China Tells WTO: Obligations Fulfilled On IP Dispute Case 22/03/2010 by Kaitlin Mara for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)China on Friday briefed the World Trade Organization on improvements in its intellectual property rights enforcement needed to bring it into compliance with a dispute settlement decision made last year. In a status report delivered 19 March at a meeting of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), China said that it had approved several amendments to its copyright law on 26 February, including an article which had previously exempted banned books from copyright protection. In the same report China said it had on 17 March adopted revised rules for customs authorities who handle and dispose of IP infringing goods. The country now considers itself to have met the obligations set out in last year’s decision, the country said, according to a WTO official. The United States reminded the DSB that 20 March was China’s deadline for meeting these obligations. The US did not immediately endorse China’s view that it had met its obligations, and asked China to provide official copies of the changes it has made to its laws. The US can request an additional panel to examine China’s implementation of the DSB ruling, a WTO official explained to Intellectual Property Watch. Background The United States brought the case on “measures affecting the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights” against China in 2007, accusing China of lax enforcement of IP rights and therefore failure to comply with several laws under the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. A panel set up to hear the case released its decision in January 2009 agreed in part with the United States, saying that China had not met its obligation to have laws allowing effective action against and remedies for infringing material and to provide the same IP protection to foreign IP holders as to domestic owners (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 26 January 2009). But the panel said China’s system for applying criminal penalties on wilful, commercial-scale acts of IP infringement were not violating the country’s TRIPS obligations. The US had said the threshold for criminal activity was set too high in China to be useful (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 24 March 2009). Neither party appealed the decision, and in June 2009 a deadline for China to implement the changes was set for 20 March 2010 (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 19 January 2010). Another US-China IP-related case is still ongoing, concerning China’s treatment of audiovisual content originating outside its country. A WTO panel report on the issue was accepted in January 2010 (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 19 January 2010). A communication from China and the US dated 4 March (available on the WTO website) sets out agreed guidelines for the two countries to determine what a “reasonable period of time” is for China to implement the report’s recommendations. New DSB Chair Effective Friday, Amb Yonav Frederick Agah of Nigeria is the new chair of the Dispute Settlement Body, taking over from Canadian Ambassador John Gero. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Kaitlin Mara may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."China Tells WTO: Obligations Fulfilled On IP Dispute Case" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.