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China's police praised for intl cooperation & Q+A: Jack Chang
Date:2017-07-19



    China's police praised for intl cooperation


    Industry commentators call for even deeper collaboration given the scale of challenges faced by enforcement bodies worldwide

    Officials from embassies and international organizations have praised China's efforts against counterfeiting in recent years and have called for deeper international cooperation.

    They made the remarks on June 17 at a conference of the Quality Brands Protection Committee of the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment. The event unveiled the 2016-17 top cases of intellectual property protection, along with model cases of harmonized administrative and judicial IP enforcement.

    Grace Jiang, criminal intelligence officer at the Illicit Goods and Global Healthcare Program of the International Criminal Police Organization, took the opportunity to thank China for its contribution. 

     China's police praised for intl cooperation

    Law enforcement agencies involved in model cases accept plaques of gratitude from the Quality Brands Protection Committee. Provided to China Daily

    She said the Chinese police have participated in all of their activities, focusing on threats such as illicit medicines sold online, as well as counterfeit and substandard food and beverages.

    "Trafficking knows no boundary," she said. The fast evolution of technology and the growth of internet-based trade have enabled illegal groups to base themselves in one country, manufacture in a second and distribute via a third, with websites posted elsewhere and finances moving to additional jurisdictions, according to Jiang.

    She added that Interpol has been negotiating and facilitating local and regional cooperation.

    Joel Blank, intellectual property attache at the United States embassy in China, said at the conference that they have had long-standing cooperation with the QBPC, as well as "a full range of Chinese government agencies, think tanks and academics".

    "What we should be most proud of is the consistent commitment on all sides to create a mechanism for broad exchange, cooperation and dialogue," he said.

    Blank added that the Chinese government has implemented policies and reforms on many sectors, including IP. This not only meets its trade partners' expectations, but also meets the needed changes in the country's economic and business structure.

    China's police praised for intl cooperation

    Gunther Marten, minister-counselor and IP attache at the European Union delegation in China, said that the Chinese economy is growing fast and its IP protection work should grow at the same pace.

    The EU and China organized a judicial IP cooperation program called IP Key, lasting from 2013 to this month. It will restart in September and last until 2021. Under the program, Chinese and European judges who specialize in IP will have the opportunity to compare each other's laws and approaches, and to exchange ideas.

    Blank from the US embassy said: "Now it is more important than ever to celebrate our great improvement in combating IP rights infringement and increasing opportunities for innovation and creativity here in China and globally. It is equally important to recognize the aspects and actions that serve as examples of what has been done right and what to do right."

    Since 2002, the QBPC's annual top cases campaign has recognized individuals and collective leadership so that others can learn from their strategies, said Blank. "This is increasingly important, as we deal with complicated issues today, like online infringement, bad-faith trademark registration and cross-border activities."

    The top criminal cases selected this year mostly involved businesses related to people's daily life, such as food, medicine and maternal and infant supplies, with a greater focus on e-commerce platforms. Some of the cases were investigated under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Security, the nation's top police authority.

    The top non-criminal cases mostly concerned trademark infringement, unfair competition and administrative enforcement in cross-border trade.

    zhangzhao@chinadaily.com.cn

    (China Daily 06/22/2017 page17)




    Q+A: Jack Chang

    Jack Chang, chairman and co-founder of the Quality Brands Protection Committee of the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment, is a veteran in the intellectual property field. He shared his views on China's IP protection and management with China Daily reporter Zhang Zhao.

    What are your thoughts on the current government efforts to protect trademarks and brands in China?

    The cooperation between Chinese government agencies and overseas IP owners is an example of public and private sector collaboration worth emulating.

    Police leaders view IP crimes, particularly cross-border illicit trade of counterfeit goods, as serious threats to China's national economic security. The QBPC has built a strong partnership with the police authorities to help its members to move their criminal IP cases forward.

    The QBPC's customs training programs enable customs officials to better understand the brands and products of participating members. The seizure of counterfeit goods involving participating members' products has reportedly increased following the training programs.

    In terms of criminal enforcement, the recent landmark change is the significantly improved transparency of public prosecution against IP crimes driven by the Shanghai and Beijing people's procuratorates, with the support of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

    However, the size and scale of counterfeit problems remain vast. Online sales of trademark-infringing goods and copyright infringement pose a significant threat to consumer safety and IP owners. Public awareness of the importance of respecting IP and refusing counterfeit goods is relatively low. Therefore, it is critical for all stakeholders to recognize the progress made in China and to work together to tackle new and ongoing challenges.

    What do you expect most in brand protection? How should the government, companies and industry associations cooperate?

    Chinese and foreign companies are in the same boat in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. There is still much room for strengthening partnerships between the QBPC and Chinese companies.

    A solid foundation has already been built. The QBPC is a non-profit organization playing the role of a bridge between China and the international community in the IP field. It acts as a window for the international community to better understand China's IP and business environment. Interactions between the QBPC and the Chinese government need to be enhanced further.

     

    Q+A: Jack Chang

    Why did the QBPC start the annual top cases campaign in 2002? What has kept it going over the past years?

    The inspiration came in 2001 with a county police unit that undertook an outstanding criminal investigation. It involved a group that manufactured and sold equipment for making adhesive bandages and taught their customers how to counterfeit a well-known US brand of adhesive bandages.

    The police raided the group and seized the suspects, and rejected their bribe to keep digging into the counterfeit network.

    I shared the story with QBPC leaders and suggested that the committee come up with an objective standard and transparent process for members to nominate Chinese law enforcement agencies that have done an outstanding job protecting IP. The system selects the top 10 criminal cases through anonymous voting.

    The QBPC invited the winning agencies to its annual meeting in 2002 to express appreciation.

    Years later, the QBPC created the non-criminal case category and model cases of harmonized administrative and judicial enforcement. The lessons learned from the cases serve as a tool in our training. More importantly, these cases are live examples of the progress IP protection is making in China.

    What suggestions do you have for Chinese companies regarding brand management and IP protection?

    It is a standard operating procedure for foreign brand owners to conduct due diligence during the process of devising trademarks, applying for registration and launching their products. Foreign brand owners devise trademarks that can differentiate them from competitors and other popular brands in the market. However, quite a high number of Chinese domestic companies design their trademarks to be similar to other leading brands in the same market. This approach and the related brand building activities do not help to establish a quality brand. Brand protection work is a high priority on the senior management's agenda and is undertaken by dedicated professional teams following strict compliance policies. This is also an area that domestic brand owners can learn from their foreign counterparts.

     

    (China Daily 06/22/2017 page17)

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