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China puts piracy on the stand

Measures creates Judicial Court of Intellectual Property

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 fueling pressure from abroad.

Measures creating the Judicial Court of Intellectual Property, announced Friday, came as part of the annual National People’s Congress, the Communist Party gathering that 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% 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.

Those incurring losses due to counterfeiters include Chinese manufacturers with products of local origin and Chinese licenseholders 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 intellectual property, a 28% increase over 2004. They convicted 741 people. A further 16,400 civil cases were heard, with that figure also up more than 20%.

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

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