China: Action Program On Protection Of Intellectual Property Rights Of Foreign-Invested Enterprises

Last Updated: 12 October 2017
Article by CCPIT Patent & Trademark Law Office
Most Read Contributor in China, September 2017

In order to implement the Notice on a Number of Measures on the Promotion of Foreign Investment Growth issued by the State Council, construct a market environment with fair competition and an excellent investment environment, further promote foreign investment growth, improve the quality of utilization of foreign investment, crack down on violations against the intellectual property rights of foreign-invested enterprises, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign-invested enterprises, the present action plan is formulated.

I. Missions

1. Fighting against infringements of trade secrets

To enhance the administrative protection of trade secrets, crack down on infringements of trade secrets, and carry out judgements on the cases of infringing trade secrets in accordance with the laws, so as to effectively protect the interests of the right holders. (The State Administration for Industry & Commerce and the Supreme People's Court shall be responsible respectively according to functions.)

2. Fighting against infringements of trademark rights, such as Freeride

To enhance the efforts in protecting the well-known trademarks, geographical indications and foreign-related trademarks, investigate and prosecute violations such as trademark squatting and Freeride, and order a crackdown on major copyright piracy. To strengthen supervision of e-market, focus on combating violations such as counterfeiting and false advertising, and improve the level of collaborative networks. (The State Administration for Industry & Commerce shall take the lead.)

3. Fighting against infringements of patent rights

Directed to key areas such as e-commerce, food and drug, environmental protection, safe production and high technology and key links such as exhibition and import and export, to carry out in-depth the "Thunder" special action on enforcement of law and protection of rights related to patents, bring 12330, the platform of offence-reporting, complaining and assistance of the protection of rights, into full play, precisely and quickly combat infringements of patent rights and counterfeiting of patent rights of foreign-invested enterprises, and steadily increase the combating momentum. (The State Intellectual Property Office shall take the lead.)

4. Fighting against internet piracy and other copyright violations

To seriously investigate and prosecute acts of piracy and focus on investigating a number of major and significant cases. To strengthen the governance of internet piracy, carry out the "Sword Net 2017" special action, and further enhance the efforts in copyright regulation in the areas of internet videos, music, software, animations, and teaching materials and in the platforms of e-commerce, software application stores. To deepen the promotion of software legalization. (The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television shall take the lead.)

5. Fighting against infringements of new plant variety rights

To organize and carry out the fight against the production and sale of infringed and counterfeited seeds and sprouts, and continue in performing actions of administrative law enforcement in combating the infringements of new plant variety rights in agriculture and forestry. (The Ministry of Agriculture and the State Forestry Administration shall be responsible respectively according to functions.)

6. Cracking down on import and export of goods infringing intellectual property rights

To further improve the mechanism of law enforcement of intellectual property rights at customs, continue to carry out special actions of customs protection of intellectual property rights directed to key commodities and key channels, and launch joint law enforcement actions with relevant international organizations and overseas law enforcement authorities. (The General Administration of Customs shall take the lead.)

7. Reinforcing safety supervision of delivery link

To proactively promote the construction of "Green Shield" project for safety supervision of the delivery channels, strengthen market supervision and law enforcement inspection, and urge the enterprises to strictly enforce the three regulations of "acceptance inspection, real-name acceptance, and security check by passing through the screening machines" for safety  management of delivery channels, and highlight the enhancement of delivery safety management of overseas online shopping products in e-business.  (The State Post Bureau shall take the lead.)

8. Cracking down on infringement and counterfeiting crimes

To foster a comprehensive anti-counterfeiting by information directing investigation, improve the initiation and organization mode of the cluster campaign as well as "integration" combating mechanism, strengthen the offensive of the cluster campaign, and perform a full-chain fight against infringement and counterfeiting crimes.  (The Ministry of Public Security shall take the lead.)

9. Strengthening the prosecutorial supervision

To focus on handling a number of infringement and counterfeiting crimes with serious circumstances and serious adverse effects, and strengthen the research and supervision of key cases and novel cases. To perform thorough investigations into duty crimes, such as malpractice, corruption and abuse of the law, playing favoritism and committing irregularities, behind the infringement and counterfeiting criminal cases.  (The Supreme People's Procuratorate shall take the lead.)

10. Strengthening the judiciary judgement

To strengthen the judgement work of civil, criminal and administrative cases in key industries and key areas of infringement and counterfeiting according to the laws, and strengthen the supervision and guidance. (The Supreme People's Court shall take the lead.)

11. Strengthening the external publicity work

In multilateral and bilateral intellectual property cooperation and negotiations, to actively publicize the work deployment and implementation as well as the results achieved related to the action plan, and establish a good image of China's IPR protection. (The Ministry of Commerce shall take the lead.)

II. Time Schedule

1. Mobilization and deployment

Prior to September 10, 2017, the action plan is to be issued so as to perform mobilization and deployment, put forward the mission requirements and make clear the division of responsibilities. All localities and all member units concerned are to study a refined implementation scheme in accordance with the action plan and formulate specific implementation measures.

2. Organization and implementation

During September to December of 2017, all localities and all member units concerned are to carry out an intensive action and severely investigate and prosecute criminal violations against intellectual property rights of foreign-invested enterprises, and timely expose a group of typical cases, thereby forming a strong deterrent. Developments of significant cases are to be timely reported to the Office of the National Leading Group on the Fight against IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting.

3. Summarization of experiences and lessons

Prior to December 31, 2017, all localities and all member units concerned are to make a comprehensive summarization of this action and submit a special action report to the Office of the National Leading Group on the Fight against IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting. The Office of the National Leading Group on the Fight against IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting is to summarize and promote good experiences and practices as it regards appropriate.

III. Work requirements

1. Enhancing organization and leadership

All localities and all member units concerned are to be fully aware of the important significance of improving the work of protection of intellectual property rights of foreign-invested enterprises, enhance organization and leadership, implement work responsibilities, strengthen guidance and inspection, and do well in publicity and guidance. Leading Group Offices at all levels are to strengthen coordination, and timely supervise and inspect the implementation. All localities and all departments concerned are to earnestly carry out special statistics and submit a progress report of investigation of the cases and related work during the preceding month prior to the 15th of each month.

2. Closely cohering and cooperating

All member units concerned are to enhance the cross-department and cross-regional cooperation, improve the cooperation mechanism, do a good job in clue circulation, evidence transfer, assistance in investigation of case, joint law enforcement, strengthen the linkage of administrative law enforcement and criminal justice, and further enhance the joint efforts in the supervision and regulation of law enforcement.

3. Increasing the case handling efficiency

Relevant law-enforcing and judicial departments are to smooth reporting channels for offence-reporting and complaining and make public the telephone number for offence-reporting and complaining. Related cases are to be accepted in time and handled quickly according to the laws, and a number of major and significant cases of very high concern and with serious adverse effects are to be handled intensively, so as to further enhance the level of protection of intellectual property rights of foreign-invested enterprises.

Appendix: Data Statistics of the Cases Investigated by the Action on Protection of Intellectual Property Rights of Foreign-invested Enterprises

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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