Italy and China set for greater cooperation on IP rights protection

Italy

The Italian and Chinese governments have entered into an agreement on the protection of IP rights that will set up a framework for closer links between officials in both countries' IP agencies. The agreement comes in response to pressure from Italian companies who are becoming increasingly worried by the level of counterfeit products entering the market from China.

The agreement, signed by Italian Minister of Productive Activities Antonio Marzano and by the head of the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), Wang Jingchuan, will see greater cooperation on IP protection between the Italian Patent and Trademark Office, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and their Chinese counterparts (the SIPO, the Trademark Office of the State Administration of Industry and Trade, and the State Copyright Administration Office).

The areas covered by the agreement include the following:

  • The two countries will take a coordinated approach to IP protection on a direct level and in other areas of cooperation, such as culture, economics, science, technology and trade.

  • The relevant authorities will exchange information and expertise on IP legislation, issues relating to industrial property, the organization and operation of collective copyright management, and the training of personnel involved in IP protection.

  • The two countries will also share information on and discuss issues relating to (i) the development of the international IP system, with particular emphasis on their participation in and implementation of multilateral international treaties on IP protection, and (ii) the fight against infringement of IP rights.

Further to the signature of the agreement and in compliance with the principles stated therein, government delegations from Italy and China met in Rome in June to discuss the technical aspects of trademark and design protection in China.

As confirmed by the secretary of the Italian Ministry of Productive Activities, another meeting between Italy and China has already been scheduled for November 2004. Among the various issues proposed as topics for discussion, the Italian delegation suggested an exchange of information on the Madrid Protocol, design protection and appeal procedures within the respective trademark offices, while China proposed talks on cooperation in training methods for small and medium-sized companies in relation to industrial property legislation.

Pietro Pouchè, McDermott Will & Emery/Carnelutti Studio Legale Associato, Milan

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