On 19 October 2010, the State Council announced a new national campaign to crack down on counterfeit products and IPR infringements. This new campaign started at the end of October and will continue for six months.

The campaign targets pirated publications, software and DVDs, as well as other violations of registered trademarks, designs and patents. The campaign will target distributors and manufacturers fake goods, and will focus on online sales. Furthermore, customs authorities are tasked with improving the inspection of imported and exported products to reduce the number of fake and infringing products that cross the border. The campaign features higher penalties for infringers.

Interestingly, the State Council also directed all government agencies to purchase only authorised software and upgrades. According to a recent poll, up to 90% of the software used by government agencies in China is unauthorised.

Along the same vein, the National Copyright Administration announced that it will extend until February 2011 a campaign targeting video and e-commerce websites that illegally disseminate fi lms and videos online.

The Chinese government often initiates campaigns to crack down on matters of immediate concern, but whether this one will have any lasting effect remains doubtful. It appears that the campaign merely targets the very visible fake goods available on the street and in markets in China that specialise in counterfeits. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Equally problematic, and much more dangerous for European high-tech companies, is the growth of IPR theft that takes the form of industrial espionage. A crackdown and legislative support in this area would be welcomed.

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