China's ongoing efforts at cracking down on intellectual property rights violation are paying dividends, according to the Ministry of Commerce, after it revealed that the number of cases had dropped in the first five months of the year.
But despite the move in the right direction, Jiang Zengwei, vice-minister of commerce, said China will continue to introduce stricter criminal controls on IPR violations, to further curb piracy and counterfeiting.
During the first five months of this year, the government tackled 120,291 cases of counterfeiting, worth an estimated 2.93 billion yuan ($46.5 million) in value, said Jiang at a national IPR protection meeting held by the ministry in Beijing.
"The total number of cases decreased compared with last year, which means our IPR environment is improving," he added.
"Now China has to take more action to curb counterfeiting and protect IPR to improve the environment for innovation."
In 2010, the country started a nationwide IPR protection campaign to protect trademarks, copyrights and software.
Chang Xiaocun, general director at the ministry's department of market supervision, said that the police had arrested 16,315 counterfeit suspects from January to May.
China has promoted a campaign to urge all government departments to use nothing but legal software.
The Ministry of Commerce said earlier this year it plans to put more resources on supporting the use of legal software and building online platforms to crack IPR violations.
Tim Cranton, chief legal consultant for the Greater China Region at Microsoft Corp, said the government's moves have created a better environment for innovation and creation in the last few years.
With the support of the Chinese government, Microsoft recently filed nine IPR cases against nine computer distributors which are authorized by multinational PC giants including Acer Inc, Lenovo Group Ltd, Hewlett-Packard Corp and Dell Inc, Cranton said on Tuesday
He said Microsoft tested 104 PCs it bought from the resellers, and 94 percent of them had their Windows software infected by malware, which included fishing of websites and hijacking of Internet browser home pages to steal user information.
"Since the launch of the State Council's special campaign against IPR infringement and counterfeits in October 2010, we have observed the government's strengthened efforts to protect IPR," he said.
Wu Gaohan, former deputy secretary of China Consumers' Association, said: "We are pleased to see Microsoft has proactively cooperated with the government in resolving the problem of piracy.
"This is an important step in protecting Chinese consumers and bringing solid improvements to China's IPR environment."