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China has seen a surge in foreign-related intellectual property rights (IPR) court cases since joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001.

Domestic courts nationwide tried and concluded 668 such cases in first instance last year, compared with only 43 in 2001.

Local courts concluded 1,634 such cases in first instance during the period, an annual growth of 58 percent.

Cao Jianming, Supreme People’s Court vice president, attributed the surge to the country’s opening-up process and development of foreign trade.

IPR protection has risen in importance on China’s judiciary agenda. Since 2001, the supreme court has ordered the establishment of special courts for IPR cases nationwide and lowered the threshold to prosecute people manufacturing or selling counterfeit products.

China has staged consistent fights against piracy, destroying pirated books and DVDs in public, trading counterfeit DVDs for movie tickets and raiding factories churning out fakes.

Chinese President Hu Jintao promised the implementation of a new “national strategy” on IPR protection at the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last October.

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