Washington - The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today sponsored a seminar on the Chinese criminal justice system for intellectual property offenses. The seminar was held to introduce the Chinese criminal justice system to U.S. industry, government agencies, intellectual property owners and legal practitioners so they may better understand the system and use it to their full advantage to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The seminar is part of USPTO's ongoing effort to assist U.S. businesses and intellectual property owners on protecting their rights in overseas markets.
Among the highlights of the program were noted China legal scholar and Associate Dean of Georgetown Law School, Professor James Feinerman, who spoke on the Chinese criminal legal system for handling intellectual property rights infringement cases. Mark Cohen, USPTO's IP attaché assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, spoke on the Chinese Supreme People's Court's recently issued judicial interpretation on "Handling Criminal Cases of Infringing Intellectual Property."
"With 1.3 billion people, China offers a fertile market for American products and services," said Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Steve Pinkos. "Improving the environment for U.S. companies doing business in China and addressing widespread counterfeiting and piracy is a major goal of this Administration."
Last year, the Commerce Department, in conjunction with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, conducted a high level meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) on trade issues with China, chaired by former Commerce Secretary Don Evans, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert B. Zoellick and China's Vice Premier Wu Yi. Intellectual property issues are among the top agenda items of the JCCT, and the Chinese government pledged at the meeting that they would issue a new judicial interpretation for criminal intellectual property rights infringements.
In December 2004, the Chinese government issued a new judicial interpretation for criminal intellectual property rights infringements to address deficiencies in the prior system that many rights holders believed thwarted the use of the Chinese criminal justice system to attack counterfeiting and piracy. A major change in the judicial interpretation is that the monetary thresholds for seized and confiscated counterfeit and pirated goods have been significantly reduced. However, there are a number of additional concerns and a need for clarification of terms contained in the new judicial interpretation.