China bows copyright court

Foreign firms urged to use legal recourse

HONG KONG — China has set up a new court to prosecute cases of product piracy. Move underlines how copyright abuse is affecting local Chinese businesses as well as pressure from abroad.

Measures creating the Judicial Court of Intellectual Property were announced Friday came as part of the annual National People’s Congress, the annual Communist Party gathering which shapes government policy for the next year.

Announcement was made by supreme court spokesman Sun Huapu. Further endorsement came Saturday from Xiao Yang, president of the supreme court, and Jia Chunwang, procurator general.

Another supreme court judge Jiang Zhipei, said that 95 percent of copyright violations brought to court under current rules concerned mainland Chinese companies. He called for foreign companies to make better use of China’s legal system.

Losses to counterfeiters include Chinese manufacturers with products of local origin and Chinese license-holders of foreign-designed goods. However, delegates at the congress said that counterfeiters often had strong connections with city or regional judiciary, making it difficult to file suit.

According to a report presented at the congress mainland courts handled 3,529 criminal cases concerning IP, a 28 percent increase over 2004. They convicted 741 people. A further 16,400 civil cases were heard, a figure also up more than 20 percent.

Delegates were told that several mainland companies have been driven out of business because they could not properly protect their intellectual rights.

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