White Paper on the Intellectual Property Rights Protection in China in 1999

1999 was an important year for the sustained development and further perfection of the intellectual property right (IPR) system in China.

In 1999, President Jiang Zeming and Premier Zhu Rongji successively met Dr. Kamil Idiris, the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), during which the leaders reiterated China's principles and stands on amplifying IPR protection and expanding international cooperation on IPR. Moreover, Vice Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice Chairman of China's National People's Congress (NPC) Peng Peiyun inspected the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) respectively and delivered important speeches.

In the same year, applications for patents and registrations of trademarks continued to grow. Meanwhile, patent examination and grant were markedly speeded up and, more effective measures were adopted to crack down upon copyright-infringement and piracy. Furthermore, Customs' efforts in protecting IPR guaranteed the smooth growth of foreign trade. And the public security authorities and cultural affairs administrations further intensified the management of audio-video market by severely fighting against illegal and criminal activities such as copyright-infringement, piracy and illegal publications. In addition, the protection of new varieties of plants was initiated formally. In 1999, China also strengthened exchange and cooperation in the field of intellectual property rights with international organizations and countries throughout the world.

I. The Chinese Government Attached Importance to IPR Work

President Jiang Zeming told visiting WIPO Director General Dr. Idiris and his delegation on January 27, 1999, that rapid progress had been made in China's intellectual property undertakings over the last two decades, and that the legal framework for intellectual property, with patent, trademark and copyright as its three major pillars, had taken shape and been unceasingly improved in China. In the meantime, China was earnestly undertaking its international obligations regarding the protection of intellectual property rights.  The President also pointed out that China had basically met international standards and requirements in terms of the scope and level of IPR protection, and that the law enforcement mechanism for IPR protection was also constantly improved. In the interview, President Jiang stressed as well that China had always attached great importance to its friendly relationship with WIPO.  China hoped that WIPO would play a more important role in further rationalizing the international IPR system and transforming it into a component part of a new international political and economic order.

On October 13, 1999, Premier Zhu Rongji stressed, when meeting again with Dr. Idiris, that WIPO had played an active role in facilitating the founding and development of the intellectual property system in China, in disseminating intellectual property knowledge and in training China's IPR human resource.  Premier Zhu said that, since assuming office as the Director General of WIPO, Dr. Idris had adopted a series of new measures with regard to reforming WIPO, promoting international cooperation and in particular, providing more technical assistance to developing countries, and that, Dr. Idiris had also actively promoted cooperation with China. Premier Zhu expressed his sincere appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Idris for his efforts and contributions in this regard.

Vice Premier Wen Jiabao inspected SIPO on June 4, 1999, during which he emphasized the necessity to further strengthen guidance in intellectual property work, perfect continuously relevant laws and regulations, effectively protect intellectual property rights pursuant to the law, amplify the law enforcement functions of local patent administrative authorities, intensify the force of law enforcement, and improve unceasingly work quality. He also pointed out that an IPR system needed to be established in China due to the following five reasons: 1) the IPR system was needed for establishing a socialist market economy, and was conducive to setting up a favorable market order and a market operation mechanism; 2). it was needed for achieving scientific progress and technological innovation, and was favorable to protecting inventions-creations, and to encouraging the creativity of technicians and researchers; 3). it was needed for building a socialist country ruled by law, and could help the construction of a sound legal system; 4). it was needed for carrying out the reform and opening up policy, and was conducive to expanding international exchange and cooperation; 5). it was needed for the construction of spiritual civilization, and was favorable to creating a social environment where knowledge, intellectuals and talents were respected.

On June 30, 1999, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), Peng Peiyun, inspected SIPO for conducting a research on patent law enforcement. She pointed out during her inspection tour, that in order to carry out the basic state policy of ruling the country by law and to further strengthen patent work, it was necessary and the right time to revise the patent law. She said, for revising the law, we should not only draw on the experience accumulated in the implementation of the patent law during past decades, but also ensure that the revisions were in harmony with international treaties and agreements.  She emphasized as well that every effort should be made to accelerate patent examination and grant and, to intensify administrative law enforcement.

On August 20, 1999, the "Decision on Strengthening Technological Innovation, Developing High Technology, and Promoting Industrialization " was promulgated by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council, the 13th clause of which emphasized the need to heighten intellectual property administration and protection in the process of technological innovation. It also set explicit and concrete requirements on how intellectual property work should be integrated into all aspects of technological innovation.

II. New Progress Were Made in Patent Work

In 1999, SIPO received a total of 134,239 applications in all three categories (patent, utility models and industrial designs), showing an increase of 12,250 or 10.0% over the precious year. Of these applications, 109,958 were domestic and 24,281 foreign ones, accounting for 81.9% and 18.1% of the total respectively. Among the total number of applications, 36,694 were for invention patents, 57,492 for utility models and 40,053 for industrial designs, accounting for 27.3%, 42.8% and 29.8% of the total respectively. And the amount of applications in the above three categories experienced an increase of 2.0%, 11.9% and 15.7% over 1998 respectively.

By 31 December, 1999, SIPO had received an accumulated number of 995,745 patent applications.

Of the domestic filings in 1999, 37,956 were service invention applications, accounting for 34.5% of the total. In contrast, 72,002 were non-service invention applications, accounting for 65.5% of the total. Among all domestic service invention applications filed in 1999, 52.9% were for invention patents and utility models while 47.1% were for industrial designs.

Between China's membership in the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 1994 and December 31, 1999, SIPO received a total of 1,021 international applications. In addition, SIPO received 1,038 international application search copies, of which 935 search reports were established. Moreover, 636 requests were received for international preliminary examination, of which 468 were completed. Of the international applications entering China's national phase, 43,621 filings were for invention patents and 15 for utility models.  In 1999 alone, SIPO received 223 international applications, 235 international application search copies, and established 298 search reports for international searching.  SIPO also received 193 requests for international preliminary examination, of which 138 were completed.  In 1999, 13,326 international applications for invention patents and two for utility models entered China's national phase.

In 1999, the number of patent applications filed by domestic industrial enterprises reached 32,636, a rise of 20.1% over the previous year.  The number of patent applications filed by domestic colleges and universities totaled 1,769, 22.4% higher than 1998.  Filings made by domestic scientific and research institutes amounted to 3,048, an increase of 6.5% over the previous year.

The top ten provinces and municipalities according to the quantity of domestic filings were in the following order: Guangdong, Shandong, Taiwan, Zhejiang, Beijing, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Shanghai, Sichuan and Henan.

By December 31, 1999, altogether 100 foreign countries and regions filed patent applications in China.  In 1999 the number was 66, five of which filed for the first time applications in China.  The newcomers were Samoa (12 applications), Kazakhstan (2 applications), Belize, Iran, Saint Christopher Island (1 application from each). In terms of the quantity of patent applications filed by foreign countries, the top ten were Japan, the United States, Germany, the Republic of Korea, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy, in that order.

In 1999, 100,156 patents were granted, 47.5% up over the previous year.  Among the granted patents, 7,637 were invention patents, an increase of 61.3% over the previous year; 56,368 were utility models and 36,151 industrial designs, 66.3% and 23.6% higher than 1998 respectively.

In 1999, 463 requests for reexamination were received, 141 more than the previous year, representing an increase of 44%.  Among them, 61 requests were made by those who were not satisfied with decisions on requests for revocation.  Of all the above requests, 369 (including those against decisions on requests for revocation) were related to invention patents, accounting for 80% of the total.  In 1999, 401 reexamination cases were closed, of which 217 were settled through revocation of the original decisions on rejection made by the examination department concerned as well as of decisions on requests for revocation, accounting for 54.1% of those concluded.

783 requests for invalidation were received in 1999 - 147 more than the previous year.  In the same year, totally 795 invalidation cases were handled and closed.  Among the cases closed with written decisions, 46.7% were declared invalid, 5.4% partially invalid, and 47.9% maintained their validity.  The number of cases closed by the Reexamination Board in 1999 exceeded the volume of requests for invalidation received in the same year.

In 1999, the revision of the Patent Law was listed in the 1999 Legislation Program of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council.  Accordingly SIPO worked out the first and second drafts of the revision in January and April 1999 respectively, after extensive solicitation of views and proposals from all circles of life, and then submitted them in June to the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council for further review and approval.  The purposes of revising the patent law were to keep the law in conformity with the socialist market economy, to fine-tune examination and grant procedures, to intensify the protection of patent rights, and to further harmonize the law with international treaties acceded to by China. 

While revising the patent law, preparation work for the amendment of the Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law was also undertaken.  After several rounds of discussions in SIPO, the first draft of amendments was completed at the end of 1999.

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 and Xiamen.  The promulgation and implementation of these regulations at local levels would help intensify administrative law enforcement and protect more effectively the legitimate rights and interests of patent holders.

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 through the arbitration by competent authorities, 338 or 52.5% through mediation, and 165 or 25.5% upon the withdrawal of the initial request and decision of closure.

In 1999, local patent administrative authorities investigated and handled 2,071 cases of passing-off patents.

March 15th is the International Consumers' Rights Protection Day. In order to severely crack down upon passing-off and counterfeiting acts, SIPO issued a circular on that day, calling for a nation-wide campaign for promoting IPR publicity and for fighting against 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" 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.
 

III. Marked Achievements Were Scored in Trademark Work

The year 1999 witnessed remarkable achievements in trademark registration and management. The Trademark Office received a total of 170,715 trademark applications for goods and service, an increase of 13,032 over that of 1998. Of this total number, 140,620 (or 82.4%) were domestic applications, 18,883 (or 11.1%) were from abroad, and 11,212 (or 6.5%) were made in conjunction of the territorial extension of international trademark registration in accordance with "Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks".

In 1999, the Trademark Office also received 34 applications for the registration of certification marks, 18 for collective marks and 126 for special marks.

Also in 1999, the Trademark Office totally examined 166,866 trademark applications, dealt with 21,480 applications for modification of registered trademarks, handled 15,237 applications for assignment of registered marks, renewed 8,692 registered trademarks, annulled and/or canceled 2,030 marks, recorded 12,000 trademark license contracts, and handled 3,144 requests for trademark oppositions.

The Trademark Office totally approved 122,401 applications for registration in the whole year of 1999. The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board received, in total, 6,332 applications of various kinds for review and adjudication, of which 4,887 consequent cases were concluded.

By the end of 1999, the total number of valid registered trademarks in China had reached 1,091,228, not only making China one of the top ten in the world in terms of the quantity of valid registered trademarks but foreboding a new stage of economic development in China.

In 1999, the Administrations for Industry and Commerce (AICs) at various levels throughout the country focused their work on the protection of the exclusive rights of trademarks by severely cracking down upon trademark-counterfeiting and infringement, thus effectively protecting the legitimate rights and interests of trademark registrants and consumers and further promoting the AICs' authority in administrative law enforcement. 32,298 trademark law-breaking cases of various kinds were investigated and handled across the country in year 1999, of which 16,938 related to trademark-infringement and counterfeiting and 15,360 were ordinary law-breaking cases. In the above cases, 206 million pieces/sets of trademark representations were seized and removed. 4,403 molds, plates and other equipment of offense as directly and exclusively used in the trademark infringement were confiscated. Totally 106 million RMB yuan fines were levied, about 5.717 million RMB Yuan were paid by infringers to compensate economic damages suffered by right holders, and most severely, 21 offenders were handed over to judicial organs for criminal prosecution. As compared with that of 1998, the number of trademark law-breaking cases handled, the amount of fines imposed and the volume of compensation paid for damages all experienced some increase in 1999.

In 1999, the Trademark Office under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce compiled and promulgated the "Catalogue for Protecting National Key Trademarks", providing intensified protection for 280 registered trademarks which were relatively well-known in the marketplace and were seriously infringed and counterfeited in more than two provincial-level administrative regions. Through cooperation between local AICs, 15 high-profile cases relating to infringement of famous trademarks such as "Maotai" and "Wahaha" were quickly investigated and handled strictly by law, granting severe penalties to infringers. The local AICs across the nation aggravated penalties over trademark-infringement and counterfeiting. In order to protect more effectively the legitimate rights and interests of trademark registrants, such as the registrants of registered trademarks "Rongsheng" and "Huili", the AICs in Zhejiang, Guangdong, Gansu and Jiangsu ordered by law a number of enterprises concerned to change their tradenames. The change properly settled the conflict between the registrants' trademarks and the enterprises' tradenames. The Guangzhou Municipal AIC adopted the practice "compensation first and fine later " when dealing with cases relating to infringement of famous and well-known trademarks. This practice effectively protected the interests of registrants.

In 1999, the AICs at various levels also investigated and handled conscientiously a batch of cases infringing the exclusive rights of foreign right holders' registered marks, effectively guarding their legitimate rights and interests, and further extending China's international influence in the field of trademark protection. A total of 1,810 foreign-related trademark-infringement and counterfeiting cases were investigated and handled in the whole year of 1999, with an increase of 550 cases or 43.65% over 1998. For instance, the Shantou Municipal AIC of Guangdong Province imposed a fine of 2 million RMB Yuan on the infringer who infringed trademarks "BARBIE" and  "MATTEL". The Tongzhou District Branch of Beijing Municipal AIC investigated and handled a major case, the circumstances of which were extremely severe. In this case, Nike and approximately other 10 famous brands for clothes were counterfeited, and as a result of handling, the infringer was levied a fine of over 400,000 RMB Yuan. The Chengdu Municipal AIC of Sichuan province signed an agreement on "anti-counterfeiting and protecting famous brands" with trademark registrants such as "PEPSI" and "OMO". The said AIC actively investigated and handled, on its own initiative, many foreign-related trademark-infringement and counterfeiting cases, and thus won high praise from right holders. The Kunming Municipal AIC of Yunnan Province seized a karaoke club in Kunming city that named after the trademark "Rolls-Royce". As a result, the club's misuse of the famous brand was ceased and the exclusive right of the brand guaranteed.  

For making comprehensive preparations for the revision of the Trademark Law, the SAIC set up a special working group at the beginning of 1999. Besides, symposiums were held and special reports on the revision were written, so as to solicit opinions and proposals from all walks of life. And consequently, unanimity was reached regarding the law revision. Furthermore, experiences of foreign countries in the field of trademark protection and legislation were also drawn upon through overseas study visits and translation of a large amount of foreign trademark-related legal materials.  To date, the revision of the Trademark Law was underway in an orderly manner.  Meanwhile, the SAIC and the Trademark Office also attached importance to the formulation of relevant regulations and rules regarding trademark protection. They had promulgated consecutively "Regulations on Administration of Trademark Agency", "Proposals on Issues Related to Trademark Administrative Law Enforcement", "Proposals on Settling the Conflict between Trademarks and Enterprises' Tradenames", and "Proposals on Issues Related to Protection of Service Marks", all of which laid a legal basis for standardizing business behaviors of trademark agencies, handling difficult trademark cases and preliminarily settling the conflict between trademarks and enterprises' tradenames. Some AICs at provincial level, based upon the local needs and conditions, took an active part in the legislation of local trademark-related regulations. Hebei, Anhui, Jiangsu, Shandong and other provinces worked out and promulgated "Regulations" or "Measures" with regard to the identification and protection of famous trademarks, which provided a solid legal basis for strengthening local trademark administration.

IV. The Copyright Protection System Was Further Improved and the Protection of Copyright Amplified

In 1999, the nationwide copyright administrations further perfected the copyright protection framework and continued to strengthen the protection of copyright. The amount of copyright cases received by the copyright administrations at various levels kept increasing, while the rate of conclusion rose sharply. In copyright business, different types of copyright trade turned to be more booming and the capabilities of importing copyrighted works from abroad became higher, indicating the coming of a new stage of fast economic development in China. Besides, the number of works that were registered also increased, more than any past year, showing that the public awareness of copyright self-protection had been improved gradually.

In 1999, eight provinces and cities, namely Shanghai, Chongqing, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Guangdong, Guizhou, Anhui and Jilin, established anti-piracy alliances at their own respective locality. The alliances played an active part in combating piracy and protecting the interests of right holders, provided experiences for the establishment of anti-piracy alliances in other areas, and also paved the way for the National Copyright Administration (NCAC) to establish a national anti-piracy alliance.

In 1999, the copyright administrations at various levels received and handled a total of 1,616 cases, resolving 1,515 (or 93.75%) of them. Among all the above cases, 1,059 were concluded by the imposition of fines, 463 were handled through mediation and 39 were transferred to judicial authorities. The top five regions that received and concluded the most cases were Shanghai, Guangxi, Hebei, Heilongjiang and Sichuan.

Also during 1999, the local copyright administrations severely cracked down upon piracy and confiscated about 20.52 million pirated works of different kinds, of which 14.13 million were pirated books, 220,000 were pirated software, 4.058 million consisted of pirated audio-visual products and electronic publications, and 1.59 million other pirated products. The top five regions where most pirated works were seized were Zhejiang, Hunan, Guangdong, Hubei, and Shanghai.

In 1999, the trade of copyrighted books enjoyed drastic growth in China. Publishing houses throughout the country totally imported 6,461 types of copyrighted works and exported about 418 types of works. The number of imported works increased 18.14%, as compared with that of 1998, and was also the highest over years. The five regions most active in import were Beijing, Shanghai, Liaoning, Jiangsu and Guangxi; while the most active regions in export were Beijing, Guangxi, Hunan, Shandong, and Anhui.

The National Copyright Administration provided more guidance and service to the copyright trade. In April 1999, the NCAC held the First National Workshop on Copyright Trade, at which the participants summed up and exchanged experiences in the copyright trade since 1994. Shanghai, Tianjing, Beijing, Shaanxi, Jiangsu, Henan and other provinces and cities also summarized the local work for copyright trade and exchanged experience through all kinds of ways. In addition, Shanghai municipality sponsored " 1999 Shanghai Copyright Licensing Fair ", the most successful one up to date in terms of scale and achievements among the same kind of fairs held by local copyright administrations.

In the field of copyrighted TV program trade, China TV Program Agent Corporation exported in 1999 192 programs of various kinds, consisting of 5,674 parts and lasting for 4,635.5 hours. In trade related to electronic publications, software, and other works, 348 contracts for importing electronic publications were registered with the NCAC; the number of such contacts for software was 1070, and that for magazines was 10.

In the field of copyright registration, a total of 4,791 works were registered with the local copyright administrations and the Copyright Protection Center of China (also called China Software Registration Center) in 1999, of which 2,504 were works of fine arts and photographic works, 515 were literary works, and 1,401 were pieces of software. The top five regions with the most registered works were Guangdong, Jiangsu, Fujian, Shanghai and Beijing.

According to the restructuring plan of the State Council, the responsibilities used to be undertaken by the NCAC, such as copyright authentication, registration of foreign-related contracts for audio-visual products, and registration of overseas works, were smoothly transferred to the Copyright Protection Center of China (CPCC), and started to be performed by the Center.

In 1999, the CPCC reached an agreement with the China Authors' Association on the use of literary works. As a result, a collective management institution for copyrighted literary works would be established soon.

In 1999, the NCAC successively promulgated "Regulations on Author's Remuneration for Published Literary Works", new samples for the   "Publication Contract", "Sample Documents Used in Copyright Administrative Penalties" and so on. These new regulations, which embodied the needs of the socialist market economy and abode by the principle of performing administrative function by law, provided more guidance to the nationwide copyright work, thus being well received among authors and users of copyrighted works.

In 1999, the National People's Congress conducted nationwide survey and researches on the revision of the Copyright Law and organized repeatedly discussions and symposiums, so as to collect opinions and suggestions from all circles of life. These activities won extensive support.

V. The Customs Administration Continued to Intensify IPR Protection

In 1999, the customs offices across China continued to implement earnestly the "Regulations for the Protection of Intellectual Property by Customs". Effective border measures were also adopted for IPR protection and remarkable achievements were scored. In 1999 a total of 225 IPR infringement and piracy cases were investigated and handled, involving a value of 92.02 million RMB Yuan. Of the 225 cases whose total goods value was 74.7% higher than that of last year, 178 (worth 61.98 million RMB) were related to trademark-infringement, 5 (750,000 RMB) to patent and 42 (29.29 million RMB) to copyright. 

In 1999, the customs also made significant achievements in cracking down on smuggling of pirated CDs. In total, 20.14 million pirated CDs were seized.  In the second half of June, the customs office in Shenzhen consecutively confiscated 1.9 million and 2.7 million CDs.  On October 1, the customs office in Gongbei seized 4.4 million smuggling pirated CDs.  The above achievements demonstrated the unswerving resolve of the Chinese customs to combat piracy and protect IPR.

IPR protection by the Customs Administration maintained the legitimate interests of IPR holders from both home and abroad and guaranteed orderly operation of foreign trade, thus winning high remarks from IPR holders from all walks of life.  By the end of 1999, the General Customs Administration had ratified 1,622 IPR records, of which 64.9% was from the mainland right holders, and 35.1% from the overseas (inclusive of Hong Kong SAR and Taiwan Province) including 303 records or 18.7% from the United States.

In 1999, the customs offices across the nation established competent IPR authorities and fine-tuned the rules for implementation of IPR protection. They also intensified the force of cracking down upon infringement and piracy by improving risk analysis, enhancing supervision of suspected infringing goods, establishing close relationship with IPR holders, and fulfilling their duties strictly by law.  Other than pirated CDs, the infringing goods that were seized by the customs offices across the country consisted mostly of textiles, clothing, sneakers and other light industrial products.  Customs in Shenzhen and Xiamen repeatedly confiscated sportswear and sneakers that infringed registered trademarks, such as NBA, Nike, Adidas and Reebok.  In April 1999, a company declared to Xiamen Customs for exporting a batch of jackets. However, the declared goods were later proven after check to be 94,400 pieces of passing-off Nike and Adidas shorts, worth of 500,000 RMB yuan.  In August 1999, a company declared to Shanghai customs for exporting 100% cotton T-shirts worthy of $55,000. These products were later found to be counterfeit Adidas T-shirts.        

In March 1999, when checking a batch of rag toys, which were declared to be exported to the United States, Huangpu customs disclosed that four kinds of toys, totaling 15,000 toys in 48 boxes were suspected of infringing the copyright of "Beanie Babies", owned by  the United States-based TY Co. Ltd. With the evidence provided by the right holder, the seized goods were proven to constitute infringement.

In 1999, Shenzhen customs consecutively seized large loads of exported cigarettes counterfeiting the trademark "Marlboro".  From August to September, the customs found that goods declared as recorders and Christmas trees were actually cigarettes bearing the trademark "Marlboro". As a result, five containers were confiscated, in which 256,450 bars of cigarettes in 5120 boxes were stored.  The right holder of Marlboro, the United States-based Philip Morris later identified the goods as counterfeiting.    

VI. The Administration of the Audio-Visual Market Was Increasingly Strengthened

In 1999, the administration of audio-visual (AV) market placed its focus on "rectification and standardization", with targets at protecting IPR, combating smuggling and piracy, and promoting production and circulation of legitimate products. Consequently, new progress was made in further improvement of regulations and rules, law enforcement, structural reform and promotion of public awareness of anti-piracy.

On April 30, 1999, the Ministry of Culture and the General Customs Administration jointly promulgated the No. 17 Order "Administrative Measures on Import of Audio-Visual Products.  Under the principle of stiffening procedures, standardizing import, streamlining formalities, and promoting efficiency, the Measures unified procedures and standards for  examining the import of AV products, provided a legal basis for shunning unhealthy cultural products from abroad, and enhanced the protection of IPR in AV products from foreign countries and regions.  In September, the Ministry of Culture promulgated the "Circular on Certification of Audio-Visual Products Import Entities".  A first batch of 28 AV product publishing and distribution entities, which had strong resources, proper market conduct and good credibility, were approved to import artistic and literary AV products.  The legal representatives of these entities were trained on relevant regulations.  The certification of AV products import companies was conducive not only to allocating resources and pushing forward the restructuring of AV industry but to protecting legitimate rights and interests of overseas copyright holders.  

In 1999, more efforts were devoted and drastic measures taken to fight against smuggling and piracy across the country. In Beijing, the competent authorities organized 1,750 checks, during which 3,489 places were checked, 603 cases were put on file for investigation and prosecution, 1.29 million pirated products were confiscated, 6 entities' licenses were revoked, and 5 other entities suspended their business operation and started rectification.  In Guangdong, 66,000 people/ times were checked, totally 45,000 shops were combed, 6,750 shops engaged in illegal AV product business were investigated and punished, 196 illegal businesses were shut down, 2 AV product distributing centers were closed, 1,978 suspects were seized and 43.782 million pirated CDs were confiscated.  In Chongqing, 800 entities engaged in illegal business were shut down, 7 AV product-distributing centers were closed and 350,000 pirated CDs were confiscated.

In October 1999, the Ministry of Culture launched a special nationwide campaign against VCD piracy with the nature of organized crime and severely cracked down upon approximately 30 producers who made series of pirated VCDs, such as Gold Warner, Kinglong Films, Sun Elite and Top Global Films. Pirated VCDs seized in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Beijing, Yunnan, Shandong and Jiangsu exceeded 100,000 pieces respectively.  During this special campaign, a total of 3.164 million pirated VCDs were confiscated in various localities, significantly narrowing the market occupancy by pirated VCDs. 

In March 1999, the Ministry of Culture issued the "Circular on Rectifying and Cleaning Up Audio-Visual Distributing Centers", according to which 162 AV distributing centers across the nation were rectified, and concrete targets were set for various localities to realize in 1999 and 2000.  Authorities in Chongqing, Shanghai, Guizhou and Guangdong attached importance to the Circular and consequently closed down all or most of the AV product distributing centers. While removing, shutting down and limiting the AV distributing centers which were poorly managed and out of order due to unrestricted leasing, the Ministry of Culture absorbed foreign experience in developing the AV industry, energetically supported the establishment of large-scale AV product supermarkets, chain and franchised shops in the country, and made efforts to open up new markets and expand vivosphere for genuine AV products.  By the end of 1999, due to more favorable market environment, many AV product publishers had taken a positive approach towards the market by investing more and taking faster pace in publication, so as to fill in the market vacancy left by pirated products.

From June 13 to 19, the "First Anti-Piracy Publicity Week" was held, the theme of which was " illegal to sell pirated products, harmful to use them".  Various publicity activities were carried out throughout the country, such as random checks, public destruction of pirated products, distribution of publicity materials, inquiry service, hanging up publicity slogans, entertainment performance, and recommendation of legitimate products.  Provincial or municipal leaders in Guangdong, Jilin, Hebei and Chongqing participated in the above anti-piracy publicity activities.  In Chongqing, 20,000 publicity pamphlets were printed and distributed, such as "An Introduction to Anti-Piracy in Chongqing's AV Product Market" and "Detriments of Illegal AV Products and Measures to Identify Them". Besides, over 800 large-scale slogans were made, and 80-hour publicity program was broadcasted on radio and TV stations.  All these significantly enhanced the public awareness of anti-piracy in Chongqing.  Zhejiang, Ninxia and Qinghai explored the feasibility of granting "No-Piracy Model Shop" to well-mannered AV shops.  Taking advantage of the publicity drive, authorities in Shanghai, Jiangsu and other places fully adopted the system for monitoring illegal acts in AV business as well as the public display system, which facilitated the public supervision of piracy. In addition, the said authorities mobilized the mass to contribute to anti-piracy drive. In Guangdong, 11 on-the-spot public meetings for destroying illegal AV products were organized, at which a total of 1.3 million pirated CDs were destroyed.           

The Ministry of Culture specifically edited and published the "Manual for Administration of AV Product Market" and the "Guide to Business Operation and Management of AV Products", the later stored on VCDs. Moreover, the Ministry provided materials and textbooks for training activities organized across the country.  In various localities, different kinds of professional and legal training were sponsored, aiming at promoting local administrative staff's quality of law enforcement and AV business manager's awareness of legal operation. 

VII. Public Security Organs Scored Remarkable Achievements in IPR Law Enforcement

According to statistics, in 1999, the public security organs at various levels across the nation investigated and handled 49,000 cases concerning the production and sales of pirated and pornographic products, captured 72,000 offenders, confiscated 73.5 million pirated discs/books and seized 6 illegal disc production lines.

On October 4, 1999, the Security Division of Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department and Shunde Police jointly launched a raid on a den for illegal production of discs, situated within a plastic factory in Daliang Town, Shunde City, during which an active illegal disc production line was seized, 973 master discs and 9,000 CDs were confiscated, and 11 offenders were captured.  On December 27, the same Security Division, assisted by Shenzhen Police, seized one illegal disc production line, 19 master discs and 24,000 CDs, and captured 5 suspects in Tangtou Village of Shiyan Town, Baoan District of Shenzhen.  By setting up checkpoints and combing markets, the public security organs also tracked down and handled many cases concerning the production and sales of pirated and pornographic products, and smashed a number of dens for illegal production of discs.  On April 8, Shanghai Police seized 50,000 pirated CDs on the K100 train from Hong Kong to Shanghai, and captured 2 suspects.  On September 22, Guangzhou Police raided "Liyi AV Packaging Factory" in Baiyun District, suspected of stashing pirated CDs. In the raid, the police seized 1 million pirated CDs and 3 offenders.

In 1999, along with press and publishing administrations and AICs, the public security organs cleaned up local printing business.  On May 7, led by informed source, Liaoning Police seized over 10 kinds of pirated and pornographic books, worthy of 610,000 RMB yuan, from the Printing House under Liaoning Provincial Science and Technology Information Institute.  According to incomplete statistics, the public security organs at various levels investigated and punished 4,850 printing houses engaged in illegal printing activities.  By strengthening the management of non-local residents and house renting and by stiffening security check, the public security organs at various levels constantly reinforced management of publishing markets, and thus handled many cases concerning the production, sales of pirated and pornographic products.  The public security organs in Hubei, Henan and other places carried out checks on publishing markets and rented private houses, and captured many offenders selling illegal publications.  From May 26 to 31, Beijing Police combed such areas as Zhongguancun and Asian Games Village, captured 27 roving peddlers and seized 10,400 pirated CDs.  During the operation, Beijing Police, in cooperation with Hubei Police, knocked off a den that targeted its sale of illegal publications towards Beijing, in a market in Sanhe City, Hebei, and seized 45,000 illegal publications.

VIII. "Regulations of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants" Was Formally Implemented

On March 23, 1999, the Chinese governmental delegation deposited in Geneva the instrument of accession to the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). Consequently, China became a member state of the Union on 23 April, 2000.

On April 23, 1999, China implemented the "Regulations of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants" (hereinafter called Regulations), and began to receive applications for new variety rights of plants.

According to the agreed division of responsibilities undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Forestry Administration for the protection of new varieties of plants, the Ministry of Agriculture was  responsible for receiving and examining applications for new variety rights of grains, cotton, oil, hemp, mulberries, tea, sugar, vegetables, edible fungi, tobacco, fruit trees (juicy fruit trees), herbaceous medicinal materials, herbaceous ornamental plants, grass, rubber, green manure.  While the State Forestry Administration was authorized to receive and examine applications for new variety rights of forest trees, bamboo, xyloid vine, ornamental woody plants, fruit trees (dry fruit trees), woody oil-bearing, beverage plants, condiment plants, woody medicinal materials.

In 1999, the Ministry of Agriculture formulated and promulgated the implementing rules of the Regulations (agricultural part) as well as the list of protected botanical genera and species of plants (the first batch), including rice, maize, Chinese cabbage, potato, cymbidium goeringii- rchb.f., chrusanthemum L., dianthus L., Gladiolus L., Lucerne and Kentucky blue grass.  The State Forestry Administration also worked out and issued the implementing rules of the Regulations (forestry part) and the list of 8 protected botanical genera and species of plants (first batch), including Populus tomentosa Carr., Paulownia, Cunninghamnia Lanceolata, Magnolia, Paeonia suffruticosa Andr., Prunus mume, Rosa, Camellia. 

By December 31, 1999, the Ministry of Agriculture had received 115 applications for variety rights, among which 15 applications were for rice, 95 for maize, 4 for Chinese Cabbage, and 1 for potato. Among all these applications, 64 applications were filed by scientific research institutes, 4 by teaching organizations, 39 by enterprises, 2 by individuals, and 6 jointly by research, teaching institutions and enterprises. After preliminary examination of 67 applications, 66 that met the requirements of the Regulations were published, and the remnant one was deemed as withdrawn. 

By December 31, 1999, the State Forestry Administration received 109 applications for variety rights, 6 of which were for forest trees, and 103 were for ornamental woody plants.

After examination, 6 applications for triploid of populus tomentosa, including the "San Mao Yang No. 1" of the Beijing Forestry University, were granted the plant variety rights on December 29, 1999.  These were the first group of plant variety rights granted by the State Forestry Administration, and also the first batch of applications for such rights received.

In 1999, the Reference Collection and Storage Center for the Propagating Materials of New Varieties of Agricultural Plants was established by the Ministry of Agriculture.  The Center was mainly responsible for testing quantity and quality of the propagating materials submitted by applicants and for depositing the said materials. In addition, the Center should also provide, according to the requirements of the examining authority, relevant testing institutions with propagating materials for testing purpose.

The Ministry of Agriculture designated the Beijing Zhongnonghengda Plant Variety Right Agency Ltd. as the first agency for handing affairs related to plant variety right.  Since the implementation of the Regulations, the agency had received 109 applications for plant variety rights.

In 1999, the Measures Regarding the Management of Reference Collection and Storage Center for the Propagating Materials of New Varieties of Agricultural Plants and the Measures Regarding the Administration of Agricultural Plant Variety Rights Agency were formulated to define the responsibilities of the center and agency and to strengthen the supervision and control over the aforementioned organizations.

In 1999, the Ministry of Agriculture started to publish the Gazette on the Protection of New Plant Varieties, and organized the compilation of "Basics for the Protection of New Plant Varieties".  The compilation and the dissemination of those publications promoted public awareness of the importance of new plant variety protection and facilitated the implementation of the Regulations.

In May 1999, the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Forestry Administration, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the UPOV jointly organized an international symposium on "Technology Innovation and Plant Variety Protection" in both Kunming and Beijing. Symposium participants from various countries held profound discussions, with a focus on "the protection of new plant variety in the context of technology innovation".

In July 1999, the Ministry of Agriculture invited a French expert to lecture on the establishment and development of the new variety protection system in France, the management framework for seeds, the relationship among variety protection, variety registration and seed trade, as well as the testing technologies applied in new variety protection.

In August 1999, the State Forestry Administration organized a training course for agents on protection of forest plant new varieties.  About 62 trainees from local forestry administrations and law firms throughout 26 provinces (regions and cities) attended the course.

IX. International Exchange and Cooperation Were Further Expanded

Between January 26 and 28, 1999, Dr. Kamil Idris, the Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and his delegation , paid an official visit to China at the invitation of SIPO.  It was Dr. Idris' first trip to China after he took the position as the Director General of WIPO.  President Jiang Zeming met with him and his entourage on January 27, 1999.

From September 19 to 29, 1999, the Chinese governmental delegation, headed by Commissioner Jiang Ying of SIPO, attended the 34th Series of Meeting of the Assembly of the Member States of WIPO.  On behalf of the Chinese delegation, Commissioner Jiang delivered a speech, in which she gave a comprehensive introduction to latest developments in intellectual property work in China, reiterated the Chinese government's firm stand on and policies for reform, opening up, and IPR protection, and expressed the wish to further develop friendly relationship and cooperation with WIPO as well as other countries. Also at the Assembly, Commissioner Jiang was elected as the Vice-Chairman of the session on Locarno Agreement Establishing An International Classification for Industrial Designs.  The Assembly also reviewed and unanimously approved the Chinese delegation's motion regarding adoption of the Chinese text of Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.  At the Assembly, the Chinese delegation also put forward another motion concerning the establishment of " World Intellectual Property Day", which won enthusiastic support from many countries.

In October 1999, the "International Symposium on Intellectual Property and Knowledge-Based Economy" was jointly organized by WIPO and SIPO in Beijing. On 13, October 1999, Premier Zhu Rongji met with Dr.Idirs and his entourage in Ziguangge in Zhongnanhai.

In 1999, SIPO continued to deepen bilateral cooperation with Japan, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, U.S.A., Germany, Britain, France, Sweden, Austria, Russia, Bulgaria and European Patent office (EPO).  Moreover, new cooperative activities were also initiated under the EU-China Intellectual Property Cooperation Project (the working plan for year 2000 was already approved).

On November 8, 1999, the Intellectual Property Protection Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan was concluded.  SIPO's Commissioner Jiang Ying and Uzbeckstanian Vice Premier signed the Agreement on behalf of their respective governments.

In October 1999, SIPO, together with representatives from the State Forestry Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture, attended the 40th session of the Administrative and Legal committee, the 58th session of the Consultative Committee, and the 33rd ordinary session of the Permanent Council.

In November 1999, SIPO successfully organized a Sino-U.S. intellectual property enforcement exchange programme in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.  The exchange programme deepened American participants' understanding of intellectual property enforcement and protection in China.  Related Chinese institutions responsible for intellectual property enforcement also learned some advanced experience in enforcement from their American counterparts.  Both parties unanimously agreed that further exchange and cooperation in the future was necessary and would benefit the promotion of enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights on both sides.

From March 23 to 25, 1999, the "WIPO Asian Regional Intellectual Property and Information Technology Symposium", was co-organized by SIPO and WIPO and held in Beijing.  Representatives from 18 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and WIPO attended the symposium.  Representatives from related domestic departments also attended.  Symposium subjects included: implication of modern information technology on the intellectual property system and the specific features, the challenges and opportunities facing developing countries deriving from the WIPO net, information technologies and the global net environment.

In 1999, the Trademark Office under the SAIC received 51 foreign delegations, including those respectively headed by the WIPO Director General Dr. Kamil Idris, Mr. Gean-Claude Combaldieu, Director General of the European Community Trademark Office, Mr. Takeshi Isayama, Commissioner of the Japanese Patent Office, Mr. Piphat Inparasupht, Director General of the Department of Intellectual Property of Thailand.  In the same year, 30 delegations were sent abroad by the Trademark Office, of which 6 delegations attended respectively the 34th Series of Meeting of the Assembly of the Member States of WIPO, the session meeting of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademark, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications, Preparatory Meeting for the Nice Union and other related meetings; 6 visited countries and regions such as Switzerland, Germany, Japan, EU, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Nigeria, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; and 17 participated in training courses and symposiums organized in Japan, Benelux, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Thailand, India, South Africa, Bangladesh and other countries.  Through extensive international exchange and cooperation, China could draw upon advanced experience of other countries in trademark protection, publicized the nation's legal system for trademark protection and, expanded China's influence in the international IPR community.

In 1999, China continued to strengthen its cooperation and exchange in the field of copyright with international organizations such as WIPO, and with other countries.  The 34th Series of Meeting of the Assembly of the Member States of WIPO approved the motion regarding adoption of the Chinese text of the Berne Convention.

In April 1999, the Commissioner of the National Copyright Administration, Mr. Yu Youxian, paid an official visit to WIPO headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland, at the invitation of Dr. Kamil Idiris, Director General of WIPO. The Chinese copyright delegations also visited respectively Russia, Germany and France.  China also promoted its friendly relationship with Russia, Thailand and other countries in the field of copyright.

In October 1999, the "Asian Regional Symposium on Copyright and Collective Management of Related Rights", as well as the "WIPO National Seminar on Collective management of Copyright" were co-sponsored by WIPO and NCAC, and held in Kunming city. Moreover, in the same month, a "Symposium on Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Era" was co-organized by NCAC and UNESCO in Beijing.

 

2002-03-06