China To Introduce New Copyright Laws

China said March 9 it would introduce a raft of new laws and regulations this year to help stem rampant violations of intellectual property rights (IPR). As part of the "2006 China IPR protection action plan", China will draft and revise 17 laws and regulations concerning trademarks, copyrights, patents and customs, said a statement on the Ministry of Commerce's website.

The plan, formulated by the National Protection of IPR Working Group along with other government departments, is aimed at "intensifying efforts to protect IPR" and "to crackdown on various illegal rights violations," it said. It also included a series of measures to step up public awareness and international cooperation, the statement said.

China's Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing, said March 7 that the Chinese government last year handled more than 39,000 trademark infringement cases and Chinese courts handled over 3,500 IPR-related cases.

However China has made repeated pledges to crack down on IPR violations that its major trading partners such as the U.S. and Europe say do not go nearly far enough. Last year the U.S. put China on an IPR "priority watch list" after an investigation concluded, "infringement levels remain unacceptably high throughout China".

China produces the bulk of the world's counterfeit products, with the most high-profile items including pirated music and movies, as well as fake brand-name goods.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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