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Dialogue on Intellectual Property Rights Protection of Foreign-invested Enterprises was Held in Beijing

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Dialogue on Intellectual Property Rights Protection of Foreign-invested Enterprises was Held in Beijing

     The Notice on Issuing the Action Plan for Intellectual Property Rights Protection of Foreign-invested Enterprises (hereinafter the “Action Plan”) was jointly released by 12 entities, including the Office of the National Leading Group on the Fight Against IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting (hereafter the “NLGO”), the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Public Security, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the General Administration of Customs on September 8, 2017. Jack Chang, Chairman of Quality Brands Protection Committee (QBPC), immediately contacted Deputy Director Chai of NLGO to arrange the dialogue and exchange meeting between QBPC and NLGO. On the morning of October 10, the dialogue was held in the conference room of the office building of the Ministry of Commerce. Based on the Action Plan jointly issued in September, the meeting was held to listen to the opinions of the representatives of foreign-invested enterprises on IPR protection and put forward suggestions for the work.

    The dialogue was chaired by Chai Haitao, Deputy Director of NLGO. Chai first affirmed QBPC’s important contributions to IPR protection, especially its positive role in the international platform. He stressed that QBPC maintains a pragmatic and effective communication with NLGO for a long time. In June this year, NLGO was invited to participate in the 2017 Exchange Meeting on IPR Protection of Foreign-invested Enterprises hosted by the QBPC. In the meeting, representatives from the two sides made in-depth discussions on hot issues, such as trade secret protection, IPR protection for countries along the “Belt and Road”, E-commerce Law, express industry, copycat brand and malicious registration. In October, the two sides gathered again to discuss the key work of the Action Plan, hoping to listen to the suggestions of foreign-invested enterprises for the follow-up work of special action, review the clues of important cases involved foreign-invested enterprises across the regions or with a huge amount of money or in the industry, and expecting the US-funded enterprise members of QBPC to make an objective and impartial evaluation on China’s IPR protection work at the US Section 301 Investigation Hearing.

    Jack Chang, Chairman of QBPC, first expressed his gratitude to the NLGO leaders for their support to the work of QBPC and analyzed the US emphasis on IPR in the technical field based on the focuses of the US 301 Investigation Hearing. He pointed out that it is very meaningful to prioritize the fight against the crimes of infringing trade secrets in the Action Plan. However, Article III of the Report on the Amendments to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law (Revised Draft) (Second Draft for Review) clearly excludes the application of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law to the infringement of trade secrets by the incumbent employees and resigning employees without the qualification of an operator, so that the owner of trade secret cannot seek administrative protection in accordance with the law, but only file a civil action on the grounds of the violation of the confidentiality contract, which is contrary to the government’s policy trend of increasing the protection of trade secrets. Jack stressed that the only solution to this problem is to reexamine the necessity of formulating the Trade Secret Law. In addition, he pointed out that NLGO, QBPC, member companies and individuals can play a bridge role to introduce China’s achievements and new challenges in IPR protection to the outside world objectively and impartially. He hoped, through the cooperation with NLGO and the relevant ministries and commissions, to effectively combat the crimes of infringing trade secrets, manage the malicious registration and remedy the serious consequences caused by the provisions of Article 60.2 of the Trademark Law and Article 29.3 of the Draft of E-Commerce Law as soon as possible, and strengthen the management of the copycat brand. He also introduced the information database (IPM) of the World Customs Organization for the fight against the cross-border trade of counterfeiting goods and transferred the letter of Ambassador Adam Blackwell, Chairman of the Council on the Illicit Economy of the World Economic Forum and Executive Chairman of IPM System Operation Company to Deputy Director Chai. Jack, as a special adviser to the Chairman of L Brands, also mentioned that L Brands will hold a fashion show with a global influence on November 20 in Shanghai for the first time, and more than 30 internationally renowned media will come to China to report the show. He asked NLGO to coordinate the relevant departments to speed up the handling of the infringements and the copycat brands related to the company’s brands in the current market to avoid any negative report on infringement and the copycat brand from international media. Then Michael Ding, Vice Chairman of QBPC, made a speech titled the Problems of Counterfeiting and Infringement in Low-voltage Electric Industry and Suggestions. Chairman Sun Miao and Vice Chairman Xu Lujia of the Government Affairs and Public Policy Committee of QBPC, Vice Chairman Conan Chen of the Best Practice/Enforcement Committee and Alex Theil, representative from  Automotive Industry Working Group, Cao Xiaoming from Diversified Industry Working Group, Angela Shi from Sports Fashion & Lifestyle  Industry Working Group and Tang Huijun from Personal Care Industry Working Group stated the infringements encountered in their industries around the main task of Action Plan, summed up the common problems among industries, and expressed their expectations on the follow-up supervision of NLGO. At last, Colin Chen, Vice Chairman of QBPC made his speech, with a title of the Proposal for Strengthening the Inspection of IPR Law Enforcement and Judicial Supervision. He suggested that when the relevant departments find the problems such as the failure to abide by the law, the failure to punish lawbreakers and themiscarriage of justice in law enforcement and judicial supervision, they should put forward solutions to the above situations, for example, inspecting the judicial supervision or asking the higher authorities to urge the normalization of law enforcement inspection and special action and establish the reward and punishment mechanism by ranks and grades.

    After the speeches from QBPC Representatives, Sun Yong, Head of the Supervision and Liaison Group of NLGO, answered the questions raised by QBPC representatives and stressed that this special action was conducted to supervise the investigation and handling of major and serious cases. He hoped that the right holders can further review and refine the case clues and actively participate in the action. Zhang Jing, Head of the General Affairs and Secretary Group briefed the IPR protection work of the ministries and commissions as well as the enterprises from the four aspects, including the function divisions of the procuratorates, the public security cases, the information related to mechanisms, the communication among e-commerce platforms and the case data management platform of NLGO.

    In the end, Deputy Director Chai summarized the IPR challenges raised by QBPC representatives on the scene. He pointed out the following three points. First, in the special action, the right holders need to refine and systematize the clues of major and serious cases at this stage, focus on solving common problems in the industry and strengthen communication with state organs and online enterprises to obtain the information channels in advance. After collecting the clues, NLGO will submit them to major departments in a timely manner for centralized investigation, and supervise the investigation and handling, and then summarize and systemize them through NLGO’s case handling data platform according to the common characters of cases in different regions. Second, in the daily supervision, NLGO will establish the whitelist and blacklist, change the temporary special action into long-term action, pay special attention to Africa and Central and Eastern Europe and strengthen law enforcement justice. Third, in making and amending laws, NLGO will use its mechanism to report to the departments responsible for making and amending laws to resolve the issues related to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, the E-Commerce Law, the Trademark Law and the Criminal Law presented in a centralized way.

    The meeting lasted for half a day. The representatives from all walks of life introduced the current IPR infringement in many ways through real cases and made comments from the level of law enforcement and legislation. The leaders of NLGO actively answered the questions raised by QBPC representatives, and the two sides hoped to make positive contributions to China’s IPR protection in the next three months of special action.

    NLGO also sent Peng Zengtian, Head of the Regulation and Information Group, Zhou Yong, Director of the Supervision and Liaison Group, Han Zunliang, Cadre of the Regulation and Information Group, and Zhang Wenrui, Cadre of the Supervision and Liaison Group to attend the meeting.
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