Drawing the Sword on Chinese IP Enforcement

Last week, Chinese and American government officials held the 2nd annual China-U.S. International Cooperation Forum on IPR in Washington, D.C. The day-long event included presentations by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The participants zeroed in on China’s enhanced efforts regarding intellectual property rights (IPR) and their subsequent enforcement which, according to the Chinese officials, appear to be inching in a positive, progressive direction.

Over the last year, two drafts of amendments to the Chinese Copyright law have been released, the Supreme People’s Court circulated a draft of the Judicial Interpretation (JI) on Internet Liability, and draft amendments to the Patent Law were released. Meanwhile, the process of amending the Chinese trademark law continues to progress through the government process. The Chamber continues to be active in commenting on and tracking these ongoing processes, and appreciates the willingness of the Chinese government organs to accept suggestions and input from U.S. industry.

While the IP enforcement environment in China continues to be challenging, there appears to be an effort by the government to crack down on IP crime. According to the Ministry of Public Security, a number of campaigns such as Operation “Drawing Sword” are being implemented, which, according to MPS officials, resulted in 44,000 cases of IPR infringement or counterfeiting being discovered resulting in the arrest of 55,000 criminal suspects. Additionally, Chinese public security agencies continue to work to improve their ability to cooperate with each other to ensure the long-term stability of IP enforcement in China.

Despite some signs of progress, Chinese leaders recognize the need for continued improvement of IP protection and enforcement. MOFCOM Minister Chen Deming states that “the level of IPR protection in China is not yet commensurate with the need for building an innovative country” and MOFCOM Deputy China International Trade Representative comments that “in some areas we need to improve more.”

The Chamber commends the Chinese government for their continued focus on IPR, and will continue to work with our Chinese partners to ensure that the intellectual property for Chinese and U.S. innovators are protected both in China and around the world.

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