Answers to commonly asked questions on IPR2. Download IPR2 Q&A 67 KB
Q1. How is IPR2 funded?
IPR2 is an EU-China co-operation initiative, jointly funded under a Financing Agreement between the European Commission of the European Union and the Ministry of Commerce of P.R. of China for a total of EUR 16.425 million (approximate equivalent of RMB164.250.000). The EU contribution is EUR 10.85 million and the P.R. China’s is 5.425 million.
Q2. Why the name ‘IPR2’?
IPR2 has been built on the work and success of IPR1 from 1999-2004, which promoted international standards of IPR protection in Chinese legislation. IPR2 is the successor of that co-operation project. IPR2 though aims to strengthen the enforcement of intellectual property rights by targeting the reliability, efficiency and accessability of the IP protection system in China.
Q3. Who implements IPR2?
On the EU side, IPR2 is implemented by the European Patent Office (EPO) together with the support of the EPO Member States in specific fields and the Office for the Harmonization of the Internal Market (OHIM) on trademark and design. On the Chinese side, the project is implemented by the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM).
On the ground, IPR2 is implemented by a Chinese Project Task Force (PTF) under the authority of MOFCOM, together with the EU-supported Technical Assistance Team (TAT) in implementing day to day activities and monitoring and reporting on results. The EPO manages the provision of technical expertise through a Project office in Beijing which is reinforced by a support team at EPO headquarters in Munich, Germany. The PTF and TAT work together at the project office in Yonghe Plaza in Beijing.
A Project Steering Committee (PSC) oversees project implementation and approves Overall and Annual Work Plans of activities. It is composed of representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, the European Commission, Chinese beneficiaries, the Project Task Force and Technical Assistance Team as well as other stakeholders.
Q4. What is the EPO?
The European Patent Office is the patent granting authority for Europe with a staff of more than 6000, headquartered in Munich, Germany. EPO provides a uniform application procedure for individual inventors and companies seeking patent protection in 37 European countries. For more information visit www.epo.org.
Q5. What is the OHIM?
The Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) is responsible for registering the Community Trademark and Community registered design within the European Union. It is IPR2’s primary provider of trademark and design-related expertise. For more information visit www.oami.europa.eu.
Q6. What is MOFCOM?
The PRC Ministry of Commerce is in charge of several topics. Among its main responsabilities there is China’s foreign trade, economic co-operation and foreign investment. It is responsible for organizing bi- and multi- lateral foreign negotiations on IP rights in economic and trade area. For more information visit www.mofcom.gov.cn and Intellectual Property Protection in China www.ipr.gov.cn.
Q7. How long will the project run?
The project has a 4 year operational implementation period, from the start date of 29 September 2007 to 30 September 2011. This includes an Inception Phase for the first six months and a Final Phase in the last 6 months.
Q8. Where does IPR2 operate?
IPR2 team is located in Beijing, with a European Support Unit based in Munich. Generally speaking, we could say that the project implements some 70 to 80% of its activities in China, while the rest in the EU. In the first two years of implementation, the project held activites not only in Beijing and Shanghai, but also consistently in other cities across China, such as Changzhou, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Jiangyin, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Urumqi, Xi’an, Yinchuan. In addition, IPR2 organised and/or supported activities in many European cities.
Being present in the provinces recalls one of the objectives of the project, which is to support the construction of a sustainable network between Chinese and EU stakeholders, reaching beyond the central level into the provinces and localities, involving relevant Chinese and European authorities and institutions and industry
Q9. What is IPR2 purpose?
IPR2’s purpose is to provide technical assistance to Chinese legislative, judicial, administrative and enforcement agencies and institutions to improve the effectiveness of IPR enforcement in China. In doing so, it is necessary to address the different levels of authorities responsible for IP-related work.
Q10. What is Technical Assistance?
Technical assistance involves an exchange of technical expertise, know-how and experience. IPR2 provides technical assistance as a means of supporting China’s commitment to developing a sustainable environment for effective IPR protection and enforcement. Moreover, technical assistance and the sharing of international expertise works to improve participation in the multilateral trading system, and progress the necessary legal, policy and institutional reforms associated with an effective IP system.
Trade-related technical assistance is a major theme of the Doha declaration (2001), which outlined developed countries’ commitment to take development as the central focus of the new round trade liberalisation and to help all countries to participate effectively in the new round of trade negotiations. At the UN Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, world leaders stressed the importance for development of support to remove supply side constraints to trade and of effective, secure and predictable financing of trade-related assistance and capacity building. The Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development also highlighted the need for mutually supportive trade, development and environmental policies.
Q11. How many Beneficiaries does IPR2 work with?
IPR2 co-operates on a day-to-day basis with the main authorities (ministries and agencies) involved in supporting an environment of IP protection in China, particularly, to those organisations involved in policy-making and enforcement at the different levels of Chinese legislative, judicial, administrative and enforcement authorities. In addition to the Ministry of Commerce, this includes the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC); Ministry of Public Security (MPS), Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIIT), General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), General Administration of Customs (GACC), National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC), Legislative Affairs Commission (LAC) of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), State Council Legislative Affairs Office (LAO);, State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP). IPR2 also works with various academic and research institutions and industry associations.
Q12. IPR protection is a serious issue in China. How IPR2 help to address these on the ground?
IPR protection is a serious issue in many countries, not only China. However, it is true that both the EU and China pursue this as a key issue on the trade agenda. The EU and China participate in an active dialogue on IP to address key issues of interest and concern. IPR2 is the technical tool that will allow China and Europe to practically address the real issues and concerns on both sides; and lead to effective IPR protection, which is best reached via mutual co-operation on enforcement.
In practical terms, IPR2 through an ongoing exchange of expertise facilitates the kind of open exchanges of experience and information that can contribute to refining IP legislation and targeting policy. Furthermore, by making information available to a large base of users and by supporting a network of IP officials and experts, IPR2 actively contributes towards a better understanding and functioning of the IP system and a more effective environment for IP protection in the longer-term.
Q13. Why is protection of IP and enforcement of IPR important for the EU and China?
For both the territories, IP protection is key to supporting sustainable economic growth and to assisting industries in becoming and remaining competitive.
The European Union recognises in its Lisbon Agenda ‘the challenges of a new knowledge-driven economy’, and has set for itself the ambitious goal of becoming ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world’. Protecting IP therefore becomes a fundamental issue for the EU, in order to remain leader in key technology areas and to ensure that innovation and ideas are adequately rewarded. China, experiencing a very fast development, faces numerous IP issues as well, as the links between IP and economy are very much inter-related, particularly on a global scale. The 2008 Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy determined the importance of the protection of IP by stating that ‘intellectual property is becoming increasingly a strategic resource for national development and a core element in international competitiveness, an important supporting force in building an innovative country and the key to hold the initiative in development’.
Q14. How was EU-China co-operation on IPR supported between the end of IPR1 and the start of IPR2?
Although IPR1 came to an end in 2004, co-operation on IPR issues continued under the EU-China Trade Project (EUCTP) which started in 2004 and ended in 2009. EUCTP was the largest trade-related technical assistance project in the world, covering the key dialogues under the EU-China trade relationship, including intellectual property - in the context of the WTO’s Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPS). EUCTP integrated IPR issues into the broader framework of WTO, building on the results of IPR1. With the start of IPR2, all IPR-related activities ongoing under EUCTP were phased into the new project.
Q15. What activities does IPR2 typically support?
IPR2 provides support mainly in the form of expertise and organisation of cooperation activities that address the Project’s objectives. This ranges from seminars, symposia, workshops, studies, training programmes, study tours and information management activities both in China and in the EU.
Q16. How are project activities selected?
Any activity that IPR2 carries out must be approved by the Project Steering Committee (PSC), which is comprised of representatives from the Chinese Beneficiaries and the European Commission. Generally speaking, activities are most likely to be approved if they fall under the scope of the project objectives, work in both the mutual interest of both the EU and China, are likely to have a substantial and positive impact and are cost effective.
Q17. How much funding is available for an individual activity?
There are no defined limits for the amount of funding that is available for an individual activity. A total of EUR 10 million is provided for Technical Assistance for 4 years. IPR2 allocates funds based on the priority, merits and requirements of each activity in collaboration with and covering the many beneficiary agencies and institutions.
Q18. Does IPR2 co-operate with other IP-related initiatives?
IPR2 keeps contacts with several donors, particularly Embassies from the Member States, in relation to IP initiatives carried out either by the project or the donors. IPR2 closely co-operate with the China IPR SME Helpdesk, a project financed by the European Union that provides support to European SMEs in relation to IPR.Q19. Why is IP protection at trade fairs important?
A trade fair provides a company with an unparalleled opportunity to promote its products or services directly to potential buyers, establish a brand and realise their potential on the international market. With the development of international trade Chinese companies are therefore exposed to trade fairs abroad and foreign companies increasingly exhibit in China. At the same time, companies are more exposed to intellectual property conflicts at international trade fairs - building awareness of the issues and knowledge of how to protect your IP is an important step towards reducing infringements. IPR2 implements a number of activities dedicated to supporting companies' protection of their IP rights at trade fairs in co-operation with the Ministry of Commerce of China, in particular including mediation and information support for Chinese and European companies at the major trade fairs in Europe, as well as training programmes, publications and e-learning tools for companies’ further reference. For more information visit www.ipr2.org/tradefair.
Q20. How does IPR2 support Chinese and European companies?
IPR2 working mainly with the Chinese authorities – ministries and agencies responsible for IP in China – to help strengthen the framework and capacity for IP protection, and ultimately the IP environment in which business operates. The Project has trained thousands of officials, often involving representatives of industry, on better understanding IP as a strategic business tool. Seminars in Europe and China have helped companies to know how to register and protect their trademarks and designs. IPR2 has also worked with local enterprise associations and incubation centres in China providing information and expert training (e.g. protecting IP as an intangible asset). Furthermore, IPR2 has developed a number of reference materials in support of right holders, including the IPR2 Roadmap for IP Protection series for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). The Roadmaps give guidance on the respective IP systems and practices in China and Europe, covering registration, protection and enforcement across the major fields of IP (Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Designs, Trade Secrets) and in different contexts (Customs, Trade Fairs)www.ipr2.org/roadmap. In addition, other reference tools such as the easy-to-access on-line legal search tool IP Law Search allows companies to retrieve relevant IP laws and regulations in China and the EU, in English and Chinese at www.ipr2.org/ipsearch and e-learning modules that distill the expertise provided in the Project’s numerous training activities is made available to industry and other stakeholders for wider learning at www.ipr2.org/elearning. The Project holds annual stakeholder briefings for industry in Europe to hear directly from the Chinese IP authorities, experts and the Project on the results of co-operation in key areas of IP.
Indirectly, IPR2 activities such as comparative studies on trademark and design registration in China and Europe offer the basis for developing a more transparent, user friendly and efficient registration system for trademark and designs in China; the revision of the major IP patent legislation, e.g. the patent law, has led to revised provisions which offer easier protection/registration for right holders and ground-level enforcement training of officials on unfair competition, passing off, or trade secret protection helps to strengthen the administrative protection channel for companies (as it is faster and cheaper than going through the courts).
For further information visit the IPR2 web site: www.ipr2.org or email