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China To Crack Down On IPR Infringement

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

06 December 2010

With continuing complaints, both domestically and internationally, about the illegal copying of software and other products, the Chinese government has announced that it is undertaking a further six-month anti-piracy campaign.

It has been suggested that piracy originating from China has continued to grow. Earlier this year, for example, the Business Software Alliance said that, in 2009, China saw the largest increase in the commercial value of pirated computer software of any country, growing by USD900m to USD7.6bn, and that almost 79% of software used there was copied illegally.

The Deputy Commerce Minister, Jiang Zengwei, has disclosed that the government’s action, which began in October this year, will be aimed at illegal or counterfeit copies of various products, but mentioned, in particular, software and other internet products, and medicines. He added that companies will be encouraged to use legitimate goods.

The special campaign, which is planned to go on until March next year, was begun by China’s State Council’s appointment of a national intellectual property group of state agencies, which will coordinate enforcement, improve anti-piracy laws and regulations, and liaise with the business sector in promoting the use of legal goods.

By May 2011, it is hoped that there will be no unauthorized software copies still being used by central government agencies, and that the same would be true of other government agencies in the country by the end of October next year. Government offices may be given funds to purchase legitimate software, but it was admitted that the use of pirated software could not be eradicated completely in the short-term, and that it could take up to two years.

It was also admitted in China that any significant improvement in people’s awareness of the need to protect copyright, trademarks and patents could only be effective in the longer term, partly due to the lower cost of pirated copies. However, it was also felt that the government’s present action was serious in its intent as it was also an attempt to protect domestic companies from pirated copies, to reinforce a policy of encouraging their own innovation.

TAGS: business | trademarks | patents | law | intellectual property | copyright | China | enforcement | internet | regulation | trade

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