China Strikes a Tougher Note for IPR Protection
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China's Minister of Commerce, Chen Deming, reassured foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) on Friday that China would stand firm on protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), citing the country's own need to build an innovative nation and upgrade its economy.
"We have established a relatively sound legal system to protect IPR, but we have to acknowledge that the enforcement still falls short of expectations and China's drive to build itself into an innovation-driven country," Chen said at the Symposium with FIEs on IPR Protection.
The words of Chen, who is also the deputy head of the Office of the Leading Group For Nationwide Special Operation Against IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting, came as China's six-month crackdown on infringements of intellectual property rights and counterfeiting, a special campaign launched in October in 2010, boasted impressive results.
The crackdown has resulted in the report of 16,036 cases of infringement and counterfeiting, the confiscation of 98.77 million yuan (US$14.98 million), and the arrests of 4,157 suspects involving cases that were worth 2.3 billion yuan, said Chen.
For the first two months of the campaign, China's procurators had indicted 598 suspects in 330 cases and the courts had sentenced 303 criminals to prison in 221 legal cases, said Chen.
China only started to gradually become familiar with intellectual property rights since its reform and opening-up policy launched 32 years ago, so there is still a long way to go for China in its efforts to protect IPR, Chen said.
"Here I urged foreign entrepreneurs to consider China's IPR protection work as a process, but I am by no way using the short time as an excuse for China's inadequate enforcement of the IPR protection laws," said Chen.
"We clearly know our work is not enough, especially when we think of our goal to transform the economic growth pattern and restructure the economy, and when we think about the need for us to build our own big brands," said Chen.
Citing Werner Geissler, vice chairman of Global Operations of Procter & Gamble, who was present at the symposium, Chen said, "We have no reason to fail in IPR protection, especially given the need to protect the interests and rights of our customers and the enterprises who paid taxes to the government."
For foreign executives' concerns about the short-term effect of the special campaign, Chen said, "The efforts would not be short-lived" and the authorities would review and reassess the experience and lesson of the crackdown and roll our a long-term mechanism to protect intellectual property rights.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, when speaking at a teleconference held by the State Council on IPR protection last November, stressed the need for strengthened law enforcement and supervision in intellectual property right protection and said China would increase its international exchange and cooperation to further protect intellectual property rights.
(Xinhua News Agency January 15, 2011)