On December 21, China's Supreme Court strengthened the country's anti-piracy laws by lowering the threshold at which people making or selling counterfeit goods can be sentenced to jail. 'China is still lagging behind in its criminal law and procedures,' Cao Jianming, vice-president of the court, said. 'We should not only sentence such offenders in a determined manner, but also make it economically impossible for the criminals convicted and sentenced to commit the crime again.' Lovells' intellectual property lawyer William Fisher says the new interpretation is an improvement and addresses all forms of IP law, including trademarks, patents, trade secrets and copyright. Under the ruling, violators who produce or sell counterfeit goods valued at US$6,000 or more now face prison terms of up to three years. For counterfeit revenues of US$30,000 or more prosecutors can seek penalties of between three and seven years. The ruling also clarifies laws regarding pirated DVDs and CDs: manufacturers who produce more than 1,000 pirated copies can be imprisoned for up to three years. The interpretation, Mr Fisher and other lawyers said, was not perfect. Among other things, it did not make clear whether the value of the pirated goods would be equal to their street value or that of the genuine items. But, Mr Fisher said, it was a step in the right direction.