Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to attend the China-US IPR Roundtable again. Let me first extend my sincere greetings to all the representatives of the Chinese and American governments and the American business community present.
The China-US IPR Roundtable has been successfully held twice, playing a positive role in enhancing the communication and understanding between China and the US in the field of IPR, especially in improving the knowledge of IPR protection work in China on the part of the American businesses. At the last Roundtable, I delivered a speech on invitation, underlining the effort made by the Chinese government in protecting intellectual property and gave a briefing on the legal system and concrete work of IPR protection in China. Participating friends conducted heated discussions of IPR protection in China at the meeting and came up with many suggestions with regard to strengthening criminal and administrative enforcement in IPR protection. I believe that to intensify exchanges and enhance understanding in a cooperative spirit like this is conductive to promoting the sound development of IPR protection work.
You have all been following closely the development of IPR in China over the years. You are not only the eyewitnesses of the two roundtables, but the eyewitnesses of the constant progress and advancement of IPR protection work in China. I believe that you have already seen the new headway made by China in protecting intellectual property in the past year, during which a huge amount of work was done in intensifying internal coordination, strengthening criminal enforcement and staging specialized campaigns. Marked progress was made. Over the past one year, we have done the following work.
First, the State Council set up an IPR Protection Working Group where I serve as director and which is composed of 12 departments, the Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Public Security, State Administration for Industry and Commerce, National Copyright Office, State Intellectual Property Office, General Administration of Customs among others. The Working Group is responsible for leading and coordinating IPR protection work all over the country and overseeing the handling of major cases. Under the uniform deployment of the Working Group, a cross-department IPR Enforcement Collaboration System has been set up to enhance working communication and coordination. The Working Group also made specific arrangement for nationwide publicity and training, moving forward the relevant work in a highly efficient manner. At present, all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government have correspondingly established their own IPR protection task force, and under the working pattern featuring uniform leadership by the central government, responsibility taken by the local government, guidance and coordination by relevant departments and joint action by all parties involved, they are engaged in routine and specialized IPR enforcement work.
Second, the State Council decided to launch a specialized campaign for IPR Protection throughout the country from September 2004 to August 2005 under the auspices of the National IPR Protection Working Group. The specialized campaign will identify priority areas, linkages and regions to drive comprehensive progress by extending from focused places to wider coverage. Having as breakthroughs the major infringement cases where the complaints from right holders are strong, the circumstances are serious and the implications are severe, the campaign has firmly cracked down on criminals violating IPR. Positive results have already been yielded.
In a bid to support the specialized campaign, from mid October to the first half of November last year, the IPR Protection Working Group organized 6 teams composed of staff from the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Supervision, the Press and Publications Administration (National Copyright Office), State Intellectual Property Office, Office of Legal Affairs of the State Council, Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate and sent them to 12 Provinces including Hebei, Shanxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Henan, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Ningxia for focused supervision and inspection, in the name of State Council Supervising and Inspecting Team.
According to incomplete figures, within 2 months as of the launch of this specialized campaign, public security units all over China prosecuted over 1,000 cases, involving a value of RMB 550 million. Authorities for industry and commerce throughout the country investigated into and handled more than 9,800 trademark infringement cases, confiscated over 10 million infringing trademarks, forfeited and destroyed over 10 million infringing commodities. The whole country has been mobilized in the campaign. For example, Enping Public Security Bureaus of Jiangmen City in Guangdong Province hunt down a factory producing pirated VCDs, destroyed on the spot two production lines that were illegally manufacturing VCDs and captured 4 criminal suspects. MengLa Customs Authority of Yunnan Province detected two infringement cases in succession, realizing zero-breakthrough in the number of detected cases in Kunming Customs District.
Thirdly, Judicial Interpretation on IPR Infringement Crimes was smoothly promulgated. When I visited the US last April, I made it clear that the Judicial Interpretation on lowering the threshold for criminalization would be unveiled before the end of 2004. We have already honored that commitment as scheduled. In the drafting of the Judicial Interpretation, views were solicited, on different occasions, through multiple channels and in various ways, from China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment, European Commission, China Business Software Alliance, Motion Picture Association of America Inc., American Chamber of Commerce in China, US Information Technology Office and other industrial associations and institutions, which was never seen in the previous drafting work of judicial interpretations.
The new Judicial Interpretation specifies the criteria of conviction and sentencing and considerably lowers the threshold for criminal penalty. It reduces the bottom line for applying criminal penalties for the crime of counterfeiting registered trademarks, crime of selling commodities carrying counterfeit registered trademarks, crime of illegally manufacturing signs of registered trademarks and crime of infringing upon a copyright from RMB 200,000 and RMB 100,000 to RMB 50,000 in terms of the amount of illegal business volume and from RMB 50,000 to RMB 30,000 in terms of the amount of illegal gains. The new Judicial Interpretation clarifies the terminologies that are apt to cause divergences contained in the provisions of the Criminal Law and resolves the issues of legal application of IPR infringement in import and export stages and on-line piracy. Besides, the new Judicial Interpretation makes clear principles of punishing different crimes, lowers the standard for unit crimes and adds the stipulation of complicity.
As another important measure taken by the Chinese Judicial Organ to intensify IPR protection, the promulgation of the Judicial Interpretation on Criminal Responsibility for IPR Infringement has laid down a solid foundation for further strengthening judicial protection of intellectual property, effectively cracking down on crimes of IPR infringement, maintaining market economic order and constantly improving the legal protection of IPR in China.
Fourthly, we have continued to intensify exchanges and communication with relevant countries in IPR. The Chinese government attaches importance to the opinion and suggestion expressed by governments and enterprises of relevant countries on IPR development in China and has actively conducted exchanges and communication on IPR with relevant parties through various channels and mechanisms. During my visit to the US to chair the 15th JCCT in 2004, the two sides of China and US reached broad consensus on the issue of intellectual property and established an IPR Working Group, thus accelerating bilateral cooperation, strengthening mutual interaction and communication and facilitating the stable progress of Sino-American economic and trade relations. In 2004, the first China-EU IPR Dialogue was convened in Beijing. After that, the two sides of China and EU signed a summary of the meeting, identifying preliminary intent for IPR cooperation and next-step working plan. In November last year, we successfully held WCO Regional Forum for IPR Protection, yielding positive international influence. What is more, the Ministry of Commerce and IPR Protection Working Group joined hands with relevant domestic departments in setting up a regular communication and coordination mechanism with foreign invested enterprises, providing foreign IPR holders with a channel to fully air their views.
Ladies and gentlemen,
One year passed since the last roundtable. To my delight, during the time as brief as one year, we have got much good news worth sharing with our friends. As the Vice Premier responsible for IPR work in the State Council, I am satisfied with the development of IPR undertaking in China over the last year and I am full of confidence in its future.
Of course, we are pretty clear that anyway, IPR development began relatively late in China and there still exists many problems. We also know that American government and companies have been much concerned with IPR protection work in China for a long time, some even hold misgivings over the issue. We understand how you feel. Taking this opportunity, I would like to share my thoughts with the friends present candidly.
First, I would reiterate once again that the Chinese government lays special emphasis on IPR protection work. We are fully aware that against the ever accelerated economic globalization, creation, occupation and application of knowledge resources have become key factors for countries to win competitive advantages and uplift their comprehensive national strength. To intensify IPR protection is not only a need of further opening up and creation of a sound investment environment, but also an objective requirement of standardizing market economic order and safeguarding the comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development of the Chinese economy and society. On March 5th last year, in his Government's Working Report delivered at the Second Session of the Tenth National People's Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao explicitly pointed out that we should intensify protection of intellectual property and punish piracy and other infringing behaviors according to law. This fully demonstrated the clear-cut position and decisive resolve of the Chinese government in IPR protection.
Second, the Chinese government has always adopted a responsible attitude, laid special emphasis on and energetically promoted IPR protection and our achievements over the years are obvious to all. But we have to admit that the establishment and perfection of IPR protection system could not be realized overnight, and they are closely linked with a country's level of economic and scientific development. China in particular, as a country with 1.3 billion people where the economic and scientific development level is not high at the current stage, badly needs the government, the enterprises and the vast number of consumers to do hard and meticulous work and make long-term unremitting efforts so as to fundamentally change the status quo of IPR protection. We are fully prepared for this mentally and we will surely carry on the job unswervingly. We hope to have the understanding of American administration and companies about this and we hope that you could see the accomplishments that China already scored in its IPR undertaking and please be confident of the future of IPR development in China.
Thirdly, the Chinese government will earnestly honor its international obligations and is ready to strengthen widespread IPR cooperation with the rest of the world and the international organizations. Through concerted efforts, we hope to contribute to the shaping of a sound system and atmosphere featuring respect for knowledge, pursuit of science and protection of intellectual property. In the meantime, we welcome help and assistance from all countries in the world and international institutions for our IPR development, welcome all constructive opinions and suggestions and welcome well-intentioned criticism. China and the US, as the world's biggest developing country and developed nation, have conducted effective cooperation in the economic field. In particular over recent years, China and the US have scored gratifying results in our trade progress, which is inseparable from the joint efforts of the governments, enterprises and non-governmental groups of the two nations. I hope that we could forge similarly effective collaboration in the area of IPR and jointly expedite the IPR work in a healthy manner.