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China's IPR protection targets trade shows

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Trade shows have become the new focus of China's efforts in intellectual property rights (IPR) protection.
Blue Sky Trade Show Action was launched in Beijing on Monday, with the aim of preventing companies from exhibiting products that have infringed upon the rights of IPR holders, said Gao Hucheng, vice minister of commerce, at a press conference.

Giving no statistics of China's trade-show-related IPR infringements, Gao said that violations tended to "cluster" at trade shows because quite a number of organizers paid little attention to the IPR issue and gave the go-ahead to all companies eager to display their products.

He said that an increasing number of IPR-related complaints have been filed at trade shows, which was detrimental not only to China's IPR protection image but also to the sound development of the exhibition industry.

Currently, China has approximately 150 large and medium-sized exhibition halls whose aggregated floor area totals 3.5 million square meters. Last year, about 3,800 trade shows of various kinds were staged in the country, China's official data revealed.

"Some participants were found to be manufacturing counterfeits intentionally, some thought their moderately modified imitations had become legitimate while others were simply unaware of their infringement," said Wu Ningyan, assistant director of the State Intellectual Property Office.

"It was difficult to judge all these violations during trade shows. Further thorough investigations must be carried out," she said, adding that the lion's share of violations at trade shows involved patent infringement.

A special leading group has been established to supervise the implementation of the action plan, with its members coming from the Ministry of Commerce, the General Administration for Industry and Commerce, the National Copyright Administration, the State Intellectual Property Office and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade,

From now to March, the above departments will team up to launch a series of activities to upgrade China's IPR protection at trade shows. These activities include distributing materials, urging exhibition organizers to provide field guidance on making complaints, providing training to people employed in the exhibition industry and organizing symposiums for people to share their IPR protection experience.

All relevant law enforcement departments will send people with professional expertise to provide on-the-spot services at trade shows.

Being a part of China's IPR Protection Outline for 2006 and 2007, this action comes after China formulated the Measures on IPR Protection at Trade Shows in early March.


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