China pledges more action to fight IPR infringements

Updated: 2011-01-15 09:38

By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China is committed to improving the investment environment by adhering to its long-term fight against the infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR), said Chen Deming, minister of commerce, on Friday.

"China will go on strengthening communication and coordination with foreign enterprises, addressing their concerns about IPR protection. We expect the multinationals to have strong confidence in China's commitment and efforts on the issue," said Chen at an IPR forum held in Beijing.

But "it takes time, and you need the patience to wait and see the changes," said Chen.

High-level executives from international companies were invited along to the forum to discuss China's IPR protection efforts.

Chen is also deputy director of the Leading Group for Nationwide Special Operations against IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting, which is overseeing a six-month IPR campaign launched last October.

China has increased efforts to combat IPR infringement in recent years, to encourage the innovation required as the country upgrades the technological levels of the economy.

The campaign, launched in October 2010, against counterfeiting marks China's most comprehensive effort on IPR protection in recent years. Vice-Premier Wang Qishan is the director of the campaign, in which all China's major ministries are involved.

However, while they appreciated the move, some foreign companies are still concerned about the effect of the campaign and doubt whether the country's IPR protection mechanism is mature enough.

Ted Dean, chairman of the China-US Chamber of Commerce, said at the forum that the chamber's member companies are still worried about whether the efforts will finally take off despite the improvements that China has made.

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Chen said IPR protection is a "long-term task for China" and will be implemented "step by step". "All foreign enterprises that are legally registered in China are treated as equally as their Chinese counterparts in all ways, including IPR protection," he said.

As a key part of the campaign, the national leadership has identified 36 projects - including the 80 most important cases regarding trademarks, patents and music copyrights - to be investigated and resolved. Those cases involve many internationally famous brands, including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Marlboro and Nike, from nations such as the United States and France.

Software legalization, an issue the US has been very concerned about, is another important part of the campaign. By May, China's central government will have legal software in all of its offices. Local governments will follow suit by October.

IPR protection and market access are the top concerns among foreign businesses in China. Last year some complained that the investment environment is deteriorating, although foreign direct investment in China continued to increase.

During the past three decades, China has drafted four IPR laws and issued 19 sets of rules and regulations. Meanwhile, the revision of laws concerning trademark, copyrights and patent are under way as the nation seeks to improve its work on IPR protection.



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