December 2008, I dealt with the 'Influence of the Financial Crisis on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property in China'. In this post I wrote:
In China there are still villages dependent on the production of counterfeit and pirated goods. The incentive for the Chinese government to enforce intellectual property and make these people de facto unemployed and thus prone to protest is not very likely. The Chinese government might temporarily look the other way when it comes to intellectual property infringement.
Well, the Chinese Supreme People's Court does not look the other way: they came up with an opinion (Opinion on Certain Issues with Respect to Intellectual Property Judicial Adjudication Under the Current Economic Situation) that says for example that courts should consider other measures than injunctions in case an injunction would run counter to the public interest.
This this not contravene China's obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs): Articles 7 and 8 TRIPs, taken together may provide, "a basis for seeking waivers to meet unforeseen conditions of hardship," J.H. Reichman, The TRIPs Agreement Comes of Age: Conflict or Cooperation with the Developing Countries, 32 Case W. Res. J. International Law, 2000, pp. 441 and 461.
Drastic times call for drastic measures, what do you think? And how temporary is the Opinion?
Read Peter Ollier's article about the opinion at Managing Intellectual Property Magazine here.