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More Severe Punishments Needed to Curb Intellectual Property Infringement

Fines are low enough that IP infringement remains profitable sentences are too light to deter repeat offenders, writes NPC deputy

By Xu Mouquan Updated Mar.26

To strengthen intellectual property (IP) protection, China needs to stop judging the severity of violations based solely on monetary losses, said Wang Wei, general manager of Shanghai Textile Decoration Corp (Group) and a National People’s Congress deputy, in a piece for The Beijing News. 

Fines are low enough that IP infringement remains profitable and sentences are still light, Wang wrote. Research by the University of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found that in six years, courts granted reprieves for over 60 percent of IP cases that ended with sentences of three years or less.  

Wang proposed that authorities come down harder on repeat offenders. In addition, she suggested scrapping the current system of setting fines as a multiple of illegal gains and adopt a more severe punitive damages mechanism. 

Wang noted that the fight against fakes has two fronts. Domestically, it requires the cooperation of law enforcement, brand holders, sales platforms and consumers. For example, law enforcement needs certification reports from brand holders to determine the authenticity of products.

Because IP cases often involve multiple countries, greater inter-governmental cooperation is necessary, she added.