Intellectual Property Rights

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This is an acute problem in China and has been widely acknowledged. China sees the protection of intellectual property as crucial for the development of the cultural and creative industries.In China, there are only 3 Intellectual Property Right (IPR) related laws: copyright law, label law and exclusive law. None of them are complete, and - along with the development of the design industry and the problems arising from this - laws are being implemented, updated and amended.\

Since joining the World Trade Organization, China has strengthened its legal framework and amended its IPR laws and regulations to comply with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Despite stronger statutory protection, China continues to be a haven for counterfeiters and pirates. According to one copyright industry association, the piracy rate remains one of the highest in the world (over 90 percent).

In 1998, China established the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), with the vision that it would coordinate China’s IP enforcement efforts by merging the patent, trademark and copyright offices under one authority. However, this has yet to occur. At the national level, SIPO is responsible for the examination of foreign and domestic patents and supervision of local SIPO bureaus. Provincial offices generally handle the administrative enforcement of patent complaints.Today, SIPO is responsible for granting patents, registering semiconductor layout designs, and enforcing patents (local SIPO offices), as well as coordinating domestic foreign-related IPR issues involving copyrights, trademarks and patents. Besides, some provinces and municipalities in China have established IPR bureaus or IPR committees to coordinate public awareness campaigns and, to a more limited extent, enforcement. A local IPR bureau is generally a good source for companies seeking information on local or regional enforcement mechanisms. (www.sipo.gov.cn)

To a certain extend the level of design has been improved and the public awareness of IPR been strengthened. To better protect IPR and provide the creative enterprises with intellectual property services, the government made a series of policies: