6 March 2009, Brussels
High-level officials from China and the EU met in Brussels to update stakeholders in Europe on EU-China co-operation towards strengthening intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement. The forum was opened by Martin Tlapa, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Commerce of the Czech Republic, Peter Balas, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's DG Trade, and Assistant Minister Chong Quan from the Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM). The Assistant Minister, together with leading officials from China’s patent, copyright and customs enforcement authorities provided an overview of China’s National IP Strategy. A review of the EU-China IPR2 Project's first year of implementation and new activities foreseen in the coming year was given, as part of hearing how EU-China policy is achieving results in practice. View IPR2 presentation.
In his address to stakeholders Mr Peter Balas emphasised the need for continuous attention to the protection and enforcement of IPR for European and Chinese industry: "The efforts made by China must be intensified as European businesses, notably SMEs, continue to face IPR problems. With progress being made in China, this process must continue to strengthen enforcement and enhance an innovation-friendly environment. The results of joint cooperation under the EU-China IPR2 Project will contribute to achieving this shared objective."
According to Assistant Minister Chong Quan, "In the framework of its national strategy on IP, China is accelerating its efforts towards improving the protection of intellectual property and the enforcement of IP rights. Particular attention is being given to the protection of IP during trade fairs and international exhibitions, where Chinese companies have frequently been experiencing conflicts. Earlier this week, a pilot initiative supporting mediation between Chinese and European companies at trade fairs was launched in the framework of the EU-China IPR2 Project. This is a noteworthy example of the excellent co-operation between China and Europe, leading to real benefits for industry."
Wim Van der Eijk, Vice-President a.i. for international and legal affairs at the European Patent Office, underlined the importance of practical and sustained IP protection efforts for industry: “The EPO has a long standing experience in supporting the development of international standards of IP. For more than two decades China has been an important co-operation partner, and now through the EU-China IPR2 Project, is helping to support a favourable environment for European companies to invest in China.”
Mr Wang Yongshui, D. Director General from the General Administration of Customs, Mr Xu Chao, D.Director, National Copyright Administration and Mr Wu Xiaoming, D. Director General, State Intellectual Property Office provided an overview of their respective policies and progress in strengthening the protection of IP as well as taking part in a Q&A with industry.
Mr Yang Guohua, D. Director General and Mr Chen Fuli, Director from the Department of Treaty and Law, MOFCOM, the Chinese implementing authority , together with Mr Qian Liyong, IPR2 Project Director, and Mr Carlo Pandolfi, IPR2 Technical Assistance Team Leader, presented a review of the EU-China IPR2 Project's first year of implementation as well as the new activities foreseen in the coming year.
View Highlights of 2nd Annual Work Plan.
Details of China's National IP Strategy.
The Brussels stakeholder briefing followed a visit by Assistant Minister Chong Quan to Hannover, Germany, where he inaugurated the first official mediation service at a European trade fair together with Ms Ewa Syowiec, Director, DG Trade, European Commission, to help settle disputes between European and Chinese companies on product counterfeiting.
In co-operation with the Ministry of Commerce, IPR2 supported an information and mediation facility which aimed to provide assistance to exhibitors and defuse conflicts between Chinese and European companies over patent, trade
mark and industrial design rights during the CeBIT trade fair. Manned by Chinese and European experts, it was effective in helping Chinese exhibitors to become more aware of the importance of IP rights at international trade fairs, settle disputes with European companies and open talks on licensing agreements. There are plans to set up a similar desk at other European and Chinese trade fairs.