IPR cases in court up 38%

BEIJING — China’s top judge, Wang Shengjun, told the country’s annual legislature, the National People’s Congress, that last year 66,000 intellectual property rights cases went to litigation, up 38% over 2010.

Protecting copyright and smashing piracy has been a prime concern for Hollywood as it tries to make its way in the booming Chinese market.

Recently the Chinese government has opened the doors to more Hollywood products within the quota system for foreign movies, and said it would redouble efforts to crush the pirates.

Wang said the rise was partially to do with dozens of new measures introduced by the Special People’s Court to enhance IPR protection.

The supreme court also supervised trials of 44 cases involving serious offenses, he said.

Top helmer Zhang Yimou said beating the pirates was crucial to help the Chinese film biz and tougher legislation was needed.

“At the moment, 90% of income comes from the theatrical release, but the biggest potential market is online or other derivatives, and this is the area hardest hit by the pirates,” Zhang told the Xinhua news agency at the congress.

This year the courts across China will pay special attention to the arts and movies, because “China is vigorously promoting the development of culture,” legislators heard.

Meanwhile, another top branch of the state apparatus, the Supreme People’s Procurator, said prosecutors last year charged 6,870 suspects with IPR violations.

One particular challenge was making sure that the judiciary understood the kind of problems they would have to deal with and raising levels of IPR awareness was something that China would try to do more to bring about.

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