China eyes tougher penalties for IP infringements

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Trademark infringements could potentially be sanctioned with stricter penalties in China in the future. This is suggested by a recently published article with statements of President Xi Jinping – and by how experts view the article.

Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, recently announced in a media report that the protection of IP rights in China might be further improved in the future. According to the report, the aim of the new measures would be to promote innovation. „Innovation is the primary driving force behind development, and protecting IPR is equal to protecting innovation”, Xi said according to China’s Xinhua news agency. The article also stressed that China had already made decisive achievements in trademark protection.

What is also particularly noteworthy is that the article acknowledges that IP infringements can be frequent in China and that IP rights can be difficult to enforce – this is the assessment of IP expert Jerry Xia of the law firm GEN Law in the trade magazine WTR. Xi is said to now call to „resolutely combat counterfeiting“ and for the introduction of penalties for bad-faith infringements. According to expert Xia, this could translate into higher damages for affected companies; something which has already been shown by recent rulings of courts in Shanghai, for example.

In addition, expert Xia notes, Xi’s statements also emphasizes the importance of law enforcement. Since criminal sanctions allow for severe penalties and deterrence, this could be a good development for intellectual property protection.

It would be good if China is criminalizing the production and trade in counterfeits, also according to Jack Chang, vice chair of the Quality Brands Protection Committee China (QBPC). He expects that many brand owners active in China would welcome this step, the association representative told WTR.

Sources: Xinhua, World Trademark Review (WTR)

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