By Xinhua Writer Wu Jing
BEIJING, April 24(Xinhuanet)-- Monique Edwards, an Australian real estate dealer, was"disappointed" with Beijing during her last visit to China, since counterfeit"Louis Vuitton" and"Channel" products can now seldom be found in the Silk Market, or Xiushuijie, which was best known for counterfeit wholesale.
This month, however, Monique was once again cheery to shop on the market."As I have found many good-quality Chinese brands also matching fashion trends," she said.
This episode sounds especially sweet to Deng Jun, director of the research center of the State Intellectual Property Office(SIPO) of China, who was one of the masterminds of a recent overhaul of the local market most frequented by foreign and local brand lovers.
"China's crack down on fake goods not only benefits top brand owners, but also local manufactures and dealers in the long run," he added. A shop owner in the new Xiushui market said that dealing authentic domestic brands is also profitable.
On April 21, China published a white paper titled New Progress in China's Protection of Intellectual Property Rights. Citing the white paper, Deng said China has promulgated and implemented a set of IPR rules and regulations since 1980s, which were praised by the World Intellectual Property Organization as"modernized."
While actively fulfilling international obligations to protect IPR, Deng said, the Chinese government also went all out to enhance law enforcement, with joint efforts by several Chinese administrations under the leadership of the State IPR Protection Work Team headed by the State Council.
In addition to routine management and supervision, intensified crackdowns have been frequently launched over the past decade on piracy.
"It's harder and harder to sell fake goods," said Li Qiang, nowa taxi driver in Beijing, who admitted peddling pirated CDs five years ago."I finally gave up the illegal job and became a driver."
Mizumi Fujita, a Japanese film fan living in Beijing for seven years or more, said the pirated CD/VCD vendors are decreasingly seen."It's getting more difficult to buy them now."
Statistics in the white paper showed over the past ten years, China confiscated 350 million pirated copies. And in last year alone, more than 50,000 cases of trademark violation were dealt with, and 154 million pieces of audio-video works were confiscated.
Zhang Ping, an IPR professor with Peking University, said it has taken 20 years for China to become what it is today in IPR protection, which has taken nearly a century for developed countries to attain.
"The motivation was not only pressure from foreign companies and governments, but also China's own interests in encouraging itsself-dependent technological innovation, and building a market economy based on rule of law and honesty," Zhang said.
Boasting great inventions like gun powder, paper making, printing and the compass in history, the Chinese people never came across the concept of patents till 1980, when the China Patent Office was established.
According to the white paper, from 1985 to 2004, patent officesin China handled 2,284,925 patent applications with an average annual increase of 18.9 percent, of which 82 percent were from domestic applicants.
It took China 15 years for patent applications to reach one million, but it took only four years for the number to double.
However, as the white paper observed,"the Chinese government is clearly aware that, in a large developing country with a population of 1.3 billion, a relatively backward economy and low level of science and technology, a complete IPR protection system cannot be established overnight."
"Like many developed countries at the takeoff phase in a marketeconomy, China has a long way to go in this regard, and is faced with heavy tasks in IPR protection," Deng Jun with the SIPO said."But the Chinese companies and individuals should also learn to safeguard their interests following rules of IPR protection."
Just several years ago, almost all Chinese DVD manufacturers were defeated in the overseas market for"offending foreign IPR." Having researched this phenomenon, Zhang Ping said the true failure of the booming Chinese DVD industry was due to the lack ofIPR protection knowledge.
By contrast, Chinese company Hisense won the lawsuit over Siemens, as the latter illegally registered the Chinese company's brand in Germany."Hisense, a local trademark licensed in 1993 in China, had a narrow escape with the help of law," Guo Qingcun, vice-president of Hisense said.
Guo, originally a professor on IPO law with Shandong University,said the Hisense victory has set a good example for Chinese companies who have not yet realized the importance of IPR protection."What's more important, this case will let the outsideworld have a more optimistic insight into China's IPR protection."
"China is a country with a long history of civilization," the forward of the white paper said,"Over the past several thousand years, vast numbers of outstanding Chinese scientists, inventors, men of letters and artists have made enormous contributions to mankind's development and progress with their splendid intellectual achievements. The Chinese government and people are keenly aware of the value of inventions, creations, and science and technology."
"In the 21 century when the world is being integrated in a knowledge-based economy, China's effective IPR protection efforts will better enable itself in sharing the fruits of human innovation with the rest of the world," Deng concluded. Enditem