The Chinese government is in the midst of a six-month Intellectual Property Rights Campaign ("IPR Campaign") that could provide some much needed help to businesses struggling with intellectual property ("IP") infringement in China. The IPR Campaign aims to reduce IP violations related to all types of IP, including copyrights, trademarks and patents. Companies that are challenged by IP enforcement issues in the region should take note of this effort; the Chinese government announced in mid-December that Chinese police have uncovered close to 700 IP violations involving approximately $125 million and have arrested nearly 1,600 suspects since the IPR Campaign began. This is, obviously, a small step toward confronting a much larger problem in a booming economy, but it's an important step that signals the Chinese government's increasing resolve to address IP issues.

Focus Industries

The goals for the IPR Campaign are to reduce IP infringement and the manufacture and sale of shoddy and/or pirated goods. Particular attention is being paid to pirated computer software, books, video games, music, video publications, cell phones, designer fashion and pharmaceutical products. The IPR Campaign is also focused on decreasing IPR violations online, targeting Internet piracy and the sale of pirated and fake goods over the Internet. Companies offering these types of products have the largest opportunity to benefit from the IPR Campaign. The IPR Campaign has already led to enforcement actions involving IP for international companies such as Nike and Louis Vuitton.

Government Actions

The IPR Campaign is the collaborative effort of an array of Chinese agencies targeting IP infringers at the distribution and production levels, and it is particularly focused on repeat and malicious infringers. Chinese Customs, local police and China's Ministry of Culture are all involved. Their efforts have led to the seizure of infringing goods, including on-line games and websites using unauthorized audio and video works, and to criminal liability charges for infringers.

IPR Campaign Continues Through First Quarter

The IPR Campaign is effective through March 2011.

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