The 24th bilateral Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade concluded on December 20, 2013 at Diaoyutai State Guest House. The US “Fact Sheet” on this year’s JCCT is attached here.
The JCCT was jointly chaired by the US Department of Commerce, the US Trade Representative and the US Department of Agriculture at the ministerial (Secretary) level on the US side, and by Vice Premier Wang Yang on the Chinese side. It is a key bilateral mechanism for raising trade-related bilateral intellectual property concerns.
This year there were several outcomes that were IP-related. These outcomes included: a commitment by China to include trade secrets protection as a priority item in the interagency IPR leading group for 2014, as well as a commitment to work on trade secret legislative reform matters in China. A prior commitment by China to insure that patent applicants in pharmaceutical patents can supplement their data was expanded to specify that this commitment applied to examination, re-examination and SIPO’s representation before the courts, as well as to work together to resolve specific cases.
China also committed to work with the US on civil IPR enforcement matters, to continue to work on trademark squatting issues, cooperate on enforcement efforts to realize increases in sales of legitimate, non-infringing goods and services, and to undertake enforcement efforts involving substandard and infringing semiconductors.
There was a also a recognition of SIPO’s efforts to date to provide design patent protection for graphical user interfaces, and a signing ceremony for a bilateral MOU with the U.S. Trade And Development Agency to provide IPR-related technical assistance with MofCOM as a coordinating agency (that is the picture above). The various signings are attached here. A Chinese summary of the outcomes from the concluding ceremony also includes improved bilateral criminal justice enforcement cooperation on IP matters.
The JCCT is sometimes used to break new ground (such as on trade secrets, or SIPO’s representations before the courts on pharma patents). It is also used to reinforce existing commitments (such as on GUI’s and sales of legitimate goods), and to expand areas of technical assistance and cooperation (such as in civil enforcement of IP and the signing of the TDA MOU).
I personally believe the outcome statement shows a good balance among the role of administrative enforcement agencies, resolution of technical IP issues, and the importance that the civil and criminal systems should play in the development of a mature IP system.
Photographs above and below by Mark Cohen.