15. The representative of the European Communities said that his delegation welcomed the progress in the area of intellectual property rights made by China since last year and took note of the many ongoing initiatives of which he underline in particular The Action Plan for IP protection for 2009; the implementation of the National IP Strategy; the entry into force of the new patent law which took place in October 2009; the revision of the trademark law; and the announced revision of the copyright law. However, despite these positive developments and China's real efforts to address problems, his delegation remained concerned by the high level of counterfeiting and piracy in China. Although European customs seizures of counterfeit products coming from China had seen a certain decrease, China remained the main source of infringing goods with 54 per cent of infringing articles seized at EC borders coming from there. European companies continued to face serious IPR problems in China, particularly the lack of proper access to the judicial or administrative enforcement systems because of cumbersome notarization and legalization requirements which are unknown anywhere else in the world.
16. In addition, criminal prosecution remained ineffective, sanctions against infringers were insufficient to deter them, and administrative enforcement procedures were subject to discretion in many areas without any possibility of controlling why action was or was not taken. Civil procedures against infringing activities also remained expensive, time consuming, and difficult to obtain. This situation was reflected in the last EC intellectual property rights survey which had been published recently.
17. The EC was also concerned about certain official statements and internal notices in China which linked the financial crisis with a lowering of effective IP enforcement, as his delegation did not see a logical connection between the two concepts. To encourage China to actively pursue its efforts towards an effective IPR enforcement system, his delegation was committed to continue working bilaterally with China, particularly through the world's largest technical cooperation programme on intellectual property, IPR2.
18. The European Communities' cooperation with China was based on a structured dialogue on intellectual property as well as the EU China intellectual property working group which included participation of industry and which had held its sixth session in Beijing in September 2009. The EU and China had also recently agreed on a customs action plan specifically dedicated to IPR enforcement. Finally, he said, the European Office for Community Trademarks and Designs and its Chinese partners had concluded two memoranda of understanding promoting the cooperation in the fields of trademarks and designs. He hoped that this cooperative approach with China would lead to concrete and tangible results in further improving the IPR situation in this country.
19. His delegation had submitted thirty questions covering a wide range of IPR issues, including patents, technology transfer, the protection of confidential data, trademarks, copyrights, including online piracy, plant variety protection and competition rules. It had also asked questions on enforcement, including the involvement of right holders in legal proceedings, on customs measures and on these notarization and legalization requirements. He looked forward to receiving the answers to these questions from China.