The protection of geographical indication is one of the essential approaches of China’s protection of intellectual property, to which the Chinese government has attached great importance. After years of operation it has developed into a system conforming to international practice and has attained notable achievements, and its increasing international recognition has played an important role in promoting China’s economic development and international trade.
The protection of geographical indication
The following national departments are engaged in the protection of geographical indication.
1. The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the protection of geographical indications of agricultural products. However, there is no specific rule or regulation specifying how to protect geographical indications of agricultural products.
2. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine is responsible for the protection of geographical indication products.
According to Provisions for the protection of geographical indication products, quality inspection departments offer protection to geographical indication products. The quality and technical supervision department and the entry-exit inspection and quarantine department investigate and punish the infringement and forgery of geographical indication products.
3. The State Administration for Industry & Commerce is responsible for the protection of geographical indications for collective trademarks and certified trademarks.
According to the Trademark law, disputes caused by trademark infringement can be resolved by the interested parties through consultation. Interested party may institute legal proceedings in the People’s Court or request the administrative authority for industry and commerce for actions if they are reluctant to resolve the matter through consultation or the consultation fails.
Once infringement of the act is established by the administrative authority for industry and commerce, the infringer will be ordered to immediately stop the infringing act and be subject to a fine and the infringing goods will be confiscated and destroyed.
Policies of developing geographical indication
The National intellectual Property Strategy Compendium, published by the State Council in 2008, advocates strengthening of protection of geographical indication and establishes a sound system of technical standards, quality assurance and inspection for that purpose.
To date, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has set up a system concerning standards, inspection and quality assurance that conforms to international practices of the sui generis geographical indication system. A compulsory quality and technical requirement is formulated to every protected geographical indication product, along with the respective technical norms or local standards. The provincial quality supervision and inspection department is authorized to set up an inspection and quality assurance system and to designate qualified inspection bodies to carry out routine supervision.
In line with the requirement of the Chinese government for a special campaign of intellectual property protection, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has implemented special measures to strengthen the protection of geographical indication products. As an approach to further improve geographical indication protection, it has introduced a warning and notification mechanism against fake geographical indication products.
The environment of geographical indication protection in China
According to The Situation of Intellectual Property Protection in China in the Year of 2017,published by the China National intellectual Property Administration, the protection of geographical indications for collective trademarks and certified trademarks has been strengthened continually and 532 geographical indications for collective trademarks and certified trademarks were registered through the year. By the end of 2017, 3906 geographical indication trademark application had been approved, and 238 kinds of products were certificated with geographical indications as agricultural products. By the end of 2017 2242 agricultural product had been registered and certificated.
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce, having strengthened protection of geographical indications, investigated a case of infringement of the "Luochuan Apple" geographical indication, and punished the infringer.
The administration also focused on publicity of geographical indication protection. It strengthened the information about accurate poverty alleviation related to geographical indications, held an exhibition of Chinese geographical indication products during the World Congress of Geographical Indications in 2017, and publicized “Geographical Indications in The Belt and the Road”, strengthening the public awareness of geographical indication.
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce also paid more attention to international cooperation. It actively participated in the negotiation of geographical indications between China and Europe and cooperated with the World Intellectual Property Organization to jointly convene the World Congress on Geographical Indication.