The year 2000 is a significant year in the history of China's intellectual property undertaking.
On April 2, 2000, state leaders such as Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Li Lanqing, Wen Jiabao visited the " Exhibition on China's Fifteen-Year Achievements in Patent Work", organized by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). President Jiang Zemin pointed out at the exhibition that, " we must energetically promote the long-term development of our economy by supporting the nation's patent undertaking, enhancing the role of the patent system and furthering growth of high-tech products with self-owned independent intellectual property rights and market prospect."
In the same year, the 17th Session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC) adopted the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Revision of the Patent Law of the People's Republic of China. The revised patent law would better meet the needs of establishing the socialist market economy, reforming and opening-up. The revised drafts of the Trademark Law and the Copyright Law were also under review.
In 2000, the number of applications for patents and trademarks increased rapidly, while the copyright protection work was further strengthened. Moreover, the Customs offices well performed in anti-counterfeiting, and the public security authorities and cultural affairs administrations scored remarkable achievements in special actions launched to crack down upon infringement and piracy. In addition, the protection of new varieties of plants started and produced positive results. The international exchange and cooperation in the field of intellectual property rights became more active and was further enhanced.
I. The Chinese Government Attached Importance to Constant Improvement of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Protection System
The State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) started as early as in 1996 preparations for the second revision of the Chinese Patent Law. On the basis of profound research as well as summarization and analysis of related comments and opinions, the SIPO worked out Opinions on Revision of the Patent Law. After soliciting opinions extensively and repeated modifications, the SIPO drafted the new version of the Patent Law and submitted it to the State Council for consideration, and then to the NPC Standing Committee for review and approval.
On August 25, 2000, the 17th Session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress approved the Decision on the Revision of the Patent Law of the People's Republic of China. The patent law was revised for the second time after its first revision in 1992. This revision, which reflected the consistent positions and principles of the Chinese government for IPR protection, was an important measure adopted by China to carry out the strategies for prospering the country with science and education and for sustainable development. After revision, the patent law would better meet the needs of deepening the reform and opening up wider.
In this revision, 36 articles were involved, of which 4 articles were newly added and another 4 articles deleted. The revised patent law gave prominence to the purpose of patent legislation, namely serving the development of science and technological innovation and creating better conditions for deepening reform. The revised law also intensified effectiveness of patent protection of right holders' legitimate rights and interests by further improving judicial and administrative enforcement and by streamlining procedures of patent examination and granting. Furthermore, the patent law, after revision, would not only be more conducive to China's opening wider to the outside world and its accession to the WTO, but also keep in further conformity with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The revised patent law set as well higher standards for building a diligent, impartial, pragmatic and efficient workforce for patent examination and administration. It will be put into effect on July 1st, 2001.
To implement the revised patent law, the revision of the Implementing Rules of the Patent Law was timely and accordingly initiated. Based upon the preparation work completed in 1999, the Opinions on Revision of the Implementing Rules were put forward by the SIPO, after detailed research and analysis of proposals and feedback from all circles of life. And then through further repeated modifications, the Revision of the Implementing Rules of the Patent Law (Draft) was worked out and submitted to the State Council for review and approval. In the mean time, the SIPO conducted clearance of patent-related laws, regulations and rules in force. Those not complying with the TRIPS were either modified or annulled.
In 2000, to suit the new situation of China's entry into WTO and to implement TRIPS agreement completely, the Trademark Office (TMO) of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) put the revision of the Trademark Law on its top work agenda. After repeated solicitation of opinions within the Office, it held meetings respectively in Shaanxi in April and Hunan in June, in which trademark administrative authorities under local administrations for industry and commerce (AICs) participated and discussed the draft of the revised Trademark Law.
On April 11, the TMO held in Beijing an expert meeting on the revision of the Trademark Law. On October 12, the Legislative Office of the State Council convened a conference in Beijing to solicit opinions regarding the revision of the Trademark Law, at which the Amendment of the Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China (Draft) was worked out. On November 22, the 33rd Standing Meeting of the State Council reviewed and approved in principle the Amendment of the Trademark Law (Draft). After further revision, the State Council submitted the
Amendment to the Standing Committee of the Ninth NPC for review and approval. On December 22, at the 19th Session of the Ninth NPC Standing Committee, Mr. Wang Zhongfu, Commissioner of the SAIC, delivered a report titled Explanation on the Amendment of the Trademark Law (Draft), after which the Committee discussed and reviewed the Amendment.
On November 22, 2000, the 33rd Standing Meeting of the State Council reviewed and passed in principle the Amendment of the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China (Draft) and submitted it to the Ninth NPC Standing Committee for review and approval. On December 26, the Amendment was discussed and reviewed by special groups at the 19th Session of the Ninth NPC Standing Committee. Meanwhile, the National Copyright Administration (NCAC) completed drafting of the Implementing Rules of the Copyright Law (Revised Version) and the Regulations on Computer Software Protection (Revised Version), in cooperation with the Ministry of Information Industry, and submitted them to the Legislative Office of the State Council for review and approval.
On November 22, 2000, the Interpretations of the Supreme People's Court on Application of Laws to the Trial of Computer- and Network-Related Copyright Disputes was passed at the 1144 meeting of the Trial Committee of the Supreme People's Court.
II. Patent Work Was Further Strengthened
In 2000, the SIPO received a total of 170,690 patent applications (showing an increase of 27.1% over the precious year's 134, 329 filings). Of all, 140,273 were domestic (27.6% higher than the previous year's 109,958), accounting for 82.2% of the total, while 30,417 filings were from abroad (25.3% over the previous year's 24,281), accounting for 17.8% of the total.
In 2000, among applications for three kinds of patents, 51,755 filings were for invention patents (an increase of 41.0% over the previous year's 36,694), 68,815 for utility models (an increase of 19.7% over the previous year's 57,492), and 50,120 for industrial designs (25.1% higher than the previous year's 40,053), accounting for 30.3%, 40.3% and 29.4% of the total respectively. The amount of received foreign and domestic applications for invention patents was approximately the same, while applications for utility models and industrial designs were mainly from home.
In 2000, a total of 105,344 patents were granted by the SIPO, among which 12,682 patents were for inventions, 54,743 for utility models, and 37,919 for industrial designs, accounting for 12.0%, 52.0% and 36.0% of the total respectively.
In this year, 12,682 patents for inventions were granted, representing an increase of 66.1% over the previous year. A balance between input of filings and output of granted patents for utility models and industrial designs continued to be maintained and thus no backlog existed in granting these two types of patents.
By December 31, 2000, the SIPO received totally 15,802 international applications that designated China and entered China's national phase, among which only 4 were for utility models while all others were for invention patents.
746 international applications were received in this year, 523 more than the previous year. Among them, the proportion of service inventions increased sharply by 65.54%.
In 2000, 555 requests for reexamination were received, 92 more than the previous year, representing an increase of 20%. Among them, 54 requests were made by those who were not satisfied with decisions on requests for revocation. Of all the above requests, 466 (including those against decisions on requests for revocation) were related to invention patents, accounting for 84% of the total. In 2000, 817 reexamination cases were concluded. Among the cases closed with written decisions, 38.6% was settled through revocation of the original decisions on rejection made by examination department concerned as well as of decisions on requests for revocation.
1,194 requests for invalidation were received in 2000, an increase of 411 or 52% over the previous year. In the same year, totally 1561 invalidation cases were handled and concluded. Among the cases closed with written decisions, 39.1% were declared invalid, 7.9% partially invalid, and 53% maintained their validity.
The Patent Reexamination Board adopted a series of measures to eliminate backlog. As a result, 2,378 cases of reexamination and requests for invalidation were settled in 2000, showing an increase of 98.8%, compared with the number of 1,196 cases in 1999. In 2000, a total number of 1,749 requests for reexamination and requests for invalidation were received. For the first time, the amount of cases closed by the Board exceeded that of requests received in the same year, realizing a favorable balance.
According to statistics in 2000, local patent administrative authorities of provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the central government, and coastal open cities received altogether 802 patent dispute cases, of which 718 cases or 89.5% were concluded. Among those received, 722 cases related to patent infringement, 48 cases related to disputes over patent filing rights and patent ownership rights, and 32 cases related to other disputes.
Following promulgation of Regulations on Patent Protection in Guangdong, Sichuan, Shandong and other provinces and municipalities, the People's Congress of Henan province passed its Regulations on Patent Protection in 2000. To date, 12 provinces and municipalities promulgated local Regulations on Patent Protection. These Regulations would intensify the law enforcement and provide local intellectual property administrative authorities with more means of enforcement. Furthermore, the Regulations would also give more power to local patent administrative authorities at municipal levels to enforce the law by administrative measures.
III. Marked Achievements Were Scored in Trademark Work
The year 2000 witnessed remarkable achievements in trademark registration and management. The Trademark Office (TMO) of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) received a total of 223,177 trademark applications for goods and service, an increase of 52,462 over that of 1999. Of this total number, 181,717 (or 81.4%) were domestic applications, 24,623 (or 11%) were from abroad, and 16,837 (or 7.6%) were made in conjunction of the territorial extension of international trademark registration in accordance with Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks. In addition, the TMO also received 42 applications for the registration of certification marks, 3 for collective marks and 256 for special marks. In the year 2000, the TMO totally examined 167,307 trademark applications, dealt with 19,247 applications for modification of registered trademarks, handled 17,223 applications for assignment of registered marks, renewed 10,929 registered trademarks, annulled and/or canceled 1,905 registered marks, recorded 10,600 trademark license contracts. The TMO totally approved 158,575 applications for registration in the whole year of 2000. The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board received, in total, 5,497 applications of various kinds for review and adjudication, and concluded 5,639. By the end of 2000, the total number of valid registered trademarks in China had reached 1,249,803.
In 2000, the administrations for industry and commerce (AICs) at various levels across the nation brought their function of administrative law enforcement into full play and attached more importance to trademark enforcement. The AICs focused their work on the protection of the exclusive rights of trademarks, intensified force in handling trademark cases, and severely cracked down upon trademark counterfeiting and infringement. Thus, the legitimate rights and interests of trademark registrants and consumers were effectively protected and a favorable legal environment for trademark protection was created, which was of importance to improve China's environment for investment and to maintain fair competition and market order. One major move in this year was to adjust the Catalogue for Protecting National Key Trademarks. The Catalogue called for intensified protection for 280 registered trademarks (including 150 domestic well-known trademarks, and 130 foreign ones) that were relatively well-known in the marketplace and were seriously infringed and counterfeited in more than two provincial-level administrative regions. Local AICs investigated and handled in accordance with the law a batch of influential cases severely infringing trademark right. The second move was to launch a nation-wide 3-month campaign, starting from September, to protect intensively the exclusive right of certification marks. This campaign provided special protection to 120 certification marks of 35 registrants by seriously cracking down upon activities of infringing the exclusive right of these marks, such as infringement of the representations of iodine salt, of green food, and of genuine leather. The third important move in this year was to carry out a special action against trademark infringement and counterfeiting in automobile and garment market. Through unified deployment and effective measures, positive results were achieved in this fight, which was highly appraised by trademark registrants. The fourth move was to attach more attention and force to investigating and handling some major and influential cases. To do so, any barriers must be removed and investigations be thorough. A batch of major and influential cases such as the case of counterfeiting "Hero" pens in Jiangxi, the case of counterfeiting "Kangfulai" oral liquid in Zhejiang and so on were investigated and handled strictly according to law. The fifth move was to reinforce the investigation and handling of foreign-related trademark cases, so as to keep improving the environment for foreign investment and to protect legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors. In this year, the AICs investigated and handled a large number of foreign-related trademark-infringement cases such as the case of infringing the exclusive right of "UL" certification mark, the case of using the trademark of well-known foreign cars as the symbol of garages without authorization and so on. According to statistics, 38,240 trademark law-breaking cases of various kinds were investigated and handled across the country in 2000, of which 22,001 related to trademark-infringement and counterfeiting, and 16,239 were ordinary law-breaking cases. In the above cases, 230 million pieces/sets of illegal trademark representations were seized and removed. 10,252 molds, plates and other equipment of offense as directly and exclusively used in the trademark infringement were confiscated. Totally 140 million RMB fines were levied, about 3.4363 million RMB were paid by infringers to compensate economic damages suffered by right holders, and most severely, 45 offenders were handed over to judicial organs for criminal prosecution.
Since the Measures on Administration of Trademark Agency was put into effect on January 1st, 2000, the TMO of the SAIC had focused its work on implementing the Measures by enhancing supervision over operation of trademark agencies and further standardizing behaviors of trademark agents. In this year, the performance and service quality of trademark agencies were significantly improved. In addition, the TMO successfully organized the qualification examination for being trademark agents, which was for the first time available to the whole public. As a result, 551 participants passed the examination and were approved as trademark agents. Furthermore, the TMO restructured sub-branches of trademark agencies, strengthened its regular supervision over trademark agencies, and seriously investigated and handled illegal behaviors of trademark agents and behaviors of unfair competition. Thus, the order in trademark agent profession was well maintained.
IV. Copyright Protection Was Further Heightened
According to statistics of the National Copyright Administration (NCAC), the number of copyright cases received and the amount of pirated works confiscated in the year 2000 by copyright administrations at various levels across the nation kept increasing, compared with the previous years. The local copyright administrations received and handled a total of 2,457 cases, of which 2,433 (or 99.02%) were resolved. Among all the above cases, 1,726 were concluded by the imposition of fines, 479 were handled through mediation and 103 were handed over to judicial authorities. The top five regions that received and concluded the most cases were Guangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Shandong and Anhui.
The local copyright administrations confiscated about 32.6 million pirated works of different kinds, of which 12.99 million were pirated books, 4.11 million were pirated software, 15.37 million consisted of pirated audio-visual products and electronic publications and 0.14 million were other pirated products. The top five regions where most pirated works were seized were Guangdong, Anhui, Hunan, Shandong and Fujian.
At the same time, Anti-Piracy Alliance at different localities continued to fight against piracy and scored initial achievements. In the year 2000, Beijing, Liaoning and Heilongjiang respectively established Anti-Piracy Alliance. Such Anti-Piracy Alliance had been established in 11 regions by the end of 2000.
One major influential copyright case took place in Shanghai in the year 2000. On June 14th, Shanghai Intermediate People's Court announced its first instance judgement on the first criminal copyright case. Two accused offenders, who copied without authorization other person's books and sold the pirated books illegally, were sentenced respectively to 2-year imprisonment and one and a half-year imprisonment. Fines were also imposed on the offenders and their illegal income were confiscated.
In order to promote copyright trade at Beijing International Books Fair (BIBF), the NCAC sponsored in March 2000 the second "BIBF International Copyright Trade Symposium". 230 publishing houses from all over China were present at the symposium. At the following 8th BIBF, 6,879 copyright trade contracts and contracts of intent were signed, an increase of 64% over the previous fair. The publication communities in China became more and more enthusiastic about copyright trade. In September, hundreds of publishers from China attended Frankfort Books Fair, a historical record high.
According to statistics in 2000, 14 copyright agencies in China dealt with a total of 1,319 copyrighted books, 4,230 hours of copyrighted TV programs and 62 cases over copyright disputes. The top companies that handled most copyrighted books were the Copyright Representation Division of China Books and Magazines Import and Export Corporation, Beijing Copyright Agency, Guangxi Wanda Copyright Agency and China Copyright Agency.
According to statistics of the NCAC, publishing houses throughout the country totally imported 7,343 types of copyrighted books and exported about 638 types of copyrighted works in 2000. The import and export volumes were the highest over years. The five regions most active in import were Beijing, Shanghai, Liaoning, Guangdong and Jiangsu; while the most active regions in export were Beijing, Liaoniang, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Sichuan. With regard to audio-visual copyright trade, the NCAC approved 1,765 contracts of importing audio-visual products in the year 2000, among which 911 related to audio products and 854 to visual products.
In 2000, a total of 6,474 works were registered with the local copyright administrations and China Software Registration Center. Among them, 2,067 were works of fine arts and photographic works, 715 were literary works. China Copyright Protection Center registered 3,300 pieces of software, showing a certain increase over previous years. The top five regions with the most registered works were Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Liaoning.
V. The Customs Administration Made Remarkable Progress in Anti-Counterfeiting
In 2000, the Customs Administration investigated and handled 295 intellectual property right (IPR) infringement cases in the process of import and export, involving a total value of 56.69 million RMB. Among these cases, 7 related to import of infringed products while 288 related to export of such goods. The customs offices across China earnestly carried out the State Council's circular on launching a joint anti-counterfeiting campaign. Effective measures were adopted in this campaign. The focus was placed on investigation and handling of exported goods bearing passing-off registered trademark, especially of those goods involving internationally well-known trademark of foreign enterprises with investment in China. Hence a more favorable environment for foreign investment was created in China. During the anti-counterfeiting campaign, 57 cases of exported counterfeiting goods were investigated and handled, most of which related to exporting passing-off goods with internationally famous trademarks.
Major cases investigated and handled by the customs offices across the country in the anti-counterfeiting campaign in the year 2000 included:
On November 15th, Changchun customs office, after monitoring and investigation, confiscated 946 counterfeiting Toshiba TV sets, which were to be exported by one company in Huichun to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The goods valued around 680,000 RMB;
On November 20th, Nanjing customs office confiscated 17,160 bottles of ONEHAN SHOW perfume to be exported by one cosmetics company in Jiangsu province;
On November 20th, Urumqi customs office confiscated 1512 pieces of passing-off BOSS leather handbags declared for export by one company in Xinjiang; On November 27th, Urumqi Customs Office confiscated 7,210 pairs of passing-off NIKE and CAT sneakers declared for export by one company in Keshen;
On November 24th, Xiamen customs office seized 12,352 boxes of passing-off 555 cigarettes to be exported by one company in Xiamen;
On November 25th, Shanghai customs office confiscated 13,440 pieces of passing-off ADIDAS caps to be exported by one company in Jiangsu province;
On December 1st, Beijing customs office confiscated 4,036 pairs of passing-off NIKE sneakers;
On December 8th, Gongbei customs office confiscated 2,264 pieces of passing-off ROLEX watches to be exported by one company in Zhuhai city of Guangdong province;
On December 11th, Fuzhou customs office seized 13,392 pairs of passing-off ADIDAS sneakers when checking exported products; on 19th of the same month, the Office confiscated 5,415 pieces of passing-off ADIDAS sportswear declared for export by one company in Fujian province;
On December 15th, Ningbo customs office confiscated a number of 100,000 pieces of passing-off CITIZEN calculators to be exported by one company in Tianjin; On December 24th, the Office confiscated 2,600 pieces of passing-off HONDA motorcycle spares to be exported by one company in Ningbo city;
On December 15th, Shenzhen customs office confiscated 4,200 passing-off BOSS trousers, worth of 179,760 RMB.
In the year 2000, local customs offices investigated nearly 80 batches of exported products bearing UL symbols, among which 29 batches were identified as counterfeiting, worthy of 2.3 million US dollars. Through the efforts of customs offices, the reputation of China's exported products was guaranteed, the national interests were safeguarded and healthy development of this country's foreign trade and economy were promoted.
For the purpose of strengthening coordination with IPR right holders, the Customs Administration had established recently formal cooperative relationship with the Board of Protecting Products of Good Quality Brand under the China Association of Foreign Investment. The IPR protection was focused on protection of legitimate rights and interests of foreign corporations investing in China.
VI. Rectification of Audio-Visual Market Progressed Rapidly
In 2000, the principle of "promoting prosperity while enhancing management" was applied to administration of the audio-visual (AV) market. On one hand, focus was placed on the long-term and basic standardization work, aiming at strengthening construction of the legal system, intensifying IPR protection, improving the mechanism for administration and restructuring the AV market. On the other hand, efforts were also made to realize some immediate targets such as amplifying administration of AV market, supporting energetically chain shops and supermarkets, carrying out extensive publicity of laws and regulations and further standardizing the market order.
To face the constantly changing audio-visual market and to speed up construction of relevant legal systems, the Ministry of Culture issued on 17th March the Circular on Matters Regarding Operation of Audio-Visual Business on the Net, which not only regulated operational activities of AV business on the net but also gave proper guidance and impetus to the healthy development of these operational activities. In order to meet the needs of information distribution in the AV market, the Ministry of Culture and China Cultural Information Network co-sponsored China Audio-Visual Market Net, where laws and policies, newsletters and on-line report of offence were available.
In 2000, major progress was made in restructuring and rectification of the AV market. The work was mainly focused on rectifying and cleaning up AV distribution centers and video-projection market, promoting development of chain shops, supermarket and e-commerce. By the end of 2000, the country had closed down over 90 AV product distribution centers where illegal operations were serious, basically realizing the target of closing 50% AV product distribution centers. The Shanghai Municipal authority for administering AV market applied the principle of comprehensive control and reasonable distribution to establish a healthy AV market. Under both administrative support and market mechanism, two major chain systems for AV products were founded in this city. Shanghai Meiya Corporation invested over 100 million RMB in building up 200 chain shops. Oriental Audio-Visual Corporation, with Xinhua Bookstore as its major business partner, also opened up over 50 chain shops. In addition, some small-sized chain shops subordinate to other entities also made marked progress. In 2000, over 3.3 million pieces of illegal AV products were confiscated in Shanghai. Due to standardized administration and effective law enforcement, about 90% of the AV products sold by AV business in Shanghai were legal and authentic.
For the purpose of severely cracking down upon illegal AV products and guaranteeing the healthy development and prosperity of the AV business, from January to March 15th, 2000, the Ministry of Culture launched a nation-wide special campaign against illegal AV products. According to incomplete statistics, during the campaign, totally 6,188,000 pieces of illegal AV products were confiscated and over 5000 illegal shops or dens were investigated and rectified. Besides, over 1,750 shops were closed down or their license revoked. More than 4.3 million pieces of illegal AV products were destroyed. As a result, the campaign not only stroke relentless blows at those offenders engaged in producing and distributing illegal AV products but also promoted greatly the publication and circulation of legal and authentic AV products.
From May to July, the Ministry of Culture launched the second National Campaign for Publicity of Laws and Regulations in the AV Market, which main theme was " Cracking Down Upon Smuggling and Piracy While Protecting Knowledge Innovation". Besides, in the same period, the Ministry carried out a special action against piracy, illegal printing and smuggling of illegal discs. The Market Department of the Ministry and China Cultural News co-sponsored a publicity activity at which articles across the country were solicited and some 20 excellent articles were published. The department also co-organized, with China Central Television (CCTV) in its feature program "Cultural View", a special program called "Say No to Pirated Discs". Based upon anti-piracy publicity drive in both 1999 and 2000, public awareness of anti-piracy in AV market was more widely and highly promoted in the whole society.
In order to protect the development of national culture industry in the context of a more open international environment, from October to November, the Ministry of Culture organized a special action against pirated folk music and illegal AV products of traditional Chinese operas. Guangdong province conducted thorough checks of AV shops and consequently confiscated 2.73 million pieces (cassettes) of pirated folk music, traditional Chinese operas and other illegal AV products. Guangzhou municipal authority shut down 17 illegal AV product dens and confiscated over 2 million pieces (cassettes) of illegal AV products. Hebei province published a catalogue of illegal AV products that were or would be confiscated. For example, Handan city found a storehouse and seized 270,000 pieces (cassettes) of illegal AV products in it. In Henan province, the Yellow River Audio-Visual Product Publishing House suffered terribly from a large-scale piracy of its published products of folk music and traditional Chinese operas. To tackle that problem, Henan province initiated a so-called "Protecting the Yellow River" action against such piracy. Owning to this anti-piracy action, many medium- and small-sized publishing houses, which mainly relied on domestic AV programs, won an opportunity to survive the piracy and enjoy further development. This action created an agreeable market environment for sustainable prosperity and development of national culture and arts.
VII. The Public Security Organs Intensified IPR Enforcement
In 2000, the public security organs across the nation seized and confiscated a large quantity of illegal publications, including a total of 15.87 million books and magazines, and 54.17 million pieces of audio-video (AV) products. In addition, they also investigated and handled around 6000 cases concerning production and sales of pornographic, infringing and pirated products, captured 5700 suspected offenders, and seized 25 illegal disc production lines.
Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department continued to investigate and unearth illegal disc production lines by adopting various measures such as collecting clues extensively and conducting thorough checks. In 2000, 19 illegal disc production lines were discovered and seized, including seizure for the first time of a master disc production line and a DVD production line. The Guangdong police was highly appraised by the National Anti-Pornographic Office and the Ministry of Public Security. On November 17, 2000, the public security organ of Jinjiang City, Fujian Province seized an illegal disc production line and captured a suspected offender. From 1995 to the end of 2000, a total of 111 illegal disc production lines were seized in whole China.
In 2000, public security organs of Beijing, Shanghai, Hebei, Sichuan, Shandong etc. investigated and dealt with 7 major and influential cases. In the second half of March, uncovering a case concerning printing of pornographic publications, public security organs of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province arrested 14 major suspected offenders on the spot, and confiscated a passel of illegal books and periodicals. Moreover, breakthroughs were made in investigation of some major piracy cases, such as pirated College English and Cihai Dictionary. By now, major suspected offenders of the above-mentioned two cases had been captured, and approximately 100 thousand pirated books had been confiscated.
In 2000, public security organs throughout the country closely cooperated, under unified deployment, with other authorities in charge of publicity, culture, and copyright. They heightened administration of the publication market, and launched two special movements respectively titled "Cracking down upon pirated audio-visual products of folk music and traditional operas" and "Cracking down upon pirated DVD". During the campaigns, a great many of pirated books, periodicals, AV products and electronic publications were found and confiscated, and some dens for production and sales of pornographic and pirated products were smashed. Ningbo City of Zhejiang Province, in view of the serious phenomenon of sales of pirated discs in Linqiao Market, took effective measures to seize 10,000 discs in the market. In the middle of June, after extensive and detailed investigation, Tianjin police smashed 3 underground dens for wholesale of pirated books and periodicals. In this raid, 14,000 pirated books were seized. In early December, public security organs in Ghuangzhou City confiscated more than 296,000 pirated discs. To cope with increasingly severe criminal activities that used high technologies, such as Internet, to produce and sell pornographic materials, public security organs intensified monitoring over the Internet, and investigated and handled a batch of cases of this kind. On June 2, 2000, public security organs of Huanggang City, Hubei Province captured Zhang Baoli and his accomplices who were suspected of producing, selling and disseminating pornographic goods by using their own website "Love Triple Group". The three offenders had been seriously punished.
VIII. Initial Success Was Achieved In Protection of New Varieties of Plants
In order to meet the demand of breeders from both home and abroad for applying for protection of new varieties of plants, the Ministry of Agriculture worked out and published in 2000, based upon extensive consultation and solicitation of opinions and in accordance with provisions of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (version in 1978), the list of protected new varieties of plants (the second batch), consisting of 9 botanical genera and species of plants such as wheat, soybean, oil-seed rape, peanut, tomato, cucumber, pepper, pear, dock and so on. To date, 19 botanical genera and species of plants were under protection. As a result, the number of plant species that could be applied for variety right increased from four species, namely rice, maize, Chinese cabbage, potato, to 13, including soybean and carnation.
The State Forestry Administration also published the list of protected new varieties of plants, consisting of 17 botanical genera and species such as Poplar, Willow, Eucalyptus, Chestnut, Walnut, Date, Persimmon, Apricot, Ginkgo, Tung Oil Tree, Taxus, Rhododendron, Peach Flower, Crape Myrtle, Manchu Cherry, Wintersweet, Sweet Osmanthus and so on. At present, 24 botanical genera and species of forest plants were under protection of the State Forestry Administration (pulus tomentosa Carr. fell into category of Poplar).
In 2000, the Ministry of Agriculture received 111 domestic applications for variety rights, and only 1 from abroad (Japan). Since the implementation of the "Regulations on the Protection of the New Varieties of Plants of the People's Republic of China", the Ministry of Agriculture had received 227 applications, both from home and abroad, including agricultural crops, vegetables, ornamentals, fruits, forage grass, of which 157 were for maize and 32 for rice.
The examination procedures for granting variety rights were improved properly. By December 31, 2000, 87 applications for variety rights had passed the preliminary examination, 64 had taken the DUS test for rice, maize, and Chinese cabbage, and consequently 49 variety rights had been granted.
In 2000, the State Forestry Administration received 58 applications for forest variety rights. By the end of 2000, the administration had received a total of 167 applications for variety rights. After preliminary and then substantive examination, the State Forestry Administration granted 29 variety rights, including 5 for new flower varieties filed from France and the Netherlands.
In 2000, the Ministry of Agriculture intensified the construction of the Testing System for Protection of New Varieties of Plants. With support from the State Commission for Development and Planning, the Ministry approved to establish the Testing Center for New Varieties of Plants subordinate to the Ministry, as well as 14 sub-testing centers. The testing centers would ensure the operation of DUS Testing for New Varieties of Plants. In 2000, the above-mentioned testing authorities finished 125 testing for maize, 13 for rice and 7 for Chinese cabbage.
In October 2000, the Ministry of Agriculture organized the second Training Course for Agents. Approximately 60 trainees, coming from agricultural science research institutes and education organizations, participated in the course, 35 of whom passed the final examination and became qualified agents. By then, the number of agents for agricultural new varieties of plants reached 65. Among all applications for variety rights filed with the Ministry, 90% was represented by agents.
In July 2000, the State Forestry Administration organized in Zhanjiang City of Guangdong province a training course on the protection of new varieties of plants, at which 73 agents and administrative staffs for new varieties of forest plants were trained. At present, 120 persons were approved to be qualified agents for new varieties of forest plants.
In 2000, the Ministry of Agriculture invited experts from France and the Netherlands to give lectures to some Chinese testing staffs on DUS testing of new varieties of plants. Besides, 5 staffs were sent to USA and Japan for studying the examination and testing skills for new varieties of plants. Moreover, representatives of the Ministry attended the Asian Regional Technical Coordination Meeting, which was co-organized by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.
In order to fulfill the rights and obligations of a member state to UPOV, the State Forestry Administration and UPOV co-organized in 2000 an Asian Regional Seminar on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants in Japan. Aiming at taking in advanced experience and technologies from abroad, and promoting the protection level of new varieties of plants, the State Forestry Administration sent its staffs respectively to the Netherlands and USA for a six-month-long study of administration and testing skills for the protection of new varieties of plants. Furthermore, staffs were also sent to the Fourth Training Course on the Protection of the New Varieties of Plants, organized by the Plant Breeders' Right Board in the Netherlands.
In 2000, the State Forestry Administration approved the establishment of the Beijing Beilin Fangyuan Plant Varieties Right Agency. The agency was also entrusted to deal with foreign-related applications and cases.
IX. International Cooperation and Exchange
On November 5, 2000, Xu Jialu, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, headed the NPC delegation to visit the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It was the first time for a NPC delegation to visit the WIPO.
From September 24 to October 4, the Chinese delegation, composed of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the SIPO, the SAIC, the NCAC, the Intellectual Property Office of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the Chinese representatives to United Nations in Geneva, attended the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO (Thirty-fifth Series of Meetings). The delegation presented at the Assemblies the Chinese government's views on major intellectual property issues of international common concern. It was also at this meeting that the proposal, put forward by China and Algeria, to establish the April 26 as the World Intellectual Property Day, was adopted.
From 4 to 15 December, according to the Year 2000 Working Plan of the EU-China Intellectual Property Program, the SIPO organized a study visit to Europe for inspecting IPR legislation and enforcement. The group was composed of representatives from the SIPO, the Legislative Office of the State Council, the Education, Science, Culture and Health Commission of the NPC and the Supreme People's Court. During their stay in Europe, the group visited the European Patent Office, the German Patent and Trademark Office, the European Union headquarter, the Belgian Supreme Court, the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office and the Siemens Company, achieving quite positive results.
From May 11 to June 2, the Chinese delegation attended the "Diplomatic Conference on the Adoption of the Patent Law Treaty", convened in Geneva, Switzerland. It was at this conference that the Patent Law Treaty, together with the Implementing Rules for the Patent Law Treaty were approved. The Chinese government signed the final text of the Patent Law Treaty.
In accordance with the Year 2000 Working Plan of the EU-China Intellectual Property Cooperation Program, the SIPO co-organized with European Patent Office in Beijing in July an "International Symposium on Intellectual Property Protection in China---Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century".
From 10 to 12 October, the "WIPO Asian Regional Seminar on Intellectual Property Protection for High and New Technology" was convened in Beijing. Dr. Kamil Idris, Director General of WIPO addressed the opening ceremony. More than 40 senior participants from Asian intellectual property community (from governments and enterprises) and 43 domestic participants were present at the seminar. Participants discussed patent protection for computer software, patent protection for bio-technologies, development of digital technology and copyright protection, and protection for trademark and domain name in e-business.
In 2000, the TMO received 32 foreign delegations. It also sent 32 delegations abroad, including delegations to 10 WIPO meetings, delegations to visit Switzerland, France, Germany, Thailand, Spain and the Democratic People's Public of Korea and 21 delegations to attend training courses/seminars in Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, the Democratic People's Public of Korea, the Republic of South Korea, Thailand, Italy and Singapore. Through extensive international exchange and cooperation, the TMO absorbed advanced experience from other countries, publicized China's Trademark system, enhanced exchange and cooperation with other countries in the field of trademark, and expanded China's influence in the international intellectual property community.
The year 2000 also witnessed increasingly active international exchange and cooperation in the field of copyright. In order to further strengthen copyright protection in China, and to promote exchange and friendship between China and international copyright organizations, the NCAC sent abroad 26 delegations consecutively to attend various meetings or to visit other countries. Moreover, fruitful achievements were also scored in bilateral and multilateral cooperation on copyright with EU, Japan and other countries and organizations.
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