Tuesday, July 18, 2006

How To Solve the Xiushui Market IPR Enforcement Dilemma

A short article titled 'Beijing's Xiushui Market in a dilemma: fakes still appear' about Silk Street (Xiushui) market by Chinanews was published on IPR.gov.cn, see here.

The article mentioned law suits of the last months and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the the management of the market and representatives of 22 international famous brands, see here. To no avail.

"We understand the feelings of those vendors, they have to gain profits here," an emphatic market managing official Fan said, responsible to protect IPRs: "But our market should follow IPR protection regulations and protect famous brands from fakes." Maybe some of Fan's words have lost in translation, but you don't have to be a visionary to see that Fan has only a lukewarm commitment to protect IPRs.

Fan seems torn apart by conflicting interests: it is in the market management's interest that the vendors are able to continue paying their management fees; but the IPRs need to be respected too and the MOU makes that unequivocally clear.

Fan should think along with the vendors to reposition the Xiushui Market and solve the perceived dilemma. From piracy/counterfeit market to ... something else. After this rebranding, vendors should learn how to make a living with these alternative products, and tourists should be informed that they can get everything, except fakes at Xiushui Market.

Another thing is that the functionary who receives management fees and is dependent on these, should not be made responsible for protection and enforcement of IPRs. That should be someone else, who for example will get partly a performance based salery.

In fact, lessons may be learned from the conflicts of interests and localism at other levels of IPR enforcement in China.

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