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Local governments join national campaign

In response to a national teleconference on the protection of intellectual property chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao last November, many provincial governments established committees and mounted massive crackdowns on infringements.

The local committees include representatives from public security, quality supervision, industry and commerce, and the press.

Eleven provinces mapped out plans just 10 days after the teleconference with varied approaches tailored to meet local challenges.

Beijing emphasized food, medicine, clothing, electronics, auto parts and building materials.

Key Beijing locales targeted included Silk Street - notorious for its wide selection of counterfeit designer brand apparel - and the many electronics markets in Zhongguancun where computers, cameras and cell phones are sold.

Beijing law enforcement officers checked nearly 80,000 retailers and more than 5,500 batches of export-oriented bulk goods during the campaign.

In neighboring Hebei province, actions took out pirated DVD manufacturing and storage hideouts.

Shandong province highlighted publications, farm seeds and fertilizers, and patent protection.

Nationwide, the police dealt with more than 5,500 major intellectual property rights violations by mid-March involving goods worth a total of 4.6 billion yuan ($705.7 million).

One case in Qingdao, Shandong province alone involved more than 30,000 counterfeit branded clothes and bags such as LV, Adidas and Puma with a potential retail value of 165 million yuan. Nine suspects were arrested in the transnational case.

Software was one of the fields that attracted attention from many provinces, with government departments earmarking funds to buy copyrighted programs.

The government of Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang province, signed a three-year contract with Microsoft to upgrade its software.

Authorities also worked out innovative methods in coping with infringements. Offices in Hebei province and neighboring Beijing and Tianjin municipalities decided on joint operations.

The court in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, held hearings in markets, shopping centers and companies.

"Such circuit courts are more like giving lessons. They popularize intellectual knowledge on property rights and help to increase awareness in the public in a more vivid way," said a circuit court judge.

More traditional educational campaigns and training programs have also been held nationwide to promote intellectual property protection.

More than 150,000 leaflets were distributed in Beijing, where recently seized counterfeit goods were destroyed in public to also boost awareness.

Eleven training classes were given in Shandong for more than 1,000 trainees in local commerce departments and companies.

Similar lectures were also held in government departments, residential communities and schools in Jilin province.

Authorities in Guangzhou, Guangdong province made a video on intellectual property rights that was shown in the city's 5,000 buses, 1,000 buildings and 14 cruise ships on the Pearl River.

(China Daily 04/28/2011 page6)

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