V. TRADE-RELATED INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY REGIME
251. The representative of China stated that China had made the protection of intellectual property rights ("IPRs") an essential component of its reform and opening-up policy and socialist legal construction. The formulation of laws and regulations in this field could be traced back to the late 1970s. Since then, China had joined relevant international conventions and had actively participated in the activities sponsored by relevant international organizations. It had intensified its exchanges and cooperation with countries throughout the world in the field of IPR protection. As a result, notwithstanding the initial stage of its development, China's IPR protection system aimed at achieving world dimension and world standards. Lists of administrative rules concerning intellectual property rights currently in force in China were presented below in Table A. The status of ongoing reforms and other relevant information was presented in Table B in the following paragraph. Other laws, regulations and measures relating to the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement had been or would be notified to the WTO and would be made available upon request.
Table A: The Administrative Rules of China Concerning Intellectual Property Rights
The following three parts were the administrative rules regarding protection of intellectual property right, which were still in force in China. As an important part of China's IPR legal system, these rules had a great effect on IPR protection, enforcing the IPR law, etc.
Part I List of Administrative Rules Regarding Protection of Patent Right
Part II List of Administrative Rules Regarding Protection of Trademark
Part III List of Administrative Rules Regarding Protection of Copyright
Part I List of Administrative Rules Regarding Protection of Patent Right
(i) Methods on the Showing the Identification of Right of Priority to Applicant made by Patent Office of China (1 March 1988)
(ii) Opinions of the Patent Office of China concerning the Implementation of the Regulations on Patent Commissioning (19 April 1991)
(iii) Explanation of the Patent Office of China on Certain Matters Relating to the Commissioning Involving Foreign Interests (16 November 1987)
(iv) Decree of Patent Office of China (No.26) (20 November 1989)
(v) Decree of Patent Office of China (No.27) (21 December 1989)
(vi) Decree of Patent Office of China (No.31) (14 March 1991)
(vii) Procedures for Administrative Reconsideration of Patent Office of the People's Republic of China (for Trial Implementation) (21 December 1992)
(viii) Methods of Handling the Patent Disputes by the Administrative Authorities for Patent Affairs (4 December 1989)
Part II List of Administrative Rules Regarding Protection of Trademark
(i) Circular on the Commodities Demanded to Use Registered Trademark made by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (14 January 1988)
(ii) Circular on the Prohibition from Registering the Other Person's Trademark Abroad without Being Authorized made by State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Economy and Trade (19 November 1990)
(iii) Interim Provisions on Claims for Priority in Applying for Registration of Trademarks made by State Administration for Industry and Commerce (15 March 1983)
(iv) Methods of the Application International Registration of Trademark of Madrid made by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (2 March 1989)
(v) Circular on the Stopping Using the Literal of "Xiang Bin" or "Champagne" in Varieties of Commodities of Alcohol made by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (26 October 1989)
(vi) Circular on Printing and distributing " the Rules regarding the Question of Using Trademark in Can Food for Export" (15 October 1991)
(vii) Provisions on the Control over the Surrogate of Trademark
(viii) Provisions on the Registration of and the Control over the Collective Trademark and Certified Trademark (issued on 30 December 1994, revised on 3 December 1998)
(ix) Provisions on the Control over the Printing of Trademark (issued on 5 September 1996, revised on 3 December 1998)
Part III List of Administrative Rules Regarding Protection of Copyright
(i) Opinions of the National Copyright Administration on Questions Relating to Reprinting the Programs in Advance in Broadcast and Television (12 December 1987)
(ii) Circular of the National Copyright Administration of Printing and Distribution "Report Relating to Appropriate Handling the Copyright Question in the Process of Culture Communication with Taiwan" and "Interim Provisions Relating to the Copyright Question of Pressing the Works Written by Taiwan Compatriots" (8 February 1988)
(iii) Circular of National Copyright Administration regarding the Points for Attention of Transferring Copyright to Taiwan's Press Person (26 December 1987)
(iv) Opinions of National Copyright Administration on Matters Relating to Local Work on Copyright Management (May 1988)
(v) Circular of the National Copyright Administration concerning Procedures of Examining and Verifying the Copyright Trading Contract Between the Mainland and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan (2 November 1988)
(vi) Opinions on Certain Matters of the National Copyright Administration concerning Handling Copyright Cases (27 December 1988)
(vii) Circular of the National Copyright Administration concerning the Standard of Paying Author's Remuneration When the Press Reprint and Extract the Published Works at Present (27 August 1991)
(viii) Interim Provisions of the Standard of Paying Author's Remuneration When the Press Reprint and Extract the Published Works with the Consent by Law (1 August 1993)
(ix) Interim Provisions of the Standard of Paying Author's Remuneration When Perform the Published Works with the Consent by Law (1 August 1993)
(x) Interim Provisions of the Standard of Paying Author's Remuneration When Record the Published Works with the Consent by Law (1 August 1993)
(xi) Direction of the Chinese Center of Receiving and Transmitting Author's Remuneration concerning Receiving and Transmitting Remuneration About the Press Extract the Published Works
(xii) Circular of the National Copyright Administration concerning Enforcing "the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the United States of America on the Protection of Intellectual Property" (29 February 1992)
(xiii) Urgent Circular concerning Strengthening Administration of Reproducing Compact Discs and Laser Discs (12 April 1994)
(xiv) Circular of Enforcing "Urgent Circular concerning Strengthening Administration of Reproducing Compact Discs and Laser Discs" (12 May 1994)
(xv) Cooperate Circular of the Ministry of Judicial and National Copyright Administration concerning Bringing Notary Office into Play in Dealing with the Infringing Copyright Cases (29 August 1994)
(xvi) Measures of the Registration of Copyright of Computer Software (4 June 1992)
(xvii) Guide to Classified Coding of Software in Computer Software's Registration
(xviii) The Item and Standard of Registration Expenses of Computer Software (18 April 1992)
252. The representative of China stated that for accession to the WTO Agreement and compliance with the TRIPS Agreement, further amendments had been made to the Patent Law. The amendments to the Copyright Law and the Trademark Law, as well as relevant implementing rules covering different areas of the TRIPS Agreement, would also be accomplished upon China's accession. The representative of China stated that laws adopted by the National People's Congress and administrative regulations, including implementing rules, issued by the State Council were applied and enforced by the people's courts. The Working Party took note of these commitments.
Table B: Revision of China's IPR Laws in Conformity with the TRIPS Agreement
The People's Republic of China had conducted an intensive work programme to examine and revise the IPR laws, administrative regulations and department rules relating to the implementation of the WTO Agreement and China's accession commitments. A list of China's IPR laws, administrative regulations and department rules to be revised and abolished was hereby notified to the Working Party. Part I of the list contained eight laws and regulations. Part II of the list contained four department rules to be revised or abolished for the same reason. This list included the names of laws, regulations and department rules, reasons for revision or abolishment, and dates of implementation.
Part I Laws and Administrative Regulations
Laws and Regulations
Date of Implementation
1. Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China
2. Regulations for the Implementation of the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China
3. Regulations for the Protection of Computer Software
4. Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China
5. Detailed Rules for the Implementation of the Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China
6. Regulations of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
Effective as of 1 October 1997
7. Law of the People's Republic of China Against Unfair Competition
Effective as of 1 December 1993
8. Regulations on the Implementation of the Integrated Circuit Layout Design
To be effective as of 10 October 2001
Part II Department Rules
Date of Implementation
1. Interim Rules on the Administration of Patents in Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries
To be abolished upon accession
2. Notice on the Interim Regulation on the Protection of Copyright of Books and Magazines
To be abolished upon accession
3. Notice on the Issuance of the "Detailed Rules of Interim Regulations on the Protection of Copyright of Books and Magazines", "Publication Intention Contracts" and "Publication Contracts"
To be abolished upon accession
4. Interpretation of Article 15(4) of the "Interim Regulation on the Protection Copyright of Books and Magazines"
To be abolished upon accession
2. Responsible agencies for policy formulation and implementation
253. The representative of China stated that, at present, different agencies were responsible for IPR policy formulation and implementation. The State Intellectual Property Office ("SIPO") was responsible for patent approval; the Trademarks Office under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce ("SAIC") was responsible for trademarks registration; the Copyright Office was responsible for copyright policy making; SAIC was responsible for anti-unfair competition, including the protection of trade secrets; the State Drug Administration ("SDA") was responsible for administrative protection of pharmaceuticals; the General Customs Administration was responsible for border measures; the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Administration of Forestry were responsible for protection of plant varieties; the Ministry of Information Industry was responsible for the protection of layout designs of integrated circuits; and the State General Administration of the People's Republic of China for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine and SAIC were responsible for combating counterfeiting activities. Other agencies like the agency for press and publications, the people's courts and police were also involved in the protection of IPR in China.
3. Participation in international intellectual property agreements
254. The representative of China stated that China became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1980. In 1985, China became a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. China was one of the first countries that signed the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits, the negotiation of which was concluded in 1989. In 1989, China became a member of the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and in 1992, China became a member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. In 1993, China became a member of the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms. In 1994, China became a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty and a member of the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks. In 1995, China became a member of the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure and applied for membership in the Protocols of the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks. In 1996, China became a member of the Locarno Agreement on Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs; and in 1997, China became a member of the Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification. Besides the above efforts, China participated in the TRIPS negotiations during the Uruguay Round and initialled the Final Act.
4. Application of national and MFN treatment to foreign nationals
255. Some members of the Working Party expressed concern that certain provisions of China's copyright and trademark laws, as well as China's Rules on Banning the Infringement of Business Secrets (23 November 1995) did not provide national treatment to foreign right-holders. The Rules on Banning Infringements of Business Secrets, for example, defined the "owner" of a trade secret as a "citizen, corporation, and other organization" and did not explicitly provide protection for foreign individuals or organizations. Some members of the Working Party further stated that national treatment should be fully applied, so that copyright enforcement action by local copyright bureaux involving foreign right-holders, would no longer require clearance by the National Copyright Administration in Beijing.
256. The representative of China responded that China's IPR laws provided that any foreigner would be treated in accordance with any agreement concluded between the foreign country and China, or in accordance with any international treaty to which both countries were party, or on the basis of the principle of reciprocity. The representative of China further confirmed that China would modify relevant laws, regulations and other measures so as to ensure national and MFN treatment to foreign right-holders regarding all intellectual property rights across the board in compliance with the TRIPS Agreement. This would include adjustments of the clearance requirement mentioned in the previous paragraph to ensure national treatment. The Working Party took note of these commitments.
B. SUBSTANTIVE STANDARDS OF PROTECTION, INCLUDING PROCEDURES FOR THE ACQUISITION AND MAINTENANCE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
1. Copyright protection
257. The representative of China stated that the Copyright Law, which was promulgated in 1990, established the basic copyright protection system in China together with the Implementing Rules of the Copyright Law (30 May 1991), the Provisions on the Implementation of the International Copyright Treaty (25 September 1992) and other related laws and regulations. In principle, this system was in compliance with the international IPR treaties and practices. For the protection of copyright and neighbouring rights, not only civil and criminal liabilities but also administrative liabilities, were provided for in this system. Hence the infringing activities could be curbed in a timely and effective manner and the legitimate rights of the right-holders could be protected.
258. Some members of the Working Party expressed concerns about the consistency of China's current law on the protection of copyright and related rights with the TRIPS Agreement. In particular, members noted the need to clarify the rights of performers and producers to bring them into conformity with the requirements of Article 14 of the TRIPS Agreement. In addition, improvements were needed with respect to enforcement of copyright to provide expressly for provisional measures to preserve evidence, including documentary evidence and for remedies sufficient to deter further infringements.
259. The representative of China responded that, realizing that there were some existing differences between China's copyright laws and the TRIPS Agreement, the amendment to the Copyright Law had been accelerated. The proposed amendments would clarify the payment system by broadcasting organizations which use the recording products and also include the following provisions: rental rights in respect of computer programs and movies, mechanical performance rights, rights of communication to the public and related protection measures, protection of database compilations, provisional measures, increasing the legitimate compensation amount and strengthening the measures against infringing activities. China's copyright regime including Regulations for the Implementation of the Copyright Law and the Provisions on the Implementation of the International Copyright Treaty would be amended so as to ensure full consistency with China's obligations under the TRIPS Agreement. The Working Party took note of these commitments.
2. Trademarks, including service marks
260. The representative of China stated that the Trademark Law, its implementing rules and other relevant laws, administrative regulations and department rules constituted the existing trademark legal system in China. The objective of these laws was to provide protection to right-holders in line with the international conventions and prevailing practices regarding intellectual property rights, which was embodied both in the regulations on the substance and procedures for trademark registration and in the protection of trademark exclusive rights. In order to protect the trademark owner's exclusive rights, China's Trademark Law contained not only civil and criminal liabilities but also provided for administrative punishment of trademark infringers. This "double-track system" for the protection of exclusive rights in trademarks could prevent trademark infringements in a timely and effective manner and protect the legitimate rights and interests of these exclusive rights. In recent years, China's judicial and administrative bodies had stepped up their efforts to protect trademark exclusive rights within their respective authority. They had settled a large number of cases that were influential, domestically and abroad, which provided adequate protection to the legitimate rights and interests of both Chinese and foreign holders of exclusive rights in trademarks, and received a positive response from domestic and foreign right-holders.
261. Some members of the Working Party reiterated their concerns about whether certain provisions of China's trademark law provided national treatment to foreign owners of trademarks. They noted that China's law required foreign owners of trademarks to use designated trademark agents, while Chinese nationals were permitted to file directly with China's Trademark Office. Members also noted that China's trademark law did not consider certain signs as eligible for protection as required under the TRIPS Agreement. These included names, letters, numerals and colours capable of distinguishing goods and services. In addition, if registrability of a trademark depends on use, China's trademark law should provide that a non-distinctive mark could qualify for registration when it has acquired distinctiveness based on use. Members also noted that it was not clear under China's law that actual use of a mark was not required before a party could file to register a mark.
262. Some members of the Working Party also raised concerns about the protection of well-known trademarks in China, in particular those not registered in China. China's laws and regulations did not specifically state the criteria for determining whether a mark was well-known and therefore members could not determine if it conformed to the requirements of Article 16 of the TRIPS Agreement. Moreover, while China had provided protection to "well-known trademarks" owned by nationals, such protection had, as yet, not been granted to the well-known trademarks of foreigners. Members also noted that certain provisions of China's trademark law needed to be extended to unregistered well-known trademarks.
263. The representative of China stated that with the development of China's market economy and the further implementation of the TRIPS Agreement, China's legislative and law enforcement bodies had also realized that the existing trademark law fell somewhat short of fulfilling the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement and the Paris Convention in a few aspects and were therefore preparing to amend the existing trademark law to fully meet the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement. Modifications would mainly be made to the following aspects: to include the trademark registration of three-dimensional symbols, combinations of colours, alphabets and figures; to add the content of collective trademark and certification trademark (including geographical indications); to introduce official symbol protection; to protect well-known trademarks; to include priority rights; to modify the existing trademark right confirmation system and offer interested parties the opportunity for judicial review concerning the confirmation of trademark rights; to crack down on all serious infringements; and to improve the system for providing damages for trademark infringement. The Working Party took note of these commitments.
3. Geographical indications, including appellations of origin
264. The representative of China stated that the relevant rules of the SAIC and the State General Administration of the People's Republic of China for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine partly provided protection for geographical indications, including appellations of origin, and that the amendments to the trademark law would have a specific provision on the protection of geographical indications.
265. Members of the Working Party took note of the progress achieved on providing protection for geographical indications and reiterated the importance of China's legislation complying with the obligations under the TRIPS Agreement (Articles 22, 23 and 24). The representative of China shared this assessment and reiterated China's intention to fully comply with relevant articles in the TRIPS Agreement on geographical indications. The Working Party took note of this commitment.
4. Industrial designs
266. Some members of the Working Party noted that the industrial design provisions of China's patent law appeared to implement substantial portions of the TRIPS Agreement requirements relating to industrial designs. One notable exception was the area of textile designs. These members noted that designs of WTO Members could be protected under China's Provisions on the Implementation of the International Copyright Treaty as works of applied art. Members urged China to incorporate this protection into its law and to provide such protection to domestic textile designs.
267. The representative of China stated that in preparation for its accession, China revised its patent law in 1992 for the first time. China had taken measures to enhance consistency with the TRIPS Agreement in terms of major provisions and protection standards. In order to increase the awareness of the general public on IPR protection, and patent protection in particular, to be consistent with the TRIPS Agreement, and to build up a sound social environment for the promotion and commercialization of inventions, the National People's Congress approved the second revision of the Patent Law on 25 August 2000. The revised patent law, which would take effect on 1 July 2001, included the following elements: (1) patent owners would have the right to prevent others from offering for sale the patented product without their consent (Article 11); (2) for utility model and design applications or patents, the final decision on re-examination and invalidation would be made by the people's courts other than for inventions that were patented prior to the amendment (Articles 41 and 46); (3) patent owners could, before instituting legal proceedings, request the people's court to take provisional measures such as to order the suspension of infringing acts and to provide property preservation (Article 61); and (4) conditions for granting a compulsory licence would be further clarified and made consistent with the TRIPS Agreement.
268. The representative of China further stated that since its establishment, SIPO had paid great attention to strengthening its contacts and coordination with relevant departments and ministries in the field of IPR law enforcement, especially in the areas of settling inter-agency problems and resolving key cases. At the same time, SIPO had taken appropriate measures to improve the performance of local patent authorities in law enforcement. For example, in June 1999, SIPO convened a nationwide working conference, which was attended by representatives from local patent administrative authorities. The participants summarized their law enforcement practices over the previous two years and also exchanged information on their experiences in their local legislative work with a view to intensifying patent protection. The conference also called for the introduction of important patent cases reporting and recording system.
269. The representative of China stated that so far as the range of patent protection and protection for new plant varieties were concerned, China had already met the requirements of Article 27 of the TRIPS Agreement. When amending the Patent Law in 1992, China modified Article 25 therein with reference to the relevant stipulations in the draft of the TRIPS Agreement and expanded the coverage of patent protection to food, beverages, flavourings, pharmaceuticals and materials obtained by chemical methods. The scope of patent exclusions would be limited to "scientific discoveries, rules and methods of intellectual activities, diagnostic and therapeutic methods for the treatment of diseases, animals and plant varieties, as well as materials obtained by the change of nucleus".
270. He further stated that Article 5 of China's Patent Law stipulated that inventions that violate laws of China or social morality or prejudice public interest would not be entitled to patent right. While literally there was a difference between Article 5 of China's Patent Law and the TRIPS Agreement, in practice, during the review of patent applications, the interpretation of "violating laws of China" had been restricted to "if laws of China prohibit the sale of a certain patented product, or prohibit the sale of products manufactured by a patented method, the granting of patent right cannot be denied to this product invention or this invention of product manufacturing method by relying on Article 5 of the Patent Law". Hence, in essence, he concluded that there was no difference between Article 5 of the Patent Law as applied and the TRIPS Agreement. Nonetheless, China would amend the Implementing Rules of the Patent Law to ensure that this provision would be implemented in full compliance with Article 27.2 of the TRIPS Agreement, which stipulated that: "Members may exclude from patentability inventions, the prevention within their territory of the commercial exploitation of which is necessary to protect ordre public or morality, including to protect human, animal or plant life or health or to avoid serious prejudice to the environment, provided that such exclusion is not made merely because the exploitation is prohibited by their law". The Working Party took note of this commitment.
271. Regarding Article 28 of the TRIPS Agreement (rights conferred), the representative of China stated that China's patent law had fully complied with the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement for the following reasons. First, in the 1992 amendment to the Patent Law, Article 11 was modified as follows: "any entity or individual is, without prior licensing from the patentee, prohibited from making, using or selling patented products or patented processes, or using or selling products directly obtained by the patented processes for the purpose of production and operation". It was also prohibited for any entity or individual to import patented products or products directly obtained by patented processes for the purpose of production and operation. This modification expanded the scope of patentees' right, namely the new content of "the right to prohibit import" and "the effect of patented processes is extended to products directly obtained by patented processes". Second, in 2000, when the second amendment was made to the Patent Law, Article 11 was once again modified. A new stipulation was introduced granting patentees the right to prohibit others from offering for sale the patented products or products directly obtained by patented processes without the consent of patentees. Therefore, so far as "the right of patentees" is concerned, China's Patent Law had fully accommodated the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement.
272. Further to the 1992 amendment, the representative of China stated that China's Patent Law provided for compulsory licences based on reasonable terms, for public interest and for dependent patents. With regard to the conditions of compulsory licences for dependent patents, the Patent Law provided that the latter invention should be technically more advanced than the earlier one. The TRIPS Agreement provides that "the invention claimed in the second patent shall involve an important technical advance of considerable economic significance in relation to the invention claimed in the first patent" (Article 31(l)(i)). Since the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement were more transparent and easier to operate, the relevant expressions contained in the TRIPS Agreement were adopted in the new revision. In addition, the following restrictive conditions for granting compulsory licences contained in the Implementing Rules of the Patent Law of 1992 had been moved into the Patent Law in order to make it more authoritative: the decision of SIPO on the granting of a compulsory licence for exploitation would be limited in terms of its scope and duration; when the circumstances which led to such compulsory licence ceased to exist and were unlikely to recur, SIPO, upon the request of the patentee, could terminate the compulsory licence after examination; were incorporated into the Law (former Article 68 of the Implementing Rules of the Patent Law of 1992 had now been moved into Article 52 of the revised Patent Law).
273. The representative of China stated that following the 1992 amendment, the regulations on compulsory licensing in China's Patent Law and its implementing rules, as a whole, had fulfilled the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement. However, some wording and expressions in the Chinese regulations were still not identical to the TRIPS Agreement and these regulations still needed improvement in respect of the administrative legal proceedings concerning compulsory licensing. Therefore, in the second amendment to the Patent Law in 2000, the corresponding amendments and modifications to the stipulations on compulsory licensing were mainly made in the following two points: (1) Article 53 of the Patent Law was modified from "a patented invention or utility model is technically more advanced than the inventions or utility models which have obtained patent right earlier" into "a later invention or utility model is an important technical progress with striking economic significance as compared to the earlier invention or utility model"; and (2) having been subject to appropriate adjustments, the regulations on the time, scope and termination of compulsory licensing enforcement in Article 68 of the Implementing Rules of the Patent Law of 1992 were integrated into Article 52 of the amended Patent Law. Following the above-mentioned amendments, China's Patent Law had regulations on compulsory licensing with clearer structure and improved content. In the representative of China's view, these regulations were fully consistent with the TRIPS Agreement. He also added that up to now China had not issued any compulsory licences for patent enforcement.
274. Some members of the Working Party noted the improvements in the provisions regarding compulsory licensing for patents that the representative of China cited. Some members however, requested clarification of the subject matter that would be subject to compulsory licensing under the Patent Law.
275. In response, the representative of China agreed that still not all the requirements of Article 31 of the TRIPS Agreement had been incorporated into Chinese law, and that the Implementing Rules of the Patent Law would therefore be modified so as to ensure that: (1) use without authorization of the right-holder would only be permitted if, prior to such use, the proposed user had made efforts to obtain authorization from the right-holder on reasonable commercial terms and conditions, on the understanding that this requirement could be waived in the case of a national emergency or other circumstances of extreme urgency or in cases of public non-commercial use and subject to the other provisions of subparagraph (b) of Article 31; (2) the right-holder would be paid adequate remuneration in the circumstances of each case, taking into account the economic value of the authorization (Article 31(h)); (3) any such use would be authorized predominantly for the supply of the domestic market (Article 31(f)); and (4) in the case of semi-conductor technology, the scope and duration of such use would only be for public non-commercial use or to remedy a practice determined after judicial or administrative process to be anti-competitive (Article 31(c)). The Working Party took note of these commitments.
276. Regarding Article 32 of the TRIPS Agreement (revocation/forfeiture), the representative of China stated that in light of Articles 41 and 46 of the amended Patent Law, patent applicants or patentees of inventions, as well as applicable utility models and designs, could institute legal proceedings in the people's court if they were not satisfied with the review or nullity decisions made by the Patent Review Board. This modification enabled China's Patent Law to be fully consistent with TRIPS regarding administrative decisions which were subject to judicial review.
277. On the duration of patent right protection, the representative of China stated that as early as 1992 when China made an initial amendment to the Patent Law, Article 45 (later converted into Article 42 after the second amendment) was modified as: "the duration of inventions patent right is 20 years and the duration of patent right for applicable utility model and designs is 10 years, counted as of the date of application". Therefore, China's Patent Law had for a long time accorded with Articles 26 and 33 of the TRIPS Agreement concerning the duration of patent rights.
278. Regarding Article 34 of the TRIPS Agreement (process patents: burden of proof), the representative of China stated that China's Patent Law was modified in 1992 and 2000, and was now in full conformity with the TRIPS Agreement. The amended paragraph 2 of Article 57 reads: "when any infringement dispute relates to a process patent for the manufacture of a new product, any entity or individual manufacturing the identical product shall furnish proof to the effect that a different process is used in the manufacture of its or his product".
6. Plant variety protection
279. The representative of China confirmed that China was a party to the 1978 text of the Universal Convention on the Protection of Plant Varieties ("UPOV"). In March 1997, the State Council formulated and promulgated the Regulation on the Protection of New Plant Varieties, thus offering protection for new plant varieties in a sui generis form consistent with the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement. A unit or an individual that had accomplished the breeding enjoyed an exclusive right in their right-granted variety. No unit or individual could, without permission from the owner of the variety rights (referred to as "the variety rights owner"), produce or market for commercial purposes the propagation material of the rights-granted variety, or repeatedly use for commercial purposes the propagation material of the rights-granted variety in the production of the propagation material of another variety. The conditions of non-voluntary licensing were set out in the regulation. The period of protection of variety rights, from the date of grant of the rights, would be 20 years for vines, forest trees, fruit trees and ornamental trees and 15 years for other plants.
7. Layout designs of integrated circuits
280. The representative of China stated that China was one of the first countries to sign the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits in 1989. The specific Regulation on the Protection of Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits, which would implement China's obligations under Section 6, Part II of the TRIPS Agreement, was issued in April 2001 and would be effective on 1 October 2001.
281. The representative of China stated that China was strengthening the protection of the layout designs to support the rapid development of the integrated circuit industry. The regulations provided protection to layout-designs, according to which the following acts if performed without authorization of the right-holder were unlawful: importing, selling or otherwise distributing for commercial purposes a protected layout-design, an integrated circuit in which a protected layout-design was incorporated, or an article incorporating such an integrated circuit only in so far as it continued to contain an unlawfully reproduced layout-design. The exception clause and non-voluntary licensing clause were in conformity with Article 37 of TRIPS. The term of protection was 10 years counted from the date of filing an application for registration or from the first commercial exploitation wherever in the world it occurred. In addition, the protection to the layout-design of integrated circuits was in accordance with Article 2 through 7 (other than paragraph 3 of Article 6), Article 12 and paragraph 3 of Article 16 of the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits.
8. Requirements on undisclosed information, including trade secrets and test data
282. Some members of the Working Party expressed concern about China's protection against unfair commercial use and disclosure of undisclosed test and other data submitted to authorities in China to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals. They noted that China's laws appeared to prohibit the release of information by government officials but did not include provisions regarding the prevention of unfair commercial use, as required under Article 39.3 of the TRIPS Agreement. Some members requested that China specifically provide in its law and regulations that it would protect against unfair commercial use of undisclosed test or other data submitted in support of applications for marketing approval of pharmaceutical or of agricultural chemical products which utilize new chemical entities, by providing that no person other than the person that submitted such data may, without the permission of the person initially submitting the data, rely on such data in support of an application for product approval for a period of at least six years from the date on which marketing approval to the person that submitted the data had been granted.
283. The representative of China stated that Article 10 of the Anti-unfair Competition Law provided that a business operator must not infringe upon trade secrets. Under the same Article, obtaining, using or disclosing another's trade secrets by a third party who clearly knew or ought to have known that the case fell under the unlawful acts listed in the preceding paragraph was deemed infringement upon trade secrets. Trade secrets referred to any technology information or business operation information which was unknown to the public, could bring about economic benefits to the obligee, had practical utility and about which the obligee had adopted secret-keeping measures. He also stated that Article 219 of the Criminal Law had similar definitions on trade secrets.
284. The representative of China further confirmed that China would, in compliance with Article 39.3 of the TRIPS Agreement, provide effective protection against unfair commercial use of undisclosed test or other data submitted to authorities in China as required in support of applications for marketing approval of pharmaceutical or of agricultural chemical products which utilized new chemical entities, except where the disclosure of such data was necessary to protect the public, or where steps were taken to ensure that the data are protected against unfair commercial use. This protection would include introduction and enactment of laws and regulations to make sure that no person, other than the person who submitted such data, could, without the permission of the person who submitted the data, rely on such data in support of an application for product approval for a period of at least six years from the date on which China granted marketing approval to the person submitting the data. During this period, any second applicant for market authorization would only be granted market authorization if he submits his own data. This protection of data would be available to all pharmaceutical and agricultural products which utilize new chemical entities, irrespective of whether they were patent-protected or not. The Working Party took note of these commitments.
C. MEASURES TO CONTROL ABUSE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
285. The representative of China stated that there were provisions relating to compulsory licences in the Patent Law to prevent abuse of patent right. He also stated that the Trademark Law provided that the trademark registrant may, by concluding a trademark licensing contract, authorize another person to use its registered trademark. The licensor would supervise the quality of the goods on which the licensee used the licensor's registered trademark and the licensee would guarantee the quality of the goods on which the registered trademark was to be used.
286. Some members of the Working Party expressed some concerns as to the compatibility of China's rules on control of anti-competitive licensing practices or conditions with the corresponding obligations under Article 40 of the TRIPS Agreement. The representative of China stated in response that China's legislation would comply with these obligations, notably as to the request for consultations with other Members. He stated that these rules would apply across the board to all intellectual property rights. The Working Party took note of this commitment.
287. Some members of the Working Party expressed concern that there was a continued need for additional enforcement efforts by the Government of China. They also said that China should strengthen the legislative framework for the enforcement of intellectual property rights for all right-holders. The representative of China stated that where an infringement of intellectual property rights was found in China, the person concerned could bring a lawsuit to a court. Since 1992, special IPR courts have been set up in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai on the basis of their specialized collegial panels. According to China's legislation, individuals and enterprises would be held responsible for all their IPR infringing activities and subject to civil and/or criminal liabilities. Where any person violated the IPR of another person and the circumstances were serious, the person directly responsible would be prosecuted for his criminal liability by applying relevant provisions of the Criminal Law. If found guilty, the person directly responsible could be sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment of no more than seven years or be subject to detention or a fine.
288. Some members of the Working Party further urged China to ensure the vigorous application by Chinese authorities of the enforcement legislation in order to considerably reduce the existing high levels of copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. Action should include the closure of manufacturing facilities as well as markets and retail shops that had been the object of administrative convictions for infringing activities. The representative of China stated that the measures for cracking down on intellectual property piracy were always severe in China. In judicial aspects, courts at all levels were continuously paying attention to the trial of IPR cases. As for administration aspects, the administrative authorities at all levels were putting emphasis on strengthening anti-piracy work. In addition, the administrative authorities were also enhancing the legal publication and education of the general public in a bid to ensure that the legal environment of China would be able to meet the requirements for enforcing the TRIPS Agreement. The Working Party took note of these commitments.
2. Civil judicial procedures and remedies
289. Some members of the Working Party expressed concern about certain practices relating to the filing of civil judicial actions that made it difficult for intellectual property right-holders to pursue their rights in China's courts. China's system of basing filing fees on the amount of damages requested makes large-scale infringement actions unnecessarily costly. Those members also expressed concern regarding the calculation of damages based on the infringer's profits. This, combined with China's rules on establishing the level of profits which require evidence of actual sale and which disregard inventory and past activity, often resulted in damage amounts inadequate to compensate for the injury that the right-holder has suffered.
290. The representative of China stated that Article 118 of the General Principles of the Civil Law provided that if the rights of authorship (copyrights), patent rights, rights of exclusive use of trademarks, rights of discovery, rights of invention or rights for scientific and technological research achievements of citizens or juridical persons were infringed upon by such means as plagiarism, alteration or imitation, they had the right to demand that the infringement be stopped, its ill effects be eliminated and the damages be compensated for. He further stated that the Trademark Law, the Patent Law and the Copyright Law had similar provisions.
291. The representative of China further confirmed that, Articles 42 and 43 of the TRIPS Agreement would be effectively implemented under the judicial rules of civil procedure. The Working Party took note of this commitment.
292. The representative of China confirmed that the relevant implementing rules would be amended to ensure full compliance with Articles 45 and 46 of the TRIPS Agreement, to the effect that damages paid by the infringer to the right-holder would be adequate to compensate for the injury suffered because of an infringement of that person's intellectual property right by an infringer who knowingly, or with reasonable grounds to know, engaged in infringing activity. The Working Party took note of this commitment.
3. Provisional measures
293. Members of the Working Party noted that the TRIPS Agreement required that judicial authorities have the authority to order prompt and effective provisional measures to (1) prevent an infringement of intellectual property from occurring, in particular to prevent the distribution or sale of infringing goods, and (2) to preserve the evidence of alleged infringement.
294. The representative of China stated that in China's Civil Procedure Law there were provisions on property preservation, but as yet no explicit stipulations had been provided to authorize the people's court to take measures for the prevention of infringements prior to formal institution of a lawsuit by a party involved. In order to enhance the deterrent power of law against infringements and to guarantee that the legitimate rights and interests of patentees would not suffer from irreparable harm as well as to comply with the TRIPS Agreement, China, when amending the Patent Law for the second time in 2000, introduced Article 61 to regulate provisional measures, which provided as follows: "where a patentee or any interested party who can provide any reasonable evidence that his right is being infringed or that such infringement is imminent, and any delay in stopping the acts is likely to cause irreparable harm to his or its legitimate rights and interests, he or it may, before instituting legal proceedings, request the people's court to order the suspension of related acts and to provide property preservation".
295. Some Members of the Working Party expressed concern that Article 61 of the Patent Law did not fully incorporate all requirements of Article 44 of the TRIPS Agreement, and that it was still unclear whether holders of intellectual property rights other than patents could rely on a similar procedure.
296. The representative of China stated that Article 61 of the Patent Law would be implemented in a way fully consistent with Article 50.1-4 of the TRIPS Agreement. He also stated that "reasonable evidence" in Article 61 of the Patent Law would be, through implementing rules, clarified to mean "any reasonably available evidence in order to satisfy with sufficient degree of certainty that the applicant is the right-holder and that the applicant's right is being infringed or that such infringement is imminent, and to order the applicant to provide a security or equivalent assurance sufficient to protect the defendant and to prevent abuse". The Working Party took note of this commitment.
4. Administrative procedures and remedies
297. Members of the Working Party noted that most IPR enforcement in China was done through administrative actions. In this connection, some members expressed concern about the inadequate levels of administrative sanctions in China which, when coupled with the high threshold for initiating criminal prosecutions, made IPR enforcement in China difficult. Administrative sanctions generally amounted to small fines and the loss of infringing inventory. Members also stressed the need for administrative authorities to refer more cases, including those involving repeat offenders and willful piracy and counterfeiting, to the appropriate authorities for initiation of criminal actions.
298. The representative of China said that the Trademark Law provided that in the event of any infringement of the right to the exclusive use of a registered trademark, the infringed right-holder could request the administrative department for industry and commerce at or above the county level for disposition. The relevant administrative department for industry and commerce had the power to order the infringer to stop the infringing act immediately and to compensate the infringed right-holder for its or his losses. SAIC and its local agencies above the county level could also impose a fine upon the infringer. The Patent Law provided that the patentee and interested party could request the administrative authority for patent affairs to handle the infringing act. The administrative authority could order the infringer to stop the infringing act immediately and mediate on damages at the request of the parties concerned. The Copyright Law provided that the copyright administration department could subject anyone who committed acts of infringement to such administrative penalties as confiscation of unlawful income from the act or imposition of a fine.
299. The representative of China stated that most IPR enforcement actions in China resulted in administrative measures to address the infringement. He noted ongoing efforts to strengthen the sanctions that were available to administrative authorities and the increased attention given to enforcement of IPRs. The representative of China confirmed that the government would continue to enhance its enforcement efforts, including through the application of more effective administrative sanctions. Relevant agencies, including the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the State General Administration of the People's Republic of China for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine and the Copyright Office, now had the authority to confiscate equipment used for making counterfeit and pirated products and other evidence of infringement. These relevant agencies would be encouraged to exercise their authority to seize and preserve evidence of infringement such as inventory and documents. Administrative authorities would have the authority to impose sufficient sanctions to prevent or deter further infringement and would be encouraged to exercise that authority. Appropriate cases, including those involving repeat offenders and willful piracy and counterfeiting, would be referred to relevant authorities for prosecution under the criminal law provisions. The Working Party took note of these commitments.
5. Special border measures
300. The representative of China stated that on 5 July 1995 the State Council of the People's Republic of China had issued special legislation in respect of border measures for enforcement of intellectual property rights - the Regulations of the People's Republic of China Governing Customs Protection of Intellectual Property Rights - which came into effect on 1 October of the same year. According to this legislation, China's Customs offices must take measures to intercept importation or exportation of goods that were proved to be infringing the rights of trademarks, patents or copyrights legally protected in China. China's Customs offices were granted authority to investigate any suspected shipment and confiscate the goods in case infringement was proved.
301. Some members of the Working Party expressed concerns as to the compatibility of existing border measures with obligations under Articles 51 to 60 of the TRIPS Agreement; particularly the provisions on suspension of release into free circulation by customs authorities (Article 51), rules on evidence for initiating this procedure (Article 52), requirements on the security needed to protect the defendant (Article 53), rules on notice of the suspension (Article 54) and its duration (Article 55), rules on indemnification of the importer in case of wrongful detention (Article 56) and opportunity for the right-holder to have the goods detained inspected (Article 57). Moreover some expressed their concern as to compatibility of rules on actions ex-officio by competent authorities and the conditions attached (Article 58), as well as to the remedies provided against infringing goods (Article 59) and the quantities subject to the de minimis rules (Article 60).
302. In response, the representative of China stated that China would provide holders of intellectual property rights with procedures related to border measures that complied fully with the relevant provisions of the TRIPS Agreement (Articles 51 to 60). The Working Party took note of this commitment.
6. Criminal procedures
303. The representative of China stated that Articles 213 to 220 of the Criminal Law (Crimes of Infringing on Intellectual Property Rights) provided that whoever seriously infringes the right-holders' rights of registered trademarks, patents, copyrights or trade secrets would be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment and would also be fined.
304. Some members of the Working Party expressed concerns that criminal procedures could not be used effectively to address piracy and counterfeiting. In particular, the monetary thresholds for bringing a criminal action, as currently applied, were very high and seldom met. Those thresholds should be lowered so as to permit effective action that would deter future piracy and counterfeiting. In response, the representative of China stated that China's administrative authority would recommend that the judicial authority make necessary adjustments to lower the thresholds so as to address these concerns. The Working Party took note of this commitment.
305. Noting the advanced state of protection for intellectual property rights in China, the representative of China confirmed that upon accession China would fully apply the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement. The Working Party took note of this commitment.
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