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FESI takes the stage in EU-China Intellectual Property Working Group Meeting

Tuesday, 15 November, 2016

Brussels, BELGIUM

The fight against online-counterfeits continues, as Chinese officials and EU representatives put their heads together.

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Left to right: FESi Secretary General (Alberto Bichi) with MOFCOM Deputy Director General (Chen Fuli).

 

On the 10th of November, FESI Secretary General (Alberto Bichi) joined the EU-China IP Working group meeting to exchange views on IPR infringements affecting the sporting goods industry with an interministerial delegation from China and EU officials.

As a sector, the sporting goods industry has been heavily affected globally by the online sale of counterfeit products. Specifically in China, rogue companies fool consumers by registering trademarks similar to legitimate brands.While the fraudulent trademark in China has the same pronunciation as the original, the Latin version is different. That causes major issues, as Chinese consumers who do not read Latin characters are deceived by fraudulent companies who put both versions on their websites and in auction sites. According to FESI Secretary General (Alberto Bichi), "this situation calls for a strong need to have a clear legal framework protecting both right owners and consumers from counterfeit goods". In his presentation on "Challenges brought by E-commerce Enforcement issues for the sporting goods industry" he adressed several issues and elaborated on the fact that the sporting goods industry has been very active in China. The sector has been using all available means to fight counterfeiting through IPR and digital teams on the ground, working with both European and Chinese authorities. Thanks to these combined efforts, the Chinese authorities have effectively adopted several laws which should help to ease the E-commerce environment in China.

In this light, Chen Fuli (Deputy Director General of MOFCOM) stated that "China is the largest e-commerce country. Fighting online counterfeiting is thus one of our key priorities. We must involve all stakeholders of the digital environment. This also includes online platforms who should take some responsibilities in the fight against online counterfeiting".

Endorsing this statement and applauding the committed collaboration between China and the EU, FESI Secretary General (Alberto Bichi) also underlined that "there is a need for higher penalties to increase the deterrence effect and it is important to make it as simple as possible, for rights owners to report counterfeits. Furthermore, in order to have a comprehensive online anti-counterfeitint strategy it is also imperative to adopt a clear and efficient legal framework, which provides efficient mechanisms to tackle counterfeiting".

The EU-China IP Working group meeting was a continuation of the first succesful exchange that was held in June 2015, during which the Chinese and EU delegates engaged into an open dialogue on the IP architecture in Europe and China and clarified issues of mutual concern. That first round also paved the way for the implementation of the MoU on the next ten years of EU-China IP cooperation - which was signed on 29 June 2015 by Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng, on the side-lines of the EU-China Summit. In the wake of this first edition, the focus at the present meeting was on the preparation and conclusion of the EU-China IP Dialogue Mechanism and on exploring new cooperation instruments and methods to deepen the EU-China partnership in matters related to IPR protection.