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The process of intellectual property law reform in China

Li Mingde

Keywords: intellectual property law; legislature process; competent administrative agencies; State Council; Standing Committee of the National People's Congress

In China, to enact or amend an intellectual property law, such as the Copyright Law, the Patent Law, the Trademark Law or the Unfair Competition Law is a complicated process, involving a number of competent administrations, the State Council, and the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. Generally speaking, there are three steps to enacting or amending an intellectual property law. First, a competent administration, such as the National Copyright Administration (in charge of the Copyright Law), the State Intellectual Property Office (in charge of the Patent Law), or the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (in charge of the Trademark Law and the Unfair Competition Law), shall draft a law or amendment on the basis of their views. Secondly, the State Council shall develop its law or amendment on the basis of the drafting submitted by a competent agency and the suggestions or opinions of other administrative agencies. Thirdly, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress shall review the drafted law or amendment by the State Council three times, making some necessary changes on the basis of its views, and then pass the law or amendment. Although the consensuses will be gathered by these three steps, it is time-consuming to pass or amend a law, taking about eight to ten years.

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