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Police Ensure Intl Rights Protection for All

Local enforcement cooperates with global partners to tackle cross-border counterfeiting issues

China's police pay equal attention to the innovation achievements of both Chinese and overseas companies and give them equal protection, said an official from the Ministry of Public Security, the nation's top police authority.

Zhang Jingli, deputy director of the ministry's economic crime investigation bureau, made the comments at a conference of the Quality Brands Protection Committee of the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment on June 17. He said that the police authorities, as judicial law enforcement, are the "last barrier" to protect Chinese and overseas companies' intellectual property rights.

"The Ministry of Public Security regards fighting against crimes involving IP infringement as an important measure to serve the nation's socioeconomic development and has invested increasing resources in recent years," Zhang said.

With the fast integration of the global economy, especially the rapid development of the internet, the number of criminal cases concerning cross-border counterfeiting is growing sharply, he said.

The ministry has conducted international law enforcement cooperation by organizing joint operations, sharing information, offering assistance in collecting evidence and holding exchange programs.

It has so far established IP criminal enforcement cooperation mechanisms with 35 international law enforcement agencies, such as the International Criminal Police Organization, and has participated in the investigation of more than 40 international cases in the past two years.

Since 2011, the public security authorities nationwide have investigated about 190,000 criminal cases on IP infringement and the manufacturing and sales of counterfeit and substandard goods, involving total potential value of 120 billion yuan ($17.5 billion).

Among those cases, 2,400 were under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Security and all of them have concluded.

The most closely scrutinized areas include counterfeit food, medicines, farming materials and clothes, faked patents and trade secrets violations, said Zhang.

"In terms of strategies, we have optimized the campaign models and improved our capability in terms of digital investigation," he said. He added that they have raided more than 2,000 crime groups with integrated supply, production and sales networks.

In 2015, the police of Haizhu district in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, investigated a case involving partners selling counterfeit New Balance and Converse sports shoes online. The principal defendant was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, and the other was sentenced one year and two months.

The police found only about 150 pairs of shoes at the hideout, but online records acquired from e-commerce platforms showed the group's sales amounted to more than 2.3 million yuan.

The Ministry of Public Security and a number of other national administrations have been cooperating by sharing information and launching joint operations. The nation's administrative enforcement agencies at all levels have submitted 32,000 pieces of evidence to the public security authorities since 2011.

The ministry and many local police forces have also established cooperation with IP rights owners and industry associations, said Zhang.

"It is a statutory duty for law enforcement agencies to fight against infringement and protect IP rights. It is also a challenging task," Zhang said.

Source: China Daily