Copycats have 'innovative' features too: Official

13:41, December 02, 2010      

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In a rare defense of notorious copycat practices by certain Chinese manufacturers, a senior official has stated that "innovative elements" of fake products should be protected and encouraged, instead of being squashed without consideration of their intellectual property value.

Yang Xueshan, vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), did not define what "innovative elements" exist among China's shanzhai (knockoff) products but stated that knockoffs belong in the debate over intellectual property rights.

Both the interests of intellectual property holders and of the end-consumers of these products should be considered when it comes to intellectual property, as both protection and use of property contribute to the progress of society, he said at a press conference Tuesday.

Yang added that it is not fair to label a knockoff product as piggybacking on existing intellectual property without careful assessment. He said fake-product makers should pay for using intellectual property created by others to avoid any infringement. Otherwise, he said, they should be encouraged, as they are also innovating.

However, his support was mitigated by a pledge that a firm crackdown on any IPR infringement would be properly conducted.

By Song Shengxia, Global Times

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