China IP Chief Defends Efforts Against Piracy

By Agence France-Presse The head of China's intellectual property office conceded April 13 the country still suffers from "serious" property rights problems, but defended Beijing's record in battling piracy and counterfeiting. "I have to admit, in some geographic areas, and in some fields, intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement still exists, and in some areas, such phenomena are very serious," Wang Jingchuan, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, told reporters. But he said the problem was unavoidable in a developing economy and called on the international community to be patient. "I fully understand the complaints made by foreign companies including those from Japan and the U.S.," he said. "Under the development of a market economy, IPR infringement is unavoidable." The U.S. estimates the value of counterfeit goods in China at between $19 billion and $24 billion, with losses to U.S. companies exceeding $1.8 billion a year. Japan is sending a special mission to China next month to evaluate the country's performance in implementing its commitments under the World Trade Organization on IPR protection in a broad range of industries, with particular focus on the auto sector. The Quality Brands Protection Committee (QBPC), an organization of foreign companies in China trying to fight piracy, complained recently that although significant progress has been made in recent years, its members were reporting an increasing number of cases of exports of counterfeits of their brands outside China. Its members include Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Cisco Systems and Dell. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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