19 July 2011
The EU-China IPR2 cooperation project on the protection of Intellectual Property held a closing ceremony last week at the EU Delegation to China in the presence of 13 ministries and enforcement agencies to commemorate the successful completion of over 200 technical assistance and training activities across China.
Chinese and European officials, including law-makers and judges, leading academics and industry experts gave a retrospective of the last four years of joint work and the lessons learnt from this comprehensive partnership. The IPR2 Project, which was launched in 2007 by the EU and the Chinese government with EUR 16.275 million in joint funding, has aimed at improving the reliability, efficiency and accessibility of the IP protection system in China, towards establishing a sustainable environment for effective IPR enforcement in China.
The closing ceremony included a handover of access to 500 expert materials and information tools developed by the Project from 2007-2011 to the Chinese authorities.
"When looking at IPR2's significance, we see a milestone in the EU and China partnership and the deliverables of the cooperation. IPR2 has contributed to strengthening trade and economic ties between the EU and China; it has not only helped support a favourable environment for European companies to invest in China, but also for Chinese to invest in Europe by learning to protect their individual businesses. Enhancing an IPR-friendly environment in China, guaranteeing a fair competition between Chinese and European industries, will have therefore a beneficial effect for both economies," said Ms Carmen Cano, Minister Counsellor, EU Delegation to China and Mongolia.
According to the EPO Vice President Raimund Lutz, "In building up this strong co-operation model, the European Patent Office fostered the participation of IP authorities in Europe and extended the range of competences and expertise available. The other fundamental element is represented by the commitment of the Chinese government to the protection of IP rights."
"The results of this are already visible", he said. "In 2010, the European Patent Office recorded a total number of filings slightly above 235 000 patent applications. Out of these, almost 13 000 filings came from China, representing an astounding 96% increase since 2008. This commitment has been evident through the engagement of all IP authorities in the implementation of cooperation programmes over the past years and foremost with the IPR2 Project. The effectiveness of the IPR2 work would not have been possible without the very close and fruitful cooperation between all partners involved."
The IPR2 Project has been running on a parallel track to the larger scale National IP Strategy of China (launched in June 2008). Common interests on specific topics between the two initiatives, together with sharing of resources, have maximised results of the IPR2 co-operation programme: exchanges and training, support to the private sector, best practice initiatives in IPR enforcement have involved thousands of government officials, companies and scholars.
IPR2 is a partnership project between the European Union and the People's Republic of China on the protection of intellectual property rights in China (2007-2011). This is done by providing technical support to, and building the capacity of the Chinese legislative, judicial and administrative authorities in administering and enforcing intellectual property rights; improving access to information for users and officials; as well as reinforcing support to right holders.
The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) is the IPR2 Chinese implementing organisation. The European Patent Office (EPO) is the European implementing organisation for IPR2, and draws on expertise from its Member States in specific fields and the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) on trademark and design.