For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

US and China's Unprecedented Anti-Counterfeiting Partnership

Working together to
combat counterfeiting
For one month, the US Customs and Border Protection agency ("CBP") and its Chinese counterpart, the General Administration of China Customs ("GACC"), teamed up for an extensive operation to combat the distribution of counterfeit goods.  According to Reuters, the agencies successfully seized "more than 243,000 fake electronics products, including popular consumer items made by Apple, Samsung, Beats by Dr. Dre, and Blackberry."  [Merpel purrs in surprise and amusement at seeing Apple and Samsung both referenced in a sentence devoid of the words "patents", "lawsuit", "dispute" or other combative terms.] 

The offending goods were seized by Chinese or US authorities at, respectively, the Chinese point of export or the US point of import.  [Merpel wonders if it bears pointing out that there were no reports of seizures at the US point of export or Chinese point of import....]  The acting CBP commissioner, Thomas Winkowski, explains in a CBP press release that,
"[t]he theft of intellectual property is a global problem and cross-border efforts are needed to fight it. CBP looks forward to a continued partnership with the People’s Republic of China General Administration of Customs in confronting this critical trade issue.  Robust enforcement of intellectual property rights allows innovators and creators – whether in a small start-up or an international corporation – to profit from their efforts, and gives consumers confidence in the products they buy." 
The impressive results of this cross-border operation highlights positive developments in intellectual property rights enforcement in China.  Says Zou Zhiwu, Vice Minister of GACC:
“IPR infringement is a global issue involving not only the process of production and export, but also that of import and circulation. It not only harms the order of global trade, but also threatens the health and safety of consumers. Enforcement agencies around the world should work more closely to crack down these illegal activities. China Customs has been making unremitting efforts to promote international cooperation in this field. The results of this joint operation are very inspiring and have consolidated our confidence and resolve to jointly fight against IPR violations....”
Long-term US cooperation with China in this respect is an appropriate priority for CBP considering that seventy-two percent of all counterfeit goods seized in the US are imported from China.  [If there's ever a reason for Apple and Samsung to put aside their differences and collaborate, it would be to cooperate on combating criminal counterfeiting activities that harm both companies.]

Though there have been prior joint operations between CBP and its counterparts in other countries, the partnership with GACC is the largest ever undertaken.  If this is the merely the first of similar large scale cooperative efforts between customs agencies around the globe, this Kat is more hopeful that global counterfeiting operations could be successfully combatted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Presumably the concept of mutual need reflected in the term 'Chinamerica' means cooperation is going to happen more and more. Perhaps they'll adopt a unitary patent system across the two nations after they see the roaring success it will be in Europe.

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