Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shanghai Signboards: We Sell Only Real Products, Really...

Next month you can find in Shanghai 100 shops that have a (zhen1) sign in their window, which means that they only sell genuine products.

The Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration will control and coordinate the distribution of the signboards. The authenticity of all goods will be checked. Shops must make sure suppliers provide intellectual property certificates and clarify legal responsibility if intellectual property violations occur. Ms Angela Xu writes for the Shanghai Daily that just as in Hong Kong, which started with the 真 signboards, the validity period for each signboard is one year, and after that a company must re-apply.

In Hong Kong there are now 4,700 shops with a 真 signboard. If there are so many signsboards it is harder to check each and every shop whether there are any pirated or counterfeit goods for sale. However, Gu Yonghua of the Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration says that "[i]f a store is caught selling counterfeit goods, the signboard will be removed immediately." If that is the only punishment it would be rather meagre.
Questions on the efficacy of the signboard system: Will the Shanghai shops with the signboard be regularly checked? And if so, who is going to pay for that directly? The governement or the intellectual property right holder or the shop owner? In the last two instances the customer will pay for it in the end of course. And how does a customer knows whether the signboard that says real is really real?
Read Ms Xu's article for the Shanghai Daily via the China Daily here.
Hat tip to CIPP's IP News This Week by Jeff Roberts.
UPDATE: Mr Stan Abrams of China Hearsay questions 'But Will Anyone Care' and has his doubts whether the customers really care, since they can already judge a product whether it is real or not by its price. Mr Abrams is also wondering whether the Shanghai IP authorities have enough resources for the project. Read more here.


Anonymous said...

Hey Danny
What happens if the signs themselves are illegally copied?


IP Dragon said...

Hi Duncan,

Exactly, that is why regular checks by the Shanghai IP administration is crucial.


IP Dragon 知識產權龍
Gathering, commenting on and sharing information about intellectual property to make it more transparent, since 2005

Anonymous said...

Enforcement for this borders on impossible.

In the liquor industry, for example, shopkeepers put genuine products out front and keep the fakes tucked out of sight. Enforcing the "真" standard would require constant inspections.

The Shanghai authorities don't have enough time/manpower for administrative raids, let alone perpetual monitoring of retailers.