List of "10 Most Influential People for China IP Protection" released

China

In September 2011 the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and various national IP associations jointly published a list of the "10 Most Influential People for China IP Protection", as well as "Top 20 Most Influential China IP Events in 2010".

The 10 most influential people are:

  • Wang Zi Qiang, director general of the China Copyright Office's Legal Department;
  • Xing Dongsheng, director of the Trademark Department of the Shanghai City Administration for Industry and Commerce;
  • Lv Guoqiang, commissioner of the Shanghai Intellectual Property Office;
  • Professor Liu Chuntian, dean of the Intellectual Property School of Renmin University;
  • Li Jianchang, ex-director general of the SAIC Trademark Office;
  • Professor Wu Handong, president of the Zhongnan University of Finance, Economics, Politics and Law;
  • Song Liuping, chief legal officer, Huawei;
  • Zhang Kangkang, vice president of the China Association of Writers;
  • Chen Jinchuan, chief IP judge of the Beijing Higher People’s Court; and
  • Qin Min, vice mayor of Qingdao City.

It is not the first time that China has produced this type of list. In 2009 some Chinese IP media, including the SIPO-affiliated China Intellectual Property Newspaper and China Daily, published a similar list, but it did not have much impact. Seven out of the 10 people on that list were chief executive officers of high-tech companies. To many people’s surprise, one of the 10 people nominated for the 2009 list was the ex-general manager of the notorious Silk Market, Wang Zili, who is now in prison for counterfeiting and bribery.

This year’s list seems to have greater credibility, as some national agencies were directly involved in its preparation. Partly because of this, the list itself is quite revealing as to who is playing a dominant role in IP protection and what is considered to be important by the local IP communities:

  • Six out of the 10 most influential people work for government authorities, and four out of these six work from the local governments. This is consistent with the general view that the Chinese government plays a critical part in enforcement actions, especially at the local level. The fact that two Shanghai officials made the list reinforced the impression that Shanghai is the most IP-friendly city in China.
  • Wang Zi Qiang, Zhang Kangkang and Liu Chuntian were probably among the most vocal IP personalities last year. Wang Zi Qiang, who used to be in charge of anti-piracy actions at the China Copyright Office and only recently took charge of its Legal Department, engaged in a very public war against Chinese video-sharing sites and online companies such as Baidu.com. This war was quite effective, as Baidu made a public apology to Chinese authors and most major video-sharing sites now buy content from Hollywood. Zhang Kangkang led a crowd of Chinese writers to fight against online piracy. Liu Chuntian is famous for his integrity and outspokenness.
  • Li Jianchang made significant contributions to the Chinese trademark system: funding and head count. The huge backlog of trademark applications started to shrink quickly under his leadership. The biggest problem for the enforcement of IP rights in China is the lack of resources. Given the size of the country, the shortage of specialised IP police and judges has made enforcement very difficult. People like Li Jianchang may not be IP experts, but they know how to change the agenda of the government and find the right resources.
  • It is interesting to see that the vice mayor of Qingdao is included in the list. He is considered to have played a key role in the development of famous local brands, such as Haier, Hisense and Tsingtao beer.

Arguably, the Chinese police is missing from the list. The Ministry of Public Security and the police at the local level have played a significant role in the State Council Special IP Campaign, which ended in June. The number of counterfeiters arrested and counterfeit goods seized far exceeded what had been achieved by other agencies.

He Jing, ZY Partners, Beijing

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