Shenzhen leads in protecting exporters

City contributes significantly to nationwide Operation Longteng The customs authority of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, has seized more than 200,000 items valued at about 7.8 million yuan ($1.2 million) that infringed intellectual property rights, during a three-month nationwide campaign.

The customs office's statistics indicate that the figures represent more than 70 percent in amount, and 50 percent in value, of the country's total seizures in the campaign code-named Operation Longteng, which started on Sept 1 last year.

Yuan Qing, deputy director of the law and regulation department at Shenzhen customs, told a recent news conference that the move mainly aimed to protect Chinese brands.

"An increasing number of Chinese companies have patents and have exported products with their own IP rights to global markets. We found that infringement of Chinese brands and products has been on the rise," Yuan said.

DJI, the world's largest commercial drone-maker, Xiaomi, one of China's top smartphone-makers, and Netac Technology, a leading Chinese flash-memory products developer which invented the world's first mobile flash memory drive using a USB interface, are among the biggest beneficiaries of the campaign. A majority of the infringing goods that Shenzhen customs seized have violated these three companies' IP rights.

"We know our patents have been violated in both domestic and overseas markets, but it is hard for us to collect evidence and the compensation might not offset the high costs," said Du Jisheng, deputy manager of Netac's IP operation center.

"The customs provides a new and efficient way to stop illegally operating manufacturers from trying to export infringing goods to overseas markets, which has helped us a lot," Du said.

On the afternoon of Oct 12, 2017, the customs scanning system gave the alarm when a container truck attempted to pass through the Huanggang checkpoint from Shenzhen to Hong Kong.

The customs officials found more than 26,000 USB flash disks in 228 boxes, as the exporter claimed.

"Previously we just checked whether the goods conformed to what the exporter applied for, but now we need to verify whether the products violate IP rights," Yuan said.

Shenzhen customs has worked with Netac, which has been put on the list of very important exporters with self-developed IP rights, to work out a solution to protect its rights, she added.

As a result, a total of 31 companies contacted Netac and signed patent license agreements with the company, valued at more than 100 million yuan, during the campaign.

On Nov 20, Shenzhen customs investigated two cases involving 2,440 counterfeit smartphones using Xiaomi trademarks without authorization, with a combined potential value of more than 1.2 million yuan.

The campaign dealt a heavy blow to patent infringement in Shenzhen, home to myriad new and high-tech companies from home and abroad, Yuan said.

During the campaign, companies in Shenzhen and Huizhou - both covered by Shenzhen customs - registered 155 IP items with the General Administration of Customs, including 73 patents, 67 trademarks and 15 copyrights.

In addition, the campaign has contributed to ensuring a fair investment and business environment in the southern high-tech city, Yuan added.

Despite these achievements, she hinted that more special campaigns and operations would be launched to protect IP rights and fight against IP infringement in the coming months. Zhang Zhao contributed to this story.

(Source: China Daily)