13 September 2011, Brussels
IPR2 presented a retrospective of 4 years of EU-China co-operation on IP protection to stakeholders in Europe, as the Project completes its four-year implementation in September 2011. This followed the presentation of results to stakeholders in China at the IPR2 Closing Event in Beijing on 15 July 2011. The Ministry of Commerce and the European Commission, together with the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) and leading IP and industry experts presented the key areas of intervention, offered an assessment of the results and impact and had a panel discussion on lessons learnt and areas for possible further co-operation.
The ‘Closing Event Europe’ was attended by some 100 participants, including representatives of leading European industry and industry associations, institutions, law firms and media, who heard a retrospective of the last 4 years of joint work from Chinese and European officials and leading industry experts. Namely, the implementation of more than 200 technical assistance and training activities across China from 2007 to 2011 by European and Chinese officials, including judges and legislators, as well as industry experts and academics.
The presentations, comments and discussion were followed and blogged live in China on Sina.com and Tencent, involving more than 2000 netizens.
EU and Chinese officials confirmed the positive results of their co-operation in this field and the recently signed joint conclusions to continue collaboration. The Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, the EU Delegation to P.R. China and Mongolia, the EPO and the OHIM signed the conclusions, citing the IPR2 project as a very positive example of co-operation and stating that they would like to maintain and develop the level of co-operation achieved with IPR2.
Mr Jean-Luc Demarty, Director General for Trade in the European Commission, commented on the Joint Statement: “Intellectual Property rights play a strategic role in driving growth, innovation and the creation of markets for enterprises, in particular SMEs, both in the EU and China and globally. Europe and China both recognise that a mutual understanding of IP protection issues and a further improved environment for IPR enforcement in China are key factors for economic growth and a decisive element in EU-China trade and investment relations. Creating expert links between both sides have been and continue to be a highly effective means of addressing specific areas of mutual interest.”
Mr Dirk Meganck, Director of Asia, Central Asia and Pacific EuropeAid Development and Cooperation Directorate-General, concluded “I can safely say that the IPR2 project has successfully achieved what was intended; it was worth the investment. IPR2 is considered not only a very good example in the EU China Cooperation, more over it has been an effective use of EU tax payers. But there are more tasks ahead: There is a continuing need for the EU and China to cooperate in this very important domain and further cooperation in the IP field is a possibility”.
“The successful completion of the IPR2 project is a milestone in a co-operation that is built on the involvement of a large number of Chinese authorities and European institutions, including member states,” said Mr Raimund Lutz, Vice President for Legal and International Affairs of the EPO. "And for the first time, a significant project could build on input from the users of the IP system: Many of the activities under IPR2 were defined on the basis of feedback received from European and Chinese businesses and their associations," he added. Looking to the future, he said: “It is my firm conviction that relations between China and Europe will continue to play a decisive role in the successful development of the IP protection system at global level, and contribute to the definition of a global culture and policy of IPR protection."
The expert speakers from industry and academia contributed views on the effectiveness of the Project’s actions in terms of the legal framework, capacity building, enforcement, support to right holders and building information channels and networks and on future prospects of EU-China cooperation in IP protection and enforcement. Michael Ellis from European Brands Association (AIM) and EU Representative of QBPC, reflected on the positives impact of IPR2 from the perspective of right holders - in particular how the project has helped to raise IP awareness within private industry, and how there has been increased proactive enforcement actions in china, including training seminars, IP education programmes, collaboration with industry, customs seizures and the China police special campaigns. Prof. Marina Timoteo from Bologna University presented new perspectives opened up by IPR2 in researching and teaching IP law - “learning by doing” – and presented ‘Copyright in a changing world’ – a video produced by students as part of the EU-China Year of the Youth in 2011.
View Video: Copyright in a changing world.
Marc Holtorf from Clifford Chance reflected on how enforcement of anti-unfair competition legislation has been improving and the ongoing process of revising the Chinese Trademark Law; and Giovanni Casucci from Casucci Studio Legale explained the new ways of protecting IP at trade fairs that were developed under IPR2.
Furthermore. Christina Aagaard from the Danish Patent Office discussed the usefulness of IPR2 training activities as input for the enforcement work of Member State IP offices, particularly in relation to the ministerial network on enforcement as well as problems companies face in enforcing their rights.
Sabine Erkens from UEAPME reviewed the challenges of SMEs regarding IP protection and supporting them in improving the ways they enforce their IPRs; Doris Moeller from the EUROCHAMBRES/Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce addressed the importance of exchanges with the judiciary and awareness building in general and Gerhard Bauer from Trademarks & Designs Working Group/BUSINESSEUROPE and the International Trademark Association focused on how the Chinese legal framework is being strengthened in recent years and in relation to the work of IPR2.
The closing ceremony marked the handover of the material generated under the Project to the European and Chinese authorities, which totalled more than 1200 documents and information tools and more than 50 publications by leading European and Chinese experts. The documentation is being made available in the form of easy-to use on-line search tools plus a compilation of EU and Chinese IP legislation in Chinese and English, as part of an Operational Agreement between the EU and China that aims to ensure continued public access to all materials.
Sharing co-operation results on camera
The Chinese co-operation partners and a number of experts involved in the implementation of the Project, contributed to the making of a short video that was shown at the Beijing event - highlighting the scope of co-operation and effective working practices that helped the Project to meet its objectives.
Mr Johan Cauwenbergh, Minister Counsellor and Head of Development and Co-operation, EU Delegation to China and Mongolia stated in the video that “cooperation is a process but it starts with the realisation that there is problem”, noting the importance of IP protection for both sides.
Ms Marianne Gumaelius, Trade Counsellor, EU Delegation to China and Mongolia expressed her views, “What I like In particular with the IPR2 Project is that it has a very pragmatic approach, it’s there to raise awareness and knowledge and I think it has really succeeded.” Furthermore, “if we compare China’s recently adopted 5-year plan and the EU 2020, we see many similarities and a strong focus on innovation, and thereby also of course IPR.”
Mr Yang Guohua, Deputy Director General of the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) confirmed that the “IPR2 Project is truly a good model of EU-China trade and economic cooperation.”
Carlo Pandolfi, IPR2 Technical Assistance team leader, explained that “The protection of IPRs permits Europe and China to find a common path in the protection of ideas and in fostering innovation.”
The video also showed a workshop for Chinese journalists earlier this year, involving them in an open and active dialogue on IP protection and what that means for China and Europe. Mr Pandolfi continued, “Intellectual property is not a legal means, it is a business tool. It is a business tool that is valid for a Chinese company in China, Chinese companies going abroad. European companies coming into China need to understand that a very good IP protection system exists here, and they have to use it.”
Expressing the views of European industry, Paul Ranjard, Co-Chair of the IPR Working Group of the European Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC) said “European industry is interested to see the Chinese developing their own IP rights because that will develop the awareness of the necessity to protect intellectual property. In the end, it is sure that they will be competitors but they will have same goal of protection.”
Other Chinese partners shared their views. “Since our cooperation with IPR2 started in 2007 we have implemented more than 20, nearly 30 activities. The areas covered are very broad, including trademark registration and management, unfair competition, regulation of commodity trading networks, and anti-monopoly.” Wu Jie, Director, Department of Foreign Affairs of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) explained.
According to Li Qunying, Director, IPR Division, Policy and Legal Affairs of the General Administration of Customs (GACC) “We needed such a programme to support the cooperation of the customs of both sides.”
Wang Xiang, a legislator from the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress (LAC) recalled that “in November 2008, with IPR2's support, we went to Germany and Spain, to study Patent Law. The visit provided a lot of interesting information from which we could learn for the revision of our latest patent law.”
The EU-China IPR2 Project, which was launched in 2007 by the EU and the Chinese government with EUR 16.275 million in joint funding, has aimed at improving the reliability, efficiency and accessibility of the IP protection system in China, towards establishing a sustainable environment for effective IPR enforcement in China.
IPR2 has been running on a parallel track to the larger scale National IP Strategy of China (launched in June 2008). Common interests on specific topics between the two initiatives, together with sharing of resources, have maximised results of the IPR2 co-operation programme: exchanges and training, support to the private sector, best practice initiatives in IPR enforcement have involved thousands of government officials, companies and scholars.
For general information on IPR2, contact Ms Tamryn Barker
[IPR2 ref. CC5.AW4.003]