Of the live topics of media, China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone was officially approved on August 22, 2013 (hereinafter "the Zone"). It is launched in the context of globalized economy and opening-up demand. The world IP landscape shows the consensus of high standards in IP enforcement among the developed countries, while, I believe, it will be strong pillar support for the Zone to deepen opening-up and transform trade modes that the IP enforcement regime is healthy and service providers are working on the right track. Herebelow is some of the IP forecast for the Zone.
The applicable laws are better to be innovatively adaptable, provided that the Zone is governed by special policies oriented towards an open, efficient, friendly and convenient environment. It can be found that some provisions of four foreign-related laws, i.e., Foreign Investment Enterprise Law, are suspended with the authorization from the National People's Congress dated August 26, as they are in conflict with foreign direct investment and auction services. Likewise, some of the provisions of IP-related laws and regulations might not apply to the entities in the Zone. For example, the licensee's products within the Zone could possibly be immune to the administrative procedures of recordal or approval if intended for export, as different from what is prescribed in the current Regulations on Technology Import and Export Administration in terms of technology transfer and licensing. They could be alternatively bound by the contract. Further, the IP enforcement in China is subject to heavy burden of proof and low-degree punishment, which might be the underlying detriments to the Zone. Here is the call for a series of policies intended for proper enforcement and even punitive damages.
The regulatory enforcement from the customs is advisably added to the current bifocal IP protection, administrative and judicial. The four sub-zones have long been administered by the customs, covering the Waigaoqiao Bonded Zone, Waigaoqiao Logistics Park, Yangshan Free Port and Pudong Int'l Ariport Bonded Area. However, the official functions are better to alter to accommodate whatever the needs are. Firstly, the manufacturing and sales channels completed within the Zone shall also be governed in addition to export. Secondly, any lawful IP rights shall be administratively enforced apart from the customary recordation of certain IP right, or otherwise judicially enforced as well. Thirdly, the officers can get down to work on the illegal cases as efficiently as they notify the party concerned upon infringement. Lastly, a court may be designated to govern the IP cases of the Zone, or alternatively an established receiving office or mobile court(s) can be considered. The summary proceedings may also be a good option.