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Summary and Conclusion

In terms of the changes made in response to China’s WTO accession and consequent obligation to comply with the TRIPS Agreement, it was found that almost all respondents had noticed a positive change in the IP system in the past five years (2001-6). However, overall, many respondents expressed frustration with seeking to enforce IP rights in the post-TRIPS system, but some respondents were also keen to point out certain strengths of the IP system, particularly in administrative proceedings. On the other hand, respondents reported experiencing local protectionism, judicial incompetence, perceived discrimination against foreign rights-holders and problems with evidence. Thus, the comprehensive model of compliance outlined in Chap. 2 offered a framework for analysing some of the remaining problems in the enforcement of the post-TRIPS IP system.

These various factors influencing compliance with the TRIPS Agreement which were specific to China have been considered under three main headings: basic parameters of China, fundamental factors such as political and institutional factors, and proximate factors such as administrative capacity. Some of the factors identified above were perceived to be more significant than the others. In terms of parameters overall, survey responses indicated that China’s previous behaviour and historical and cultural factors were not felt to be major influences, but the size and number of neighbours of China may have had a minor influence on compliance. Therefore, basic parameters should not be ignored in assessing China’s compliance, but they were certainly not the most significant influences on the framework of intellectual property protection and enforcement in 2005-6.

Turning to fundamental factors impacting upon China’s TRIPS compliance, several of these factors were identified as crucial contributing factors to the post-TRIPS IP system in China, particularly the lack of awareness of IP rights, local protectionism and a lack of consistency in enforcement, which were all identified as highly significant by respondents. Several proximate factors were also identified as key contributors to the state of the IP system in China at this time. These were, most importantly, the inadequate level of penalties imposed on infringers and the judiciary’s lack of strength in dealing with IP issues. In addition, the personnel in the IP system were subject to many comments from respondents, but the focus of these comments was primarily on the low quality of the personnel. Furthermore, more minor proximate factors identified by respondents which may have had an influence included the attitude of the central government leadership and the role played by pressure groups such as the QBPC.

In general, although China had been largely successful in meeting its formal substantive obligations under the TRIPS Agreement, the problem of intellectual property infringements had not diminished by 2005-6 and consequently overall effectiveness was still a problem in the IP system in China. Clearly, additional changes were necessary to fully comply with all the aims of the TRIPS Agreement, including the effective enforcement of IP rights, and this process of further development will be considered in Chap. 7 which focuses on the transformed state of the IP system in 2015.

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