Intellectual property complaints office to be established

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 April, 2006, 12:00am

A centre for handling complaints about abuses of intellectual property rights will be set up in the capital as part of the effort showcasing China's determination in the fight against counterfeiting ahead of President Hu Jintao's US visit.

Beijing Intellectual Property Office director Liu Zhengang announced the move yesterday, along with other anti-piracy measures. Apart from focusing on protecting Olympic symbols and products, Beijing would crack down on pirated products in retail markets, exhibitions and trade fairs.

'It only took China about 20 years to build a legal system on IPR protection, a journey that took developed countries more than a century,' Mr Liu said. 'But it remains an arduous, long-term task to raise public awareness.'

Zhang Guohong , from Beijing's Administration for Industry and Commerce, said authorities in the capital handled 1,791 cases of trademark counterfeiting last year, with a total value of 105 million yuan. His administration dealt with 45 infringements of Olympic-related intellectual property rights last year, imposing fines of 320,000 yuan.

'Counterfeiting of the Beijing Olympic mascots, the Five Friendlies, has been on the rise,' he said. 'But most cases we handled only involved street venders selling key chains, pens and balloons. We have not found any major case or manufacturing base so far.'

Beijing would speed up the campaign to promote the use of licensed software among government departments and enterprises, which had been included in the criteria used for assessing cadres' performance at the suggestion of Mayor Wang Qishan , officials said.

Officials dismissed criticism Beijing had not paid enough attention to combating rampant piracy while doing a good job of protecting Olympic intellectual property.

'We can understand the anxiety of western countries over China's IPR protection, but we should acknowledge the fact that Chinese governments at all levels have attached greater importance [to the issue] than foreign governments,' Mr Liu said.

'Their expectations are too high because it takes time to perfect the IPR protection system and raise public awareness. We have paid a great deal of attention to protecting Olympic symbols and products because it is a priority for the government. But it does not mean we will loosen control in other areas.'

Mr Zhang said pacts with the International Olympic Committee meant officials had to attach great importance to the protection of Olympic-related intellectual property. But he said it would be difficult to wipe out counterfeiting quickly because pirated products were still attractive to many people.