Monday, April 18, 2011

How bright is Bright Sword?

Is the Force with mass campaigns?
Are mass campaigns of intellectual property enforcement mere temporary patchwork, leaving untouched the underlaying problems? Most mass campaigns are still announced with starting date and expiration date. The only thing trademark counterfeiters and copyright pirates need to do is book a holiday and start after the campaign is over, reinvigorated. Now I exaggerate a bit. But mass campaigns are in my view suboptimal and overrated, despite all the impressive statistics, and to be consumed by foreign media tired about reporting on IPR infringement cases in China.

The newest campaign is named Bright Sword. The question is whether it is a bit less typical in that it will continue for quite a long time. It started November 2010 and will continue until the end of 2011. The police seized 14,185 suspects in five months, allegedly involved in over 8,000 cases of IPR infringements, according to the Public Security Ministry.

Zhang Yan and Cai Yin wrote for the China Daily that Bright Swords focuses on eight fields including fake international brands, fake food and drugs, pirated film and television works as well as organised crime. Zhang and Cai wrote in the same article that the police is targeting four activities: agriculture, fake drugs, counterfeit wine and food, as well as fake brands. If the journalists are so unclear about which categories are targeted IPR infringers have a more difficult job finding out if they need to temporarily stop their activities.

Deputy director of the ministry's economic crime investigation department, Gao Feng was quoted saying that of 7,000 production and sales outlets were shut down and that the ministry will focus on the supervision of 340 major cases to ensure thorough investigation and punishment of violators. This information is a bit cryptical: does it mean that out of 8,000 cases just 340 cases are prosecuted?

Read the China Daily article here.

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