VII. Patent Protection

1. Patent Law Enforcement

In 1999,SIPO strengthened liaison and coordination with related departments and ministries in the field of law enforcement, especially to settle inter-departmental problems and to resolve key important cases. At the same time, SIPO took measures to improve the performance of local patent authorities in law enforcement.

In June, SIPO convened a national working conference attended by representatives from local patent administrative authorities. The participants summarized their law enforcement practices over the previous two years. They also exchanged experiences in intensifying patent protection through the formulation and perfection of laws and regulations. The conference also facilitated the rapid introduction of a system for reporting and recording major patent cases and reiterated the importance of legislation.

2. Local Patent Legislation

As of the end of 1999,Regulations on Patent Protection were promulgated and implemented consecutively in: Guangdong, Sichuan, Hubei, Shandong, Liaoning, Hebei, Anhui, Shanxi, Zhejiang, Guangxi, Jiangsu and Xiamen. Similar regulations on Patent Administration were also initiated and drafted in areas such as: Shanghai, Hunan, Fujian and Gansu. The promulgation and implementation of these regulations at the local level will help intensify law enforcement and protect more effectively the legislative rights and interests of patent holders.

3. Receiving and Handling Patent Disputes

According to statistics, in 1999 local patent administrative authorities received 791 patent dispute cases, of which 641 or 81% were closed. Among those received,726 cases related to patent infringement, 53 cases related to disputes over patent filing rights and patent ownership rights, and 12 cases related to disputes amongst inventors or disputes over royalties and bonuses. Of all the closed cases,138 or 22% were concluded upon the decision of competent authorities, 338 or 52.5% upon mediation, and 165 or 25.5% upon the withdrawal of the interested parties and decision of closure.

4. Investigation and Seizure of Passing off Patents

In 1999, patent administrative authorities investigated and handled 2,071 cases of passing off patents. March 15th is International Consumers' Rights Protection Day. In accordance with the Chinese Patent Law and related international agreements on intellectual property such as Sino-US Agreement on IPR Protection, China seriously cracked down activities related to passing off patents. On that day, SIPO issued a notice calling for a nation-wide campaign for promoting IPR publicity and for cracking down on counterfeiting. To guarantee the campaign's success, SIPO dispatched its staff to Wuhan and Huangshi in Hubei province to supervise and guide work at the local level.

The March 15th anti-counterfeiting campaign had a serious impact on fake products in the marketplace. These activities pushed forward the anti-counterfeiting drive in other areas such as Beijing, Zhengzhou, and Wuhan. The campaign's influence was felt all over the country.