Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) can be defined as a category of property that includes properties that are intangible creations of the human intellect. That is this right that addresses the materials and things that are created by the power of the human mind. They usually give the creator of such material exclusive rights over his or her works or creation over a specific period of time. Intellectual property right is interpreted and addressed in different ways in different parts of the world but in this article, we want to talk about how china addresses and interprets this right.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) have been acknowledged and protected in China since the 1980s after China agreed to major international conventions on the protection of rights to intellectual property. Also, the Chinese government, administrative bodies, and legislature have added the intellectual property law to the Chinese constitution. The law covers an area of trademark, copyright, and patent. This addition and acknowledgement by the Chinese government have led to the creation of a comprehensive legal framework to protect both local and foreign intellectual property.
Despite all these, there are still many people violating the intellectual property law in China, China publishers struggle with book piracy which is quite rampant in the country. A study by the American Chamber of Commerce in China shows that the laws in place exceed their actual enforcement and that patent protection receives a high approval rate while the protection of trade secrets lags far behind. To curb this, the Chinese government is making a lot of effort to improve its intellectual property rights protection and these efforts as reported by the American Chamber of Commerce are yielding good and encouraging results.
In a bid to protect intellectual property rights, China has participated in a lot of international conventions that have helped in the protection of intellectual rights. In 1980, China joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and since then has patterned its intellectual property rights on the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and also on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In June 1989, China also acceded to the Madrid Agreement for the International Registration of Trademarks.
About the laws that have been put in place by the Chinese government to protect intellectual rights, there are three major and most important laws that all the legal framework for protecting intellectual property is built on. These three laws are The Patent law, The Trademark Law, and The Copyright law. A brief expatriation of these three laws is given below.
• THE TRADEMARK LAW
The trademark law in China sets out the general instruction on the administration of trademarks, protection of trademark owners’ exclusive rights and the maintenance of the quality of the materials, products or services registered with trademarks. The aim is to protect the customer’s interest and also to protect the development of the socialist economy.
• COPYRIGHT LAW
Controlled by the copyright law of the PVC, copyright law in most cases covers the whole life of the author plus an additional 50 years. But in the case of cinematographic and photographic works created by a company or organization, the copyright law only covers 50 years after the first publication of the book.
• PATENT LAW
The patent law was only implemented to encourage invention-creation and to promote the development of science and technology as it is a law that prevents people from stealing, claiming or making use of another person’s intention without s inventor’s permission.
There are still other laws that protect and regulates intellectual property right but these are the major ones. To implement this law, the Chinese government has established an administrative unit in the government. This unit which is the state intellectual property office consists of the trademark office, the patent office, and the copyright office ensuring that the people obey these laws, and apprehend and charge violators of these laws to court. To make court cases relating to intellectual rights easier, there is a special type of courts that have been established in some cities and towns to specifically deal with such cases.
But despite all these government efforts and attempts to protect intellectual rights effectively, there are still many people that violate these laws. These violators give the government a lot of problems as most of them do not even know what it means to violate intellectual property rights because they do not have proper information and education as regards this. This is one of the major challenges that the Chinese government faces daily as the government tries to enlighten more people daily.
Another problem the government faces as they try to protect the intellectual right of the people is local protectionism. The local members of local communities often decline to work with the government in its fight against violators. Members of local communities do not provide the government with useful that will help the government to easily apprehend these violators, and it will also allow these violators to hide in their manufacturing factories in safer and more secrete places making it very difficult for the government to find them.