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Approval of IP Enforcement Continues to Climb: Survey

Enforcement remains the most concerning intellectual property issue in China yet public satisfaction with it has increased in the past year, according to a nationwide survey released in Beijing last week.

Enforcement has been a crucial consideration in the annual Report on Social Satisfaction Towards IP Protection, Xiao Luqing, secretary-general of the Patent Protection Association of China, one of the survey's co-organizers, said at a news conference.

The latest report on IP satisfaction on the Chinese mainland was released on World IP Day on April 26, and shows that satisfaction with enforcement has continued to grow for four consecutive years, which "reflects China's increasing efforts in IP protection", Xiao said.

However, the marked difference between public expectations and enforcement results was the reason for that section's low score in the survey, she said. The report found respondents were most dissatisfied by the severity of infringements and delayed and inadequate compensation for damages. Respondents also cited inefficiencies in judicial and administrative protection, a lack of enforcement resources, local protectionism and unreasonable divisions of responsibility among various administrative agencies as items they were dissatisfied with.

It shows there is much room to improve in enforcement, analysts said. It is also necessary to increase non-litigation resolution channels for IP disputes and offer multiple solutions, they said.

Co-initiated by the national trade associations of patents, trademarks and copyrights along with a marketing research company, the annual survey asks respondents to evaluate legislation and policy protection, enforcement, management and services, and publicity and education.

More than 89,000 questionnaires were sent to IP professionals, rights owners and laypeople across the country, and nearly 12,900 effective replies were collected. Of the three groups, IP professionals show the highest satisfaction.

Attorneys are the most dissatisfied among those IP professionals. Owners of trademarks are less satisfied than owners of copyrights and patents. When considering geography, the eastern and western regions gave lower satisfaction scores than the national average. Respondents from the west of the country are dissatisfied most with publicity and education.

This shows that IP work is gaining growing acceptance in the region as it attracts more industries away from the advanced coastal economies, the report states. In contrast, people in the east have higher expectations of IP protection.

With nine municipalities, provinces and autonomous regions excluded from the chart of local economies due to a shortage of valid replies, Hunan ranks top for satisfaction among the rest, closely followed by Heilongjiang and Shanghai.

The majority of the top 10 provincial economies in the ranking are located in central and northeastern regions. Of a maximum score of 100, IP satisfaction overall last year was 68.72 for those surveyed, a slight drop from 68.01 in 2014.

A primary reason for the drop was a considerable fall in ratings in the sections of management and services and publicity and education, which indicates a growing demand for IP services, Lu said. Since its debut in 2012, the annual report has aimed to reflect the latest developments in IP protection and offer a reference for decision-makers in IP authorities, organizers said.

The evaluation has been included as a key index in the appraisal system of fighting counterfeits and IP infringements nationwide.

Source: China Daily