Authors: Erikas Saukalas, Associated Partner, Attorney-at-Law, Head of the International Relations Division at METIDA
There are hardly any counterfeit goods left in China because all counterfeiters fled to Europe. So far it is only the dream of the Chinese government, however it appears that this counterfeit business will not thrive in this country as it used to.
China Daily writes that Chinese members from the Office of the National Leading Group for Combating IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting announced that they were changing their tactics and would prepare more raids in the areas where most offenses were recorded in order to wipe out their hotspots. They are hoping to achieve this while focusing their attention on the web sale of counterfeit goods and pirated copies. The officials will also target the production of the counterfeit goods and their distribution groups that operate internationally.
However, counterfeiters are also being mobilised. To reduce costs, the production of the clothing, medicines, food, software and entertainment goods in the Eastern region is shifted to the less-developed central and western regions and the peripheries of cities, and the more popular online production let the distributors of the counterfeit goods use a virtual space more effectively.
This resulted in an increase of violations on the Internet. Offenders are becoming more organised, therefore the elimination of violations requires more effort. One of the latest trends is a boom of online sales of fake medicines. In the following year Chinese officials are planning to implement specific campaigns and expect cooperation from e-commerce platforms in the fight against this crime.
This belief has a basis because in August, 2013 China’s largest online trade platform Taobao.com signed a memorandum with the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition, a Washington-based non-profit organisation demonstrating that it will not tolerate counterfeit production and trade. The cooperation aims to improve the technology available for the reporting of counterfeit goods and their identification, as well as to develop educational materials for online buyers and sellers. Sooner or later other shops of electronic trade will follow the example set by Taobao.com.
Statistics show that China’s fight against counterfeiters is not limited to declaratory statements and loud slogans. From January to September last year 234, 000 criminal cases concerning IP rights infringement were opened. These proceedings will be open to the public. Chinese officials are also planning to create a counterfeit vendors’ blacklist, which will be made public, so that consumers and businesses will get the opportunity to monitor their business partners.
Intensified fight against counterfeiting is a positive sign which will undoubtedly be welcomed by the entire international business and political communities and create a more favorable environment for doing business in China. China really needs that, especially now, when it is losing its competitiveness due to a labor which is becoming increasingly more expensive.