China announces plans to clamp down on IP theft

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has said it will tighten controls on IP infringement with a particular focus on trademark registration abuse and business secret theft.

It comes 11 days after US President Donald Trump signed a memorandum asking the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to assess whether there is a need to investigate IP theft in China.

News agency Reuters reported that Wang Shouwen, a vice commerce minister, told reporters at a press briefing that China’s IP protection was “not perfect” as a developing country.

He went on to add that details of the measures and a specific timetable for implementation will be announced by the end of September, “in principle”.

Despite the reported clampdown, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce previously branded the move by Trump to assess the need for an investigation as "irresponsible" and insisted China will take “all appropriate measures” to safeguard its rights and interests.

Yesterday, a trademark victory for footwear manufacturer New Balance was described as “precedent-setting” as a court in China ordered a group of sellers to pay RMB 10 million ($1.5 million) for using the shoe maker’s signature slanting logo.