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After IP theft boom, watchdog gets tough

Cao Yin
Updated: Apr 20,2016 9:10 AM     China Daily

Regulator plans to combine ‘offline enforcement teams’ with online ones to improve efficiency

China will increase its efforts in fighting intellectual property violations, especially those that affect people’s livelihoods and the e-commerce sector, after a boom in such cases in recent years, said an official from the national IP protection watchdog on April 19.

Shen Changyu, director of the State Intellectual Property Office, said e-commerce, which has undergone fast development in the country, has led to more IP infringements and noted the situation has become a hot topic among the public.

Shen said at a news conference on April 19 that his office and other government departments had made great strides since 2010, when a campaign was launched against IP infringement on e-commerce platforms.

“For example, we dealt with more than 7,600 patent cases in the industry last year and gave administrative punishments to violators,” he said. “The fight also meant exploring new ways to conduct law enforcement because IP infringements in the e-commerce field were often hard to find and disappeared fast.”

But Shen said more work needs to be done.

“We’re planning to combine our offline teams with our online ones, effectively protecting consumers’ rights and improving the efficiency of the fight,” he said.

The authority plans to increase crackdowns against IP violations that affect people’s livelihoods, such as in the areas of food, medicine and the environment, he said.

The stronger protection will be a key first step in solving challenges around evidence collection and the current low levels of compensation payable to injured parties, he said.

“Also, a quicker, more efficient and lower-cost channel for IP rights holders is being established that will help them protect themselves and their work,” he said.

In addition, the authority plans this year to offer more help to Chinese enterprises doing business overseas by supporting them in protecting their intellectual property rights in foreign markets, he said.

In 2015, the authority accepted more than 1.1 million patent applications for inventions, which was up 18.7 percent year-on-year, the statement said. It added that the number of patent applications recorded in China has led the world for five years.

Meanwhile, 2.88 million brand names and logos were filed with the authority last year, up 26 percent year-on-year. The number of copyright registrations also rose last year, reaching 1.64 million.