Government efforts on IP protection making an impact worldwide

The Chinese government is paying great attention to intellectual property protection and is implementing cross-department, cross-region and cross-border law enforcement, setting an example internationally, said Minelik Getahun, assistant director-general at the World Intellectual Property Organization. 

Getahun made the remarks at a forum on international cooperation in fighting IP infringements and counterfeiting, part of the second China International Import Expo, held from Nov 5 to 10 in Shanghai. 

Gan Lin, director at the leading national group office against IP infringements and counterfeits, said the Chinese government attaches importance to cracking down on IP rights violations. Gan's office coordinated IP operations nationwide and promoted new improvements to laws and regulations last year, receiving international praise. 

The forum released a report on new progress in China's IP protection and business environment, saying the country restructured its IP management system and made breakthroughs in IP case rulings in 2018. 

It said IP authorities investigated 77,000 patent infringements and counterfeits last year, a year-on-year rise of 15.9 percent. It dealt with 31,000 trademark violations, with more than 6,000 of them involving trademark right owners from foreign countries and regions, as well as China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. 

The General Administration of Customs intercepted more than 1.73 million forged items. Customs nationwide checked and detained 47,200 shipments of infringing goods, involving 24.8 million commodities. 

The progress that China has made in the IP field has won the country's faith in its business environment from exhibitors at the recent China International Import Expo, Beijing-based Guangming Daily reported. 

Hu Wenjing, who heads Bayer radiology business in China, said, "There are two ways to defend IP rights in China-administrative and judicial ones, and Bayer has tried both and achieved satisfactory results." 

The Beijing High People's Court ruled a Shenzhen-based medical apparatus maker and a Beijing-based trade company violated Bayer's patented rights in an appeal case. 

The Shenzhen company was ordered to pay Bayer 1 million yuan ($142,300) in damages and 316,000 yuan in legal expenses. 

"From Bayer's experience, we can see China has increasingly strengthened IP protection and is significantly more capable of settling disputes," Hu said. 

When the first import expo was held in November 2018, China promised to protect the rights of overseas-funded companies, punish infringements, improve the quality and efficiency in handling IP filings and increase penalties. 

In the past year, the country established an IP tribunal at the Supreme People's Court, carried out the E-Commerce Law and implemented the revised Regulations on Patent Commissioning. It also amended the Trademark Law and Anti-Unfair Competition Law. 

In the Global Innovation Index 2019 that WIPO released in July, China's ranking had risen for four consecutive years and was 14th this year, three places higher than last year. It ranked 25th in 2016. 

"For global IP governance, we see that China has taken an increasingly active role in particular across the last 40 years," said Francis Gurry, director-general of WIPO. 

The country has made achievements in simplifying administrative procedures and improving services in the IP field. 

IP examination periods have been greatly reduced and the average period for dealing with trademark applications has been cut to six months. 

Insiders said the IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, 19 local IP tribunals and the IP tribunal at the Supreme People's Court are important elements of judicial reform helping to create a better business environment. 

(Source: China Daily)