China's Intellectual Property Protection in 2005

In 2005, a noticeably great improvement was achieved in the field of intellectual property (IP) in China. Three kinds of patent applications accepted by the State Intellectual Property Office (the SIPO) amounted to more than 470 thousand, and the trademark registration applications accepted by Trademark Office under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (the TMO) were more than 830 thousand. Vigorous reinforcement was made in copyright protection. Prominent effects were obtained in IP customs protection. The public security authorities and the cultural administrations comprehensively launched special campaigns. The protection of new varieties of plants was being perfected. IP judicial protection was strengthened thoroughly. The international exchange and cooperation in IP issues were observed increasingly frequent.

I. The Government of China Regarding IP as the National Strategy

IP has become increasingly important with social and economic development of the country. Hu Jintao, Secretary General of the CPC Central Committee, highlighted in the Fifth Plenary Session of the 16th Party's National Congress in October, 2005 that we should implement various policies to inspire independent innovation, should enhance the protection for property rights especially for intellectual property rights (IPRs), should improve the credit service and financing environment for high and new technology enterprises, should accelerate the development of risk investment for carving out, and should construct a sound environment for independent innovation and the industrialization of scientific and technological achievements.

On March 28, State Council Premier Wen Jiabao issued in the State Science and Technology Awarding Congress, ¡°Only by owning strong scientific and technological innovation capabilities and independent IPRs, could we elevate our country's international competitiveness and obtain respectful international status and dignity from others. Increasing independent innovation capability shall be the national strategy that is integrated into every aspect of modernization, every industry, business and region, trying to enable the country to be an innovation-oriented country with an international impact.¡±

On October 8, Premier Wen Jiabao pointed out in the Explanation about the Proposal on the Eleventh Five-year Program on National Economy and Social Development, ¡°It is of particular importance to underline IP protection. IP protection has significant impact on encouraging independent innovation, optimizing environment for innovation and reducing IP disputes with foreign countries. We should improve IP protection system and strengthen IP enforcement protection.¡±

In order to comprehensively enhance the IP work and regard the creation, protection and application of IPRs as a crucial issue for the country's social and economic development, in January 2005, the State Council set up the National IP Strategy Formulating Working Group, with Vice-premier Wu Yi as Chairman and more than 20 heads from the State Council's departments including the SIPO as its members. On June 30, 2005, Vice-premier Wu Yi held the first meeting of the leading group which indicated the formal initiation of the formulation of the National IP Strategy. Vice-premier Wu noted at the meeting, ¡°Formulating the National IP Strategy is the objective requirement posed by the opening-up policy and social and economic development. It is an urgent task for us to positively meet the challenge of the rapidly-changing international IP trends and to protect the national interests and economic security. It is also good to accelerate the establishment of a sound and fair market environment and to improve independent innovation capability and crucial competitive edge for our country.¡± Wu also stressed, ¡°The formulation of the National IP Strategy should insist the government's leading role. It should be coordinated with other related national development strategies and plans and be harmonized with related laws, regulations and policies. We should take the whole situation into account and deal with various important relations and should endeavor to reflect the characteristics of China, going along with times, seeking the truth and innovating.¡±

The National IP Strategy is composed of the core outline and 20 themes including the National Patent Strategy and is estimated to be concluded within one and a half year.

On March 17, Mr. Jiang Zhenghua, Vice Chairman of Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, visited the SIPO, fully affirming what the office had achieved in the past. Vice Chairman Jiang pointed out at the same time that we should push the enhancement of our country's innovation capability through the IP work, should strengthen studies on the utilization of IP system, and should continue to reinforce and improve the IP legislation.

In mid-November, the State council launched the supervision on the special campaign in IP protection which was initiated from August 2004. The supervision was under the charge of the office of the Lead Group of IP Protection of the State Council and led by deputies from related departments including the Ministry of Public Security (the MPS), the Ministry of Culture (the MOC), the General Administration for Customs of China (the GACC), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (the SAIC), the National Copyright Administration (the NCAC), the SIPO and so on. Seven groups respectively undertook a one-month inspection in 15 important areas (for instance Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin) by means of check in the open and inspection in secret, random selective examination and immediate interview. The supervision conscientiously fulfilled the requirements of strengthening IP enforcement protection.

II. High-speed Increase in Patent Applications, Steady Development in Every Task

In 2005, in order to further consummate the system of the patent laws and regulations, the SIPO conducted its preparatory research on the third amendment of the Patent Law and the amendment of the Guidelines for Examination. Meanwhile, the Methods on Compulsory Licensing of Patents related to Public Health was issued which provided a more comprehensive legal support to the possible problems occurring in compulsory licensing of patents related to public health.

In 2005, a total of 476,264 patent applications were accepted by the SIPO, an increase of 34.6% over 353,807 of the previous year. 2,438 international patent applications were accepted by the SIPO. And the SIPO received 446 requests for international preliminary examination and completed 662 international preliminary examination reports as well. By December 31, 2005, a total of 2,761,189 patent applications had been accepted by the SIPO. Of these applications, 2,257,515 were from domestic applicants and 503,674 were from overseas applicants, respectively accounting for 81.8% and 18.2% of the total.

The patent applications in 2005 were featured by the following facts: (1) On the basis of the past five year's successive increase with annual increase rate over 20%, the increase rate of the three kinds of patent applications, which numbered 34.6%, was the highest in the past 18 years. (2) The annual increase rate of domestic applications was 13% higher than that of foreign applications. The former was 37.4%, 13% higher than the latter, which was 24.4%. (3) The increase rate of domestic invention patent applications was higher than that of foreign invention patent applications. The former was 42.1%, 18% higher than the latter, which was 24.1%. And the domestic invention applications numbered 93,485, 17.1% higher than that of the foreign applications, which numbered 79,842.

In 2005, 214,003 patents were granted by the SIPO, an increase of 12.5% over 190,238 of the previous year. Among the total granted patents, 171,619 were from domestic applicants, an increase of 13.4% over 151,328 of the previous year, and 42,384 were from overseas applicants, an increase of 8.9% over 38,910 of the previous year.

By December 31, 2005, the total patents had been granted by the SIPO were 1,469,502. Of these granted patents, 1,264,887 were from domestic applicants and 204,615 were from overseas applicants, respectively accounting for 86.1% and 13.9% of the total granted patents.

In 2005, a total of 3,230 requests for patent re-examination were accepted by the SIPO showing an increase of 462 or 16.7% over the previous year. Of all the above requests, 3,202 were related to those against decisions of the examination department rejecting the applications for invention patents and those against decisions on requests for revocation, accounting for 99.13% of the total. 1,576 re-examination request cases were concluded in 2005, and 4,215 were pending until the end of 2005. In 2005, 2,087 requests were filed for the patent invalidation, 183 more than that of 2004, representing an increase of 9.6%. 1,643 cases were concluded in 2005, and 2,261 cases were pending until the end of 2005.

In 2005, patent administration departments at provincial levels across the country accepted 1,313 patent infringement cases and 284 other kinds of disputation cases. They also dealt with 362 cases of unauthorized use of others' patents and 2,808 cases of patent counterfeits. In the year, local patent administration departments dispatched 28,522 enforcing administrator times, checked 10,660 commercial premises and 8,918,943 pieces of goods. Also in this year, 15 cases were transferred to the public security authorities, 23 cases were accepted from other departments and 1,534 times of coordinated enforcement with other departments were launched.

In 2005, 269 applications for the registration of layout design of integrated circuits were received by the SIPO, an increase of 10.2% over the 244 of the previous year. 263 of them were registered and issued related public notices as well as certificates, an increase of 28.3% over 205 of the previous year. By December 31, 2005, the SIPO had received a total of 963 applications for registration of layout design of integrated circuits, and 846 of them were published and issued certificates.

III. Remarkable Progresses in Trademark Protection, Solid Achievements in Special Campaigns

In 2005, all kinds of trademark related applications had a continuous and substantive growth in China and amounted to 838 thousand, an increase of 76 thousand or 10% over 762 thousand of 2004. The number of trademark registration applications broke through 600 thousand after the number of 2002, 2003, and 2004 respectively exceeded the key marks of 300 thousand, 400 thousand and 500 thousand, and came to 664 thousand. An increase of 76 thousand or 13% over 588 thousand of 2004 was reached. The number of applications for all kinds of trademark and trademark registration had maintained the first place of the world during the past four years. By the end of 2005, China had had 4.22 million trademark registration applications.

In 2005, 664,017 trademark applications covering both goods and services were accepted by the TMO. Overseas trademark applications added up to 70,635 accounting for 10.63% of the total number, with an increase of 17% than that of 2004. The number of the applications exceeded 70 thousand for the first time (18,469 therein were Madrid applications for territorial extension).

In 2005, 28,956 registered trademark renew applications, 15,107 registered trademark opposition applications, 52,499 registered trademark change applications, 51,645 registered trademark assignment applications, 6,007 registered trademark revocation & cancellation applications, 16,678 registered trademark licensing contract record applications were accepted by the TMO.

In the year, there were 312,031 trademark registration applications examined and 258,532 applications approved by the TMO. A total of 39,991 registered trademark change applications, 37,169 registered trademark assignment applications, 24,346 registered trademark renew applications, 42,094 registered trademark revocation & cancellation applications, 2,699 trademark opposition adjudication applications, 13,490 registered trademark licensing contract on record applications were transacted.

In 2005, 177 well-known trademarks were granted by the TMO and the Trademark Review & Adjudication Board of the State Administration for Industry & Commerce (the TRAB). Of these well-known trademarks, 136 were certified in the trademark management cases and 15 were in the registered trademark opposition cases (including one Madrid trademark international registration opposition case) by the TMO, and 26 were certified in the cases of disputes over ownership of trademark by the TRAB. 166 well-known trademarks were attained by Chinese enterprises (including 2 enterprises from Hong Kong) and 11 by brand-names of foreign enterprises.

In 2005, there were 11,228 trademark review applications received by the TRAB. Of these applications, 8,753 were filed for review of dismission of trademark registration application, accounting for 77.96% of the total; 276 were filed for review of cancellation of registered trademark, accounting for 2.46% of the total; 935 were filed for review of trademark opposition adjudication, accounting for 8.33% of the total; 1,264 were filed for review of adjudication on disputation over registered trademark, accounting for 11.25% of the total. Through the past year, there were 4,594 trademark review and/or adjudication cases handled by the TRAB. Of these handled cases, 4,050 were filed for review of dismission of trademark registration application and cancellation of registered trademark, accounting for 88% of the total; 544 were filed for review of trademark opposition adjudication and adjudication on disputation over registered trademark, accounting for 12% of the total. In the year, the TRAB acted as a party in 171 administrative litigations of first instance, as well as 86 administrative litigations of second instance.

Various levels of administrations for industry & commerce across the country further strengthened trademark administrative enforcement. A series of serious trademark related cases, which endangered the lives of the people, damaged the interests of the country, and disarranged the economic order of the society, were completely investigated and disposed. According to the statistics, 49,412 trademark violation related cases covering different categories were investigated and dealt with by various levels of administrations for industry & commerce across the country. Of these cases, 6,770 were foreigner-related, an increase of 23.2% over 5,494 of 2004. And of total trademark related violation cases, 39,107 were trademark infringement & counterfeit involved, in addition to 10,305 normal trademark violations. In all disposed cases, about 5,078.75 pieces (sets) of trademark violation related marks were seized and ruined; 18,414 pieces (sets) of instruments¡ªmarks printing moulds and printing plates, etc.¡ªspecially used for trademark infringing were seized; 7,346.75 tons of violating goods were seized and destroyed; RMB 342 million was fined; 236 cases and 215 involved persons were transferred to judicial system for criminal liabilities.

In accordance with the State Council's deployment of special operations on IP protection, the SAIC launched special operations for exclusion right of registered trademark protection in the whole country from July 2004. In the past four concentrated special actions of market regulation conducted in 2005, investigations and disposals were focused on the cases of foodstuff and leechdom trademark infringements, agriculture-involved trademark infringements, well-known trademark infringements by enterprises' names and primary products trademark and geographical indication infringements. Consequently, the effects of the special operations were further strengthened.

IV. Sound Combination of Supervision and Publicity, Vigorous Reinforcement in Copyright Protection

In 2005, cooperating with other related departments, the NCAC launched several campaigns including ¡°Spring Special Crackdown on Pirated Discs¡±, ¡°Special Crackdown on Pirated Audio-video Products¡± and ¡°Special Crackdown on Internet Infringement and Piracy¡±. Meanwhile, copyright administrative management departments at all levels continued to strengthen their daily supervision and management in copyright market.

During the four-month special crackdown on Internet infringement and piracy, which was jointly launched by the NCAC, the Ministry of Public Security (the MPS) and the Ministry of Information Industry (the MII), the copyright administrative management departments at all levels, cooperating with local public security authorities and telecom management departments, investigated and dealt with 172 cases of Internet infringement, confiscating 39 servers used for infringement and piracy as well as illegal income valued RMB 32 thousand. Also in the campaign, 137 web sites were ordered to delete their infringing contents and 29 infringement web sites were ordered to pay the fine of RMB 789 thousand by the end of 2005. 18 suspected criminal cases were transferred to judicial authorities. 14 cases were reported by overseas copyright holders or their organizations, accounting for 50% of 28 important cases.

In 2005, 9,644 cases were received, and 9,380 of the cases, or 97%, were resolved by various levels of copyright administrative authorities across the country. Of all the resolved cases, 7,840 were resolved with administrative punishment, 1,174 were resolved with settlement agreement, and 366 were transferred to judicial authorities. And in the year, more than 107 million pieces of different kinds of pirated products were confiscated. Of all confiscated pirated products, more than 19.08 million were pirated books, about 1.14 million were pirated periodical magazines, 65.87 million were pirated audio-video products, 13.01 million were pirated electronic publications, 7.74 million were pirated software discs, and 90 thousand were other kinds of pirated products.

In 2005, the publicity of copyright protection maintained an in-depth development. In February, cooperating with the General Administration of Press and Publication as well as Beijing Municipal Government, the NCAC organized the activity ---¡°Keeping watch our home of spirit: the NCAC's series activities of copyright protection¡± which was composed of various sections, for instance ¡°A Hundred Singers Sing for Anti-piracy¡±, ¡°Summit Forum of China Audio-video Copyright Protection¡± and so on. Also in this activity, China's Anti-piracy Declaration of Audio-video products was announced. From March to April, in order to help the youth to build up right consciousness about copyright protection, the NCAC, cooperating with other related departments, conducted the activity of the thematic education on copyright protection for middle school students in the whole country---¡°Say No to the Piracy, I Can Do It¡±.

In accordance with the guidance of the State Council's Lead Group of IP Protection and Sino-US Lead Group of Economy and Trade, the NACA and the MII jointly promulgated the Methods on Administrative Protection of Internet Copyright which was issued on April 30, 2005 and formally implemented on May 30.

To help the copyright holders and the public to understand the Regulations on the Collective Management of Copyright which was implemented on March 1, 2005 and to comprehend the system of the collective management of copyright, the NCAC devoted itself to the work of publicity and popularization. At the same time, the NCAC had completed the examination and approval of the re-registration of the China Copyright Society of Works of Music and of the China Copyright Collective Management Society of Audio-video Works by the end of the year, boosting the arrangement and establishment of other collective management organizations such as the China Copyright Society of Works of Literature.

Chinese government continued to strengthen the guidance for copyright trade in the year. The copyright administrative management departments at all levels accelerated the in-depth development of copyright trade by various ways. In the year of 2005, 9,382 items of books copyright were imported into the country by various presses. Comparatively 1,434 items of books copyright were exported and the sum had been observed the zenith for the past few years.

V. Continuous Enhancement in Enforcement Capability, Prominent Effects in IP Customs Protection

In 2005, placing emphasis on the keystone of ¡°improving the system, strengthening the cooperation, enhancing the capability, enlarging the effects¡±, Chinese customs offices further reinforced IP customs protection and achieved prominent effects.

In the year, new regulations which were published by the GACC, such as the Proclamation on Confiscation of IPRs Infringing Goods Where Relevant Party not be Identified, solved a series of problems about customs legal enforcement. In order to lighten the applicant's burden in IP customs protection application and simplify the application procedures, the GACC organized the seminar on general security system in IP customs protection and constituted the preliminary draft of related regulation.

During a decade's development, the system of IP customs protection central record, which was founded in 1995, had obtained remarkable achievements in the past year. By the end of the year, the number of effective records in the GACC's IP records database had amounted to 6,307. In 2005, 1,610 IP record applications were processed and 1,469 applications were approved by the GACC.

For the sake of effectively preventing infringement products from importing and exporting as well as continually strengthening international cooperation, the GACC and other country's customs offices developed fruitful cooperation in the field of information exchange, enforcement training as well as the communication of enforcement experience and staff in 2005. A favorable transverse cooperative mechanism had been set up between the GACC and other IP enforcement administrations, including the Supreme People's Court (the SPC), the MPS, the SAIC and the SIPO. Meanwhile, Chinese customs offices focused on communicating with enterprises so as to integrate IPRs holders' information resources with customs enforcement resources. Consequently, potential infringement was effectually depressed and the enterprises were guided to establish their IPRs consciousness.

For the purpose of adapting to the IP customs enforcement requirements put forward by the development of foreign trade, the customs offices of China enhanced the capability and efficiency of checking and seizing infringement products through several improved methods. These methods included collecting information through multiple channels, intensifying consciousness of risk management, studying the changes of infringing tricks in import and export, confirming the major check points in advance, combining the verification of customs declaration materials and bills with the on-the-spot examination, as well as adopting advanced examination equipments extensively such as X-ray machines, etc. In 2005, Chinese customs' attacks on the import-and-export infringements were more and more accurate.

In 2005, a total of 1,210 import and export IP infringement involved cases, valued RMB 99.78 million, were investigated and dealt with by the customs offices across the country, respective increases of 19% and 18.5% compared with those of 2004. Of these dealt with cases, 1,106 cases were trademark infringement involved, 37 cases were patent infringement involved, and 67 cases were copyright infringement involved. 51 cases were import involved and 1,159 cases were export involved. The structure of the major infringement products was the same as that of the past year. Identically, in the sum of the infringement goods, the sort of costume, footwear and headgear was in the first place and machinery & electronic products and light industry products were respectively in the second and third places.

The customs IP infringement cases mainly involved domestic and foreign prestigious trademarks. In the cases concerning the domestic brands, the Customs Offices of Ningbo city and Shanghai city seized 8,600 sewing machines, valued RMB 1.8 million, which infringed the registered trademark of ¡°Butterfly¡±; the Customs of Shanghai city seized 2,040 televisions, valued RMB 1.2 million, which infringed the registered trademark of ¡°Hair¡±; the Customs of Fuzhou city seized 12,575 gasoline generators, valued RMB 4,093 thousand, which infringed the trademark of ¡°Tiger¡±; the Customs Offices of Xiamen city, Nanjing city and Hefei city seized the products, valued RMB 500 thousand, which infringed several registered trademarks held by China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Corp. (the COFCO). In the cases concerning foreign brands, the customs offices across the country seized the goods which infringed the trademarks of ¡°NIKE¡±, ¡°Adidas¡± and ¡°NOKIA¡± many times in the year. In July 2005, the Customs Office of Xiamen city seized the exported counterfeit ¡°ARIEL¡± washing powder which was produced by some company and totally amounted to 120 tons. In November, the Customs Office of Nanjing city discovered the infringement case in which 15 international famous trademarks were involved and 324 boxes of infringement goods including costume, lighters, etc. were seized.

Thanks to the strict control and effective supervision of the customs offices, numbers of trademark infringement and Olympic mark infringement cases discovered during the past years sharply decreased in 2005. The common victims included ¡°Diamond¡±, ¡°Tigerhead¡± and other trademarks held by Orient International Corp. and the COFCO. Presently, the IPRs consciousness of relevant enterprises especially those engaged in manufacturing trade was extremely strengthened. When they accepted the OEM orders, a great number of enterprises were able to initiatively inquire whether the contractors held the products' IPRs or were licensed by IPRs holders. Consequently the unconscious IP infringement was avoided to some extent.

VI. All-round Development of Special Campaigns, Gradual Standardization of the Audio-video Market

In 2005, cultural administration authorities throughout the country adopted effective measures to treat strict crackdown on illegal audio-video product businesses and improve the order of the audio-video market with remarkable effects achieved. According to the statistics, in the year, cultural administration authorities throughout the country dispatched over 4.49 million enforcing administrator times, confiscated over 136 million copies of pirated audio-video products and destroyed over 66.21 million copies (discs) of illegal audio-video products. The order of the audio-video market was gradually coming to standardization.

In 2005, the MOC supervised and disposed a series of serious cases in the field of pirated audio-video products. In the case of ¡°4¡¤15¡± Pirated Audio-video Products Distribution Networks in Sichuan province, over 10 distribution networks were discovered, more than 130 thousand copies of illegal audio-video products were confiscated and the major suspects were approved to be arrested by the procuratorate. In the case of ¡°8¡¤25¡± Pirated Audio-video Products in Zhejiang province, 4 underground storehouses were demolished, over 420 thousand copies of pirated audio-video products were confiscated and 4 suspects were captured in the act by local public security authorities.

In 2005, the MOC enthusiastically organized a series of special IP protection campaign and obtained notable results. On January 12, 2005, under the unified arrangement of the MOC and the National Office of Rectification and Standardization of Market Economic Order, cultural administration authorities across the country launched a unified nationwide campaign to destroy illegal audio-video products, during which over 63.35 million copies of such products were destroyed.

In April, the MOC launched a one-month intensive crackdown on the illegal audio-video market in 10 cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Changchun, Xi'an, etc. From mid-June to mid-September, the summer supervision action in cultural market focused on solving the serious problems that the audio-video products were illegally imported and duplicated in series or in their own brands. During the same period, the special operation of attacking on pirated audio-video products was organized in big and medium-sized cities across the country.

On August 1, the national hotline ¡°12318¡± was put through, which was convenient for people to report and supervise the illegal actions in cultural market. During the last ten-day period of October, focusing on the illegal behaviors of providing, spreading and downloading audio-visual programs, the MOC arranged and launched the special action of attacking on network infringement and piracy in accordance with the leitmotiv of the 16th Sino-US Joint conference.

In 2005, the MOC carried out a series of intensive crackdowns that aimed at obvious problems existing in the main areas and aspects. On June 1, the MOC duly issued the check notice that focused on the publication of imported audio-video products against laws and regulations, especially of the illegal video products of Japanese cartoon. Meanwhile, a series of illegal audio-video products, such as ¡°Golden Calabash¡± and ¡°Draco Vision¡±, which compressed tens or hundreds of movies, were checked and confiscated. Subsequently, the MOC successively issued six volumes of the Check List of Illegal Audio-video Products which promulgated the characters of the illegal audio-video products on the lists and instructed the local cultural management and enforcement authorities to carry out the inspection and confiscation.

During the last ten-day of September, according to the requests from several guilds, such as the American Film Society, the MOC launched intensive crackdowns on illegal audio-video market in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and so on. The project put emphasis on inspecting the distribution of pirated Chinese hit movies and teleplays (such as The Myth and Wait ?til You?re Older), Japanese cartoons, South Korean TV series and American films (such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith and Stealth) in the places of legit audio-video business.

From April 20 to 26, the MOC and the country's cultural administration authorities conducted the 7th legal system publicity---¡°Protecting IPRs and Attacking on Infringement & Piracy¡± on audio-video market across the country. The publicity popularized the IP laws and regulations and strengthened the consumers' IP protection consciousness.

VII. Rigorous Measures Taken by Public Security Organs, Serious Cases Cracked One by One

In 2005, under the guidance of various special actions organized by relevant departments, Chinese public security organs further improved working methods and adopted strict measures to effectively crack down the criminal activities of production and sale of coprological products as well as infringement and piracy. The concerning special actions included ¡°Crackdown on Pirated Audio-video Products¡±, ¡°Territorial Rackdown on Criminal Infringement and Piracy¡± and so on. In the year, 36 thousand cases of production and sale of coprological products as well as infringement and piracy were cracked. 43 thousand suspects were arrested. 17 assembly lines for illegal discs were confiscated.

The public security organs across the country successfully resolved a number of serious cases of production and sale of coprological and pirated publications through the measures of strengthening the public security inspection of the publication market, encouraging the public to report the criminal activities and enhancing the enforcement cooperation. On May 27, the public security authorities in Wuhan city, Hubei province, cracked the case of the distribution of pirated and coprological discs and confiscated 200 kinds of illegal discs which amounted to over 14 thousand copies. On June 20, the Public Security Office of Sichuan province successfully knocked out a big group of the distribution of pirated discs, which radiated 6 cities in Sichuan province from Chengdu city, destroyed 15 storing and selling spots of pirated discs, confiscated 160 thousand copies of pirated discs and seized 20 illegal or criminal suspects. On July 18, the public security authorities in Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, together with related government departments investigated and disposed the New Horse Cultural Communication Corporation's case of the package and publication of illegal audio-video products, confiscated 1,338 thousand copies of pirated discs on the spot and enveloped 4,870 thousand copies of suspected pirated discs. In August, the public security authorities in Beijing city together with the cultural and publishing departments knocked out 5 storing spots of pirated discs, confiscated 150 thousand copies of pirated audio-video products and seized 4 suspects. Also in August, the public security authorities in Fujian province successfully cracked the case, in which the oil paintings by the American painter---Baharov were pirated, seized 5 suspects and discovered 1,453 reproductions as well as 6 painting albums.

Through the effective measures including the advancing system of awarding for the report and the combination of open ways and secret ways, the public security organs across the country further strengthened their capabilities of duly and accurately fighting against the illegal production of discs. 17 assembly lines for illegal discs were checked and confiscated in 2005 and the total number had arrived at 217.

In 2005, Appraisal Center of Discs Producing Source of the MPS totally accepted 116 appraisal applications, examined 940 kinds or 1,575 copies of suspected pirated samples, and accomplished 560 judicial appraisal documents. The above effective work provided potent evidences for the concerning departments' disposal of infringement and piracy cases. Meanwhile, against the serious issue of infringement and piracy that concerns those legal disc producers, the MPS enhanced the communication and cooperation with the NCAC and the State Council's Lead Group Against the Coprological and Illegal Issues, announcing the state of the affairs in time and finding out the countermeasures. The investigations about several important disc duplicators were developed at the same time.

VIII. Coordinate Constructions of Regulations and Systems, Increasing Consummation in the Protection of New Varieties of Plant

In 2005, the Ministry of Agriculture (the MOA) and the State Forestry Administration (the SFA) aimed at enhancing the competitive capabilities of agricultural and forestry science and technology as well as productions, and took the increase of the number of independently-owned new varieties of plant as the core. The work of publicity, training and enforcement about the protection of new varieties of plant was continually strengthened. The constructions of management system and technological system were further developed. The protection of new varieties of plant was increasingly consummated.

In 2005, 950 applications for new agricultural plant variety rights were accepted by the MOA and 195 new agricultural plant variety rights were granted, respective increases of 29.3% and 38.8% compared with those of 2004. The applications from foreign enterprises and individuals amounted to 77, 2.4 times over the total applications of the past five years. By the end of 2005, the applications had covered 37 genera and species and the overall application and granting quantities respectively reached 2,996 and 698. The domestic applicators were from all the provinces of Chinese Mainland except Tibet, and the foreign applicators were from seven countries including the Netherlands, the United States, the South Korea, Japan, Israel, New Zealand and Australia. In the year, the SFA accepted 72 domestic and foreign applications of new forestry plant variety rights, doubled over that of 2004, and granted 41 new forestry plant variety rights. The overall quantity of new forestry plant variety rights reached 113.

On May 20, 2005, the MOA issued the Sixth Batch National List of Protected Agricultural Plants in which 21 genera and species were added. These genera and species included Gossypium L., Linum usitatissimum L., Morus L., Brassica juncea Czern. et Coss., Vicia faba L., Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek, Pisum sativum L., Phaseolus vulgaris L., Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp., Allium fistulosum L., Cucurbita pepo L., Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis L., Apium graveolens L., Daucus carota L., Pleurotus nebrodensis (Inzenga) Qu¨¦l., Cucumis melo L., Fragaria ananassa Duch., Stylosanthes Sw. ex Willd, Ranunculus asiaticus L., Hylotelephium tatarinowii (Maxim.) H. Ohba and Amaranthus tricolor L.. Thus, the scale of new agricultural plant varieties protection had been expanded into 62 genera (species).

To further enhance the standardized management of new agricultural plant varieties test, the MOA built up the National Technological Commission of the Standardization of New Plant Varieties Test in January, 2005. Meanwhile, in order to guarantee the justice of the examination and approval of the new plant varieties applications, the Second Re-examination Commission of New Agricultural Plant Varieties was set up, which was constituted of members from various fields, such as administrators, jurists and technicians. In addition, the conferences on new agricultural plant varieties test and on communicating and training about the test technology were respectively held in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Jinan and Gongzhuling. The technology of new agricultural plant varieties test had been greatly improved.

In order to provide convenience for the public to obtain the information about new agricultural plant varieties protection in time and strengthen the publicity of administrative information, the MOA put through the web site of new agricultural plant varieties protection at http://www.cnpvp.cn in July 2005.

In 2005, the SFA obtained remarkable developments in establishment and promotion of new forestry plant varieties test systems. On the basis of one test center, five sub-centers, two molecular test laboratories and three special test bases which had been established during the past years, the SFA combined the resources of facilities and categories of related provinces and cities with environmental factors (for instance, the climate factor) and the arrangement of test systems, the establishment of special test base of Rusa being initiated. At the same time, the formulation of test guidelines for 16 genera (species) (including Rusa, Paeonia Linn., Eucalyptus, etc.) as well as the establishment of database of known plants categories were also initiated.

From September 28 to 30, the Office of New Plant Varieties Protection of the SFA with several other departments jointly held the International Forum on China's Flower and Plant Industry Development & IP Protection in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Over 100 deputies from domestic large-scale flower & plant enterprises, flower & plant societies and flower & plant administrative departments as well as from many foreign countries, such as the Netherlands, German, Japan, France, New Zealand, Israel and so on took part in it.

In 2005, the web site of new forestry plant varieties protection (http://www.cnpvp.net) was comprehensively revised. The new revision supplemented a real-time inquiry function in database, through which inquirers could quickly index the application, approval and legal state of all the new forestry plant variety rights applications. Also a new part of on-line exhibitions of granted categories was set up. More progresses have been made in the construction of information and network of new forestry plant varieties protection.

IX. Adequate Exertion of Trial Function, Comprehensive Improvement in IP Judicial Protection

In 2005, people's courts at each level across China comprehensively enhanced the IP judicial protection, brought every trial functions into full play and severely punished IP crimes in accordance with laws. The numbers of IP-related civil, administrative and criminal cases that people's courts accepted and concluded as a whole during the year increased continuously. Meanwhile the quality and the efficiency of the trial on IP cases improved as well, leading to the continuous reinforcement of IP judicial protection.

In 2005, people's courts at all levels across the country accepted total 16,583 IP civil cases including unfair competition cases covering first instance, second instance and re-trial proceedings, with an increase of 20.66% over that of last year, about 16,453 cases among them had been concluded, 29.60% higher than that of last year. Of those cases, 13,424 cases were of first instance with an increase of 26%, which were composed of 6,096 copyright cases, 2,947 patent cases, 1,782 trademark cases, 1,303 unfair competition cases, 636 technological contract cases, 156 varieties of new plant cases and 504 other IP cases, with respective increases of 42.96, 15.61, 34.49, negative 2.10, 0.95, negative 10.26 and 31.59 percent compared with those of last year. Altogether 13,393 of the first instance cases were concluded, with an increase of 38.04% than that of 2004, resulting in the settlement of total RMB 2,612 million disputed value, RMB 195 thousand per case. In addition, 3,114 cases were of second instance, 3,016 of which were concluded, increasing by 2.40% and 3.04% respectively than those of last year. Another 45 cases were of re-trial proceedings, and 44 of them were concluded.

Of all the IP-related civil cases, infringement and ownership disputes account for the highest proportion, which amounted to 89.02% of the docketed first instance cases in 2005. Among the concluded IP cases of first instance during 2005, 449 cases involved factors of foreign countries, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, with an increase of 23.01% over that of 2004, and accounted for 3.35% of the total concluded cases. Specifically, 268 cases involved foreign enterprises, organizations and individuals, 108 cases were Hong Kong and Macau related, and 73 cases were Taiwan involved, with respective increases of 77.48, negative 2.70 and 25.86 percent when compared with last year.

The people's courts sternly implemented the judicial review function over the cases related to authorization of patent and trademark as well as the IP administrative enforcement, to regulate and supervise the enforcement actions of administrative organs in accordance with laws. In 2005, people's courts across the country accepted 575 IP administrative cases of first instance, with a 9.32% increase over last year, 576 cases were concluded during the same period, with an increase of 4.92% than last year. Of those cases, except that 335 were patent cases which decreased by 11.14% when compared with last year, the other 209 trademark cases and 31 copyright cases increased by 48.23 and 287.50 percent respectively than those of 2004.

As for the IP criminal judicial protection, a total of 3,567 IP criminal cases of first instance were accepted by people's courts across the country in 2005, with an increase of 28.36% than that of last year. Among them, 524 were IP infringement cases, with an increase of 35.40%; 1,117 were manufacturing or selling false and inferior commodity cases, with an increase of 16.48%; and 1,926 were illegal business cases, with an increase of 34.40%. Of those IP criminal cases, 3,529 were concluded, with an increase of 28.28% than that of last year. Among them, 505 cases of IP infringement crime, 1,121 cases of manufacturing or selling false and inferior commodity crimes and 1,903 cases of illegal business crimes were concluded, with 741, 1,942 and 2,653 suspects sentenced respectively per effective judgments. 

To reasonably deploy the IP judicial resources, in 2005, the SPC appointed three Intermediate People's Courts in Quanzhou of Fujian Province, Jinhua of Zhejiang Province, Nantong of Jiangsu Province to try the patent related cases in first instance, and three Intermediate People's Courts in Jiuquan, Wuwei and Zhangye of Gansu Province to try the cases of new varieties of plants in first instance. By the end of 2005, the numbers of the Intermediate People's courts with the appropriate jurisdiction over patent, new varieties of plants and layout designs of integrated circuits in first instance had respectively reached 51, 37 and 43 across the country. Meanwhile, the Supreme People's Courts authorized certain Primary People's courts in some big cities to accept and hear the first instance cases except those of the above-mentioned three kinds. Up to the end of 2005, altogether 15 Primary People's Courts had been granted the jurisdiction over IP cases throughout the entire country.

To demonstrate the determination and confidence of continuously improving China's IP judicial protection, the Supreme People's Courts made the decision in 2005 that the trial division of people's courts at each level across the country engaged in IP cases was entitled to the other appellation of ¡°Intellectual Property Trial Division¡± besides one appellation of ¡°the Third Civil Trial Division¡±.

X. Increasing Frequency in International Exchange, Win-win Cooperation and Harmonious Development

In 2005, China strengthened the exchange and cooperation in IP field with Peru and Mongolia and signed IP cooperation agreements with the two governments respectively. On June 2, the SIPO former Commissioner Wang Jingchuan and Peruvian vice Foreign Minister Armando Lecaros de Cossio signed the Agreement of Cooperation of Intellectual Property between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Peru. Both sides agreed to strengthen exchange in IP issues in the field of science and technology, economy and trade as well as culture, IP legislation and practical information about related procedures and solutions. On November 28, the SIPO Commissioner Tian Lipu and Mr. Chinbat Namjil, Director General of the Intellectual Property Office of Mongolia, on behalf of their respective governments, signed the Intellectual Property Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Mongolia in Beijing.

From September 24 to October 3, 2005, the SIPO Deputy Commissioner Li Yuguang led the Chinese delegation, made up of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the SAIC, the NCAC, the SIPO, China's Permanent Mission in Geneva and Intellectual Property Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, to attend the 41st Series of Meetings of the Assembly of WIPO. The delegation participated actively in the discussion of an array of important issues including development agenda, future work of the Standing Committee of Patent and the Standing Committee of Copyright, Diplomatic Conference of the Trademark Law Treaty, issues concerning IPC Union and PCT Union, etc.

From September 5 to 9, China-ASEAN Intellectual Property Seminar, organized by the SIPO, was held in Beijing. During the period, more than 80 participants from 10 member states of ASEAN as well as Chinese IP circles undertook an in-depth communication and discussion about the topics of common interests, including the construction of IP legal system, the obtaining and management of IPRs, IP protection and economy development, the distribution and utilization of IP information, the construction of IP professionals teams, etc.

From December 4 to 8, the SIPO and the European Patent Office held a celebration for the 20 years of cooperation at the People's Great Hall. The two offices also held the 16th joint committee meeting and signed the bilateral technical cooperation memo for 2006. A consensus on strengthening the cooperation in staff training, automation construction, patent documents exchange, international training and etc. was achieved.

From November 8 to 10, the SAIC and WIPO jointly held the International Seminar on Strategic Utilization of Trademarks to Promote the Development of Economy/Rural Areas. More than 180 deputies and experts from WIPO, 29 countries and areas and China's related departments took part in it.

From September 18 to 24, Mr. Wang Zhongfu, Commissioner of the SAIC, led the Chinese IP delegation to visit Thailand.

From April 18 to 26 and November 28 to December 3, Mr. An Qinghu, Director of the TMO, respectively attended the 14th and 15th meeting of Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications, in which the contents of the amendment of the Trademark Law Treaty were discussed.

From May 23 to 26, the NCAC and WIPO jointly held the Seminar on the Copyright Policy Strategy and the Copyright-related Industries Development in Asia-pacific Region in Hangzhou. More than 80 participants from 17 countries attended it. WIPO sang high praise for such a successful meeting.

2006-05-09