campaign against piracy is the most intensive effort in recent years.

"The campaign shows that China's IPR-protection efforts are entering a new, historic stage," said Jiang Zengwei, vice-minister of commerce. "It is geared toward promoting innovation in Chinese companies and protecting IPR overseas."

He Weiwen agreed, adding that efforts to stamp out IPR infringement could "improve the quality of exports and stimulate the development of Chinese industries".


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