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November 22, 2013

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FTZ to handle IP conflicts as per pact

Intellectual property disputes at the Shanghai Free Trade Zone will be addressed as per  international conventions, to which China is a party, as well as existing IP laws in the country, officials said yesterday.

Speaking at the seventh Shanghai Patent Week, officials also stressed that they will look into individual cases to improve IP protection inside the free trade zone and bring it in line with international standards.

Lu Guoqiang, director of the Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration, said the Shanghai free trade zone will strengthen IP protection from both judicial and administrative aspects.

Currently, there are only two legal bases — the international conventions that China has joined and the existing Chinese IP laws and regulations.

“We don’t know what kind of IP-related disputes and problems we will encounter and whether we need to amend the law because the free trade zone has only just started,” Lu said.

Lu said a unified administrative institute will handle patent and copyright issues in the free trade zone, which is different elsewhere in China where patent and copyright issues are handled separately by two government agencies.

The institute will be run by the FTZ’s management committee, but for trademark issues, companies will have to approach the industrial and commercial administration, said Lu.

Although a tribunal has been set up in the zone, companies are being encouraged to resolve their disputes before going to court, which Lu said, improves efficiency and saves cost.

“We advocate resolving IP-related disputes through various means. They can either go to an arbitration committee, or mediate among themselves with the help of a third-party,” Lu said.



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