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Intellectual Property Rights Protection in Guangdong, 2007

Latest Updated at 2008-June-17 16:22:17
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(This report was issued on 24 April 2008 by the Office of Intellectual Property Coordination Conference of Guangdong Government at a press conference organized by the Information Office of Guangdong Government.) 

In 2007, significant progress was made in the intellectual property (IP) work of Guangdong (GD) Province. The GD Provincial Government promulgated for implementation The Intellectual Property Strategic Plan of Guangdong Province (2007-2020). GD鈥檚 patent filings and grants, and trademark registrations reached a new record high. The administrative authorities for patent, trademark and copyright, the customs, the police, and the court system intensified protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). Regional cooperation in IPR advanced, and the public awareness of IPR improved.

1. GD Intellectual Property Strategic Plan Promulgated for Implementation

The year 2007 saw great development of IP work in GD. On 6 November 2007, the Government of GD Province promulgated for implementation The Intellectual Property Strategic Plan of Guangdong Province (2007-2020). The Strategic Plan, clearly defining the guiding principles, development objectives and strategic priorities for implementing the IP strategy, aims to comprehensively advance the IP work across GD; it decides on a series of tasks and measures in the field of IPR creation, administration, protection, utilization, administration, service, and training of IP talents. Currently, as planned by GD Government, the Strategic Plan has entered the phase of implementation, marking a new chapter in the history of the IP work in GD.  

2. Patent Administration and Protection 

New achievements were witnessed in patent administration and protection. By the end of 2007, the accumulated numbers of patent filings and grants had reached 529305 and 309416breaking through the thresholds of 500000 and 300000 respectively. In 2007 alone, patent filings and grants in GD were 102449 and 56451, respectively up 12.7% and 29.7% over the year 2006; among those, the filings and grants of Invention Patents were 26692 and 3714, respectively up 25% and 52.2% over the previous year. The numbers of patent filings and grants both ranked first in China for 13 straight years; the number of Invention Patent applications ranked first for 3 straight years.

In 2007, corporate patent filings reached 42701, up 26.6% over the year 2006.  Among those, corporate Invention Patent filings were 20296, up 31.3%. The numbers of both corporate patent filings, and corporate Invention Patent filings continued to rank first nationwide.

In 2007, GD鈥檚 PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) international filings reached 2646, increasing 52.9% over the year 2006, accounting for 49% of the national total, and ranking first nationwide for 6 straight years. Among those, the PCT international filings of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd in GD ranked fourth in the enterprises worldwide. 

The administrative enforcement of patents was strengthened. In 2007, the Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) across GD received 256, and concluded 214 patent-related cases and disputes. In addition, they investigated 90 cases of patent passing off (i.e. passing off other people鈥檚 patents as his own, or passing off non-patents as patents). An enforcement force of 1940 person-times was mobilized to conduct 228 inspections of commercial areas; the number of commercial articles inspected was 265727, and the worth of goods involved RMB 56.2564 million. 

3. Trademark Administration and Protection 

Trademark administration and protection took on a new look. By the end of 2007, the accumulated number of trademark registrations had exceeded 380000, and the numbers of trademark applications and registrations had ranked first in China for 13 straight years. In the year, 24 more GD trademarks were identified by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) as Chinese Well-known Trademarks; the accumulated number of GD鈥檚 Chinese Well-known Trademarks reached 108, ranking first nationwide. Meanwhile, 338 more GD Famous Trademarks were identified, and 331 GD Famous Trademarks renewed; the accumulated number of GD Famous Trademarks reached 1611.

The AICs in GD supported the implementation of the brand strategy for agricultural products. They actively helped agricultural organizations and enterprises to register certification trademarks for agricultural products and geographic indications, assisted in the administration and utilization of newly registered geographic indications, and intensified protection of agriculture-related trademarks. In the year, 4 more certification trademarks for geographic indications were registered, increasing the accumulated number to 9.

The AICs across GD intensified administrative protection of trademarks. In 2007, they investigated 3056 trademark-related cases, including 2825 cases of trademark infringement or counterfeiting, 231 general cases of illegal activities, and 1833 international cases. Among those, 31 cases were transferred to the judicial authorities, involving 19 suspects. The AICS at all levels launched special actions to protect trademark and Olympic symbol-related rights and continued to strengthen supervision of large-scale whole sale markets and malls, effectively safeguarding the market order.  

4. Copyright Administration and Protection

New progress was made in copyright administration and protection. In 2007, GD Copyright Bureau (GDCB) began implementing The Strategic Plan for Copyright Industry Development in Guangdong Province (2007-2015). Meanwhile, it actively promoted software legalization among enterprises, and issued the Guidance for Guangdong Enterprises to Use Authentic Software. In the year, two Guangdong enterprises i.e. Tencent, Inc. and Yingning Company were listed among the National Model Enterprises in Corporate Software Legalization.

The Department of Information Industry of Guangdong Province endeavored to promote copyright protection of software. In the year, 1965 software products were registered for recordation; the accumulated number amounted to 11838, ranking among the top few in China. 

From April to June, Copyright Bureaus across GD carried out the special campaign of suppressing illegal pre-installation of computer software. In the campaign, an enforcement force of 2425 person-times and 186 vehicles was dispatched to inspect 60 shopping malls and 3864 software stores; 15 cases were investigated and a total administrative fine of RMB 90000 imposed; 20 cases mediated; 45 illegal stores closed; 5 enterprises ordered to stop infringement; over 78000 pieces of illegal and pirated electronic publications along with 5497 optical disks for pirated software seized. From July to October, Copyright Bureaus across GD, as directed by the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) launched a special action against Internet piracy. The priority was on seizing illegal websites and servers, investigating 34 NCAC-supervised cases of Internet piracy, and transfer of criminal cases of internet piracy. In the action, Copyright Bureaus, by cooperating with the police and the telecommunications authorities, closed 40 websites for Internet piracy. In the year, in daily administrative enforcement, they received 62, and concluded 50 cases of copyright infringement.

5. IPR Protection of Audio-Visual Products 

In 2007, the Culture administrative authorities across GD dispatched a force of over 380000 person-times for law enforcement, inspecting over 220000 business units, 44000 of which were engaged in Audio-Visual (A/V) products business; they received 5670 complaints of piracy and infringement, among which 4928 cases were investigated, 167 cases transferred to other authorities, and 3548 cases concluded; over 62.87 million pieces of pirated goods like optical disks were seized.

In 2007, the Culture administrative authorities in GD conducted numerous special raids on markets; they seized IPR-infringing A/V products, intensified inspection of A/V product stores, prosecuted or closed unlicensed, illegal A/V product businesses. In April, the publicity campaign 鈥淣inth GD Publicity Week for Laws Regulating Audio-Visual Product Markets鈥 was launched, and in the campaign 11.8 million pieces of pirated and other illegal A/V products were collectively destroyed. From July to September, the Culture administrative authorities aggressively inspected the A/V product markets and launched the summer campaign against piracy. In December, they strengthened regulation of the New Year period markets, and destroyed a batch of dens for manufacture, packaging, trafficking and storage of pirated A/V products.

The Culture administrative authorities in GD, in their daily enforcement, punished three illegal whole-sale A/V product businesses with a fine of altogether RMB 320000. They organized relevant agencies to have destroyed five dens for piracy of A/V products, and seized about 630000 pieces of illegal A/V products. They continued to use the telephone hotline 鈥12318鈥 to receive reporting of illegal activities in the culture market; over 100 reports were received, and all were handled.

6. Protection of Brand Products and Combat against Counterfeiting 

GD made great progress in implementing the Famous Brands Strategy. In 2007, one GD product acquired the title China World Brand, increasing the accumulated number to 4, which represented 40% of the national total and ranked first nationwide; another 81 GD products acquired the title China Famous Brands, increasing the accumulated number to 299, which accounted for 15.3% of the national total and ranked first nationwide for seven consecutive years. Another 354 industrial and 150 agricultural products acquired the title of Guangdong Famous Brands, increasing the accumulated numbers to 1031 and 349 respectively.

Cultivation of new varieties of plants advanced. By the end of 2007, a total of 71 new agricultural plant varieties applications were filed and 21 were granted rights; 7 new forestry plant varieties applications filed and 3 granted rights. Meanwhile, both the agriculture and the forestry authorities strengthened efforts to develop and protect agricultural and forestry brands; they provided guidance and encouraged enterprises to enhance their competitiveness by developing proprietary IPR.

Remarkable progress was made in the field of work related to geographical indications (GI). In 2007, GD Provincial Quality Supervision Bureau (QSB) issued Suggestions on Further Protecting Geographical Indications. In the year, 9 products were granted Geographical Indication protection, increasing the accumulated number to 31, which ranked first nationwide; 21 enterprises were authorized to use the GI logo, increasing the accumulated number to 31.

QSBs across GD severely cracked down on counterfeiting and other IPR infringement activities. In the year, a force of 13185 person-times was dispatched to inspect 2366 sites of product production, distribution, utilization and storage. They investigated 1801 cases, destroying 860 counterfeit plants. In these cases, RMB 84.6414 million worth of goods were involved and RMB 68.7236 million worth of goods seized and destroyed. Seventy-five of the cases were transferred to the police.

7. Customs Protection of IPR 

The Customs protection of IPR in GD proved effective. GD customs intensified suppression of IPR infringement in import and export. In 2007, a total of 1662 cases of IPR infringement were seized, increasing 73.67% over the year 2006. Meanwhile, they strengthened inspection of goods from priority watch list countries, regions and enterprise, and thus enhanced the accuracy of seizing IPR-infringing goods. The border protection safeguarded the normal foreign trade order and the rights of IPR owners.  

In October 2007, GD customs, as required by China General Administration for Customs, launched a six-month operation, i.e. Operation Dragon Boat to suppress IPR infringement. By the end of December, 348 cases of IPR infringement were seized, involving quantities of counterfeit products of Adidas, NIKE, LV, Chanel, Gucci, Nokia, Sony and other international brands. Moreover, GD Customs continued to intensify suppression of IPR infringement through the channels of parcels and postal service; in the year, they seized 769 cases of IPR infringement through such channels.

GD Customs strengthened protection of the rights related to Olympic symbols. In June, Guangzhou Customs seized a case where a traveler carried tools for manufacturing the 29th Olympic Game symbols, and prevented infringement by eliminating the source. That was the first case for the Customs to have seized tools for manufacturing the Olympic symbols.

8. Criminal Protection of IPR 

Criminal protection of IPR proved effective. In 2007, the Public Security Departments (PSDs, i.e. the Police) at all levels in GD investigated 503, and cracked 345 criminal cases of IPR infringement and product counterfeiting, arresting 894 criminal suspects. The worth of goods involved reached RMB 450 million, and an economic loss of RMB 170 million was recovered.

As organized and directed by the Ministry of Public Security, GD police actively explored direct cooperation with the U.S. FBI in IPR law enforcement; they seized a case of cross-border sale of optical disks for pirated U.S. Microsoft Corporation鈥檚 system software, arresting 18 suspects, destroying 6 dens for piracy production, packaging, storage and sale, and seizing 11 source disks for piracy and 79335 disks for pirated software; the worth of goods involved in the case reached about USD 500 million.

In June 2007, the police launched the Action Golden Sword to raid criminal networks for counterfeit cigarettes. In the action, 15 dens for production and sale of fake cigarettes were destroyed, 16 suspects arrested, and over 1000 packages of finished or half-finished fake cigarettes seized. The case involved RMB 30 million worth of goods, representing the largest case in the worth of imported materials seized for fake cigarettes in GD since 1949. The police staged special campaigns against trafficking of counterfeit cigarettes. In the campaigns, 46 cases of fake cigarettes trafficking were seized, 11200 packages of fake cigarettes intercepted, and 51 suspects arrested. In the whole year, the police across GD investigated 195, and cracked 152 cases concerning fake cigarettes, destroying 780 dens for production and sale of such goods, arresting 636 suspects, seizing 180 large-scale machines for counterfeit production as well as over 120000 packages of finished and half-finished fake cigarettes.  

9. Judicial Protection of IPR

The judicial trial of IPR cases improved in diverse aspects. In 2007, the courts across GD received 3122, and concluded 3104 IPR civil cases of first instance; they received 576, and concluded 572 IPR civil cases of second instance. In the year, they received 86 IPR criminal cases of first instance involving 157 suspects, and concluded 86 criminal cases involving 157 suspects. In addition, they received 19, and concluded 15 IPR administrative cases of first instance. GD courts actively tried settling IPR lawsuits through mediation. In 2007, altogether 1627 or 52.4% of IPR cases of first instance were settled via mediation (including reconciled withdrawal of accusation). Moreover, in 2007, a total of 3155 effective verdicts were uploaded onto the Internet (i.e. China IPR Judgments and Decisions: http://ipr.chinacourt.org), continuing to rank first nationwide.

In parts of GD, a growing number of grassroots (county-level) courts began to undertake judicial protection of IPR. In 2007, the former 8 county-level courts received 832 (26.6% of the provincial total), and concluded 826 (also 26.6% of the provincial total) IPR cases of first instance. Ratified by China Supreme Court, GD Provincial Court designated 7 county-level courts to try part of IPR civil cases of first instance starting 1 January 2008; by the end of 2007, there had been in GD 15 county-level courts GD designated to try part of IPR civil cases. Meanwhile, new progress was made in integrating the trial of IPR criminal, civil and administrative cases into a single, unified tribunal. In the year, the three county-level courts with a single IPR tribunal received 311 IPR civil cases, 17 IPR criminal cases, and 3 IPR administrative cases.

10. IPR Protection in Trade Fairs and Trade Associations 

IPR protection in trade fairs and trade associations kept on improving in GD. In 2007, IPR enforcement authorities, upon invitation, dispatched law enforcement personnel to such major fairs and expos as the 101st and 102nd sessions of China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair), the 19th Guangzhou International Toys & Gifts Fair, the 26th and 27th Guangzhou International Beauty, Hairdressing & Cosmetics Expo, the 4th China Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Fair and the 3rd China International Exposition of Audio-Visual Industry to safeguard normal trade order. The Canton Fair intensified punishment for IPR infringement. In the 101st session, one enterprise was denied access to the next 6 sessions; another 4 enterprises, 4 sessions. In the 101st and 102nd sessions, they received and handled 1165 cases of IPR infringement complaints, involving 1621 enterprises, of which 991 enterprises were identified as IPR-infringing.

GD Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (DOFTEC) participated in launching the 鈥淏lue Sky Trade Fairs and Conventions Campaign鈥 to enhance IPR training and management for enterprises participating in overseas trade fairs.

The IPR protection and management capability of trade fairs and trade associations was given full play. In the year, the IPOs across the province alone guided trade fairs and trade associations in resolving 1077 cases of patent-related disputes, including 949 for trade fairs and 128 for trade associations.  

11. Regional Cooperation in IPR Protection 

Regional Cooperation in and protection of IPR progressed smoothly. GD continued to strengthen IPR cooperation with Hong Kong (HK). By the end of 2007, the IPR authorities of both GD and HK had convened six task force meetings and conducted over twenty projects. At the 10th GD-HK Cooperation Joint Conference on 2 August 2007, GD and HK IP authorities signed the Agreement on GD-HK IPR Protection Cooperation 2007-2008, planning to further promote such projects as the seminars on IPR and Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises Development, 鈥淣o Fakes Pledge Movement鈥.

The cooperation in IPR protection between GD-HK-Macau customs deepened. In the year, GD Customs and HK and Macau Customs shared over 100 pieces of intelligence concerning IPR protection. They conducted 5 joint enforcement operations in ports such as Luohu, Huanggang, Shatoujiao, Gongbei and Hengqin, seizing 29 cases of IPR infringement and goods counterfeiting Nike, Chanel, and LV. In those operations HK Customs arrested 5 criminal suspects.

Fresh progress was made in Pan-PRD IPR Cooperation. By the end of 2007, four Pan-PRD IPR Cooperation Joint Conferences had been convened, three Pan-PRD IPR Forums held, and twenty cooperation projects conducted. GD Customs was fully involved in IPR protection cooperation with other Pan-PRD Customs. GD Provincial Commission of Economy and Trade established the mechanism of Pan-PRD Joint Conference for Rectification of Market Order. GD QSB issued nine regional industry standards with the Pan-PRD cooperation as the platform.  

12. IPR Protection as a Growing Resultant Force  

Cross-departmental coordination and cooperation in IPR protection improved greatly. In 2007 the GD Provincial Court established the personnel exchange mechanism with Patent Reexamination Board of China State IPO, facilitating coordination between administrative and judicial protection of patents. GD Customs continued to cooperate with IPR protection authorities such as PSDs, AICs, IPOs and Copyright Bureaus, improving the overall efficiency and capacity of IPR protection. The IPOs and PSDs across the province strengthened the link between administrative and criminal enforcement; all 21 GD municipalities set up 鈥淓nforcement Liaison Office鈥, building on a long-term coordinated and efficient IPR enforcement mechanism. Meanwhile, GD Provincial IPO and PSD, for the first time, jointly investigated patent fraud cases. GD Provincial AIC and PSD established close ties in case handling, forming a resultant force in fighting against trademark infringement. The GD State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission cooperated with GD Copyright Bureau to promote use of authentic software in state-owned enterprises. In the year, GD Service Center for IP Protection received 34 reports of IPR infringement, 31 of which were transferred to relevant departments and 17 of which were settled.

13. IPR Awareness Promotion 

The IPR awareness of the public in GD improved. In 2007, the Theoretical Education Central Team of Communist Party of China (CPC) Guangdong Committee held the 47th session of Guangdong Learning Forum, whereby the leaders of GD governments and government departments collectively learned knowledge about IPR.

The IPR-related authorities organized over ten large-scale IPR forums; GD Provincial Department of Culture held the Exhibition on Progress in IPR Protection; GD Provincial AIC held the Conference for Granting GD Famous Trademarks; GD Provincial IPO made and broadcast on TV an advertisement for IPR awareness promotion; GD Copyright Bureau placed IPR advertisements and the piracy reporting hotline on buses; GD Customs prioritized the border IPR protection publicity aiming at import and export companies and OEM processing companies. Such efforts fostered exchange and communication between IPR authorities and all walks of life in society, contributing to greater IPR awareness of the public. 

During the April 26th World IP day period, GD Office of the Leading Group for IPR Protection held the Opening Ceremony for the 2007 GD IPR Protection Publicity Week and the Summit Forum on IP Protection and Innovation; GD Provincial IPO held a large-scale IPR publicity campaign at Canton Fair, and a press conference for release of ten typical cases of IPR protection; GD Provincial AIC published as a newspaper special page the Road to a Strong Province through Brands: Briefing on Guangdong鈥檚 Trademark Work; GD Copyright Bureau opened a special column Copyright Protection in Guangdong and printed and distributed leaflets about copyright protection; The PSDs and QSBs intensified their efforts to expose infringement cases to the public; GD Customs publicized the laws and regulations of IPR border protection through various media. All such efforts helped to foster a social atmosphere friendly to IP culture.

The IPR education in primary and middle schools deepened. In 2007, GD Provincial IPO, Provincial Department of Education, Provincial Youth League Committee and Provincial Young Pioneers Working Committee identified another 35 schools as the second batch of GD Pilot Schools for IPR education; by the end of the year there had been a total of 65 such schools, covering all 21 GD municipalities. Currently, in the first batch of such schools, 654 classes have had IPR education in their curricula, educating nearly 60000 students.

The IPR-related departments optimized IPR training resources, and sped up in personnel buildup. GD Copyright Bureau held the 鈥淭singhua-Guangdong High-level Training Program on Copyright Administration鈥 to train high-caliber professionals in copyright administration; GD Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation held itinerary seminars on Risk Control in International Trade. In the year, the IPOs alone organized 222 training programs, training 31261 persons across Guangdong Province.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: Newsgd.com

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