Yiwu Founds Rights Mediation Center
An intellectual property rights mediation center was founded on July 13 in Yiwu, the first of its kind in a county-level region in Zhejiang province.
Co-sponsored by the local court and a number of government administrations and industry associations, the center offers free mediation services to involved parties in IP disputes in Yiwu, providing both sides agree.
The mediation results have the same legal effect as court rulings. The mechanism will not only save costs, but also increase efficiency, compared with filing a lawsuit.
Officials at the center explained that when the court receives a lawsuit, it sends an indictment to the defendant, who has 30 days to prepare a reply to the charge, and IP lawsuits usually last about 70 days before a verdict is released.
In contrast, if the center receives a complaint, it starts mediation within a week and the process lasts no more than a month. If no conciliation is reached within 30 days, the center will transfer the case to the court.
The center received 10 cases during a trial operation that started in early July, eight of which ended in successful mediation.
In one of the cases, a Shenzhen-based company filed a complaint that Boonie Bears toys sold through a local online shop infringed on its copyright.
The company is the exclusive licensed maker of stuffed dolls based on the popular cartoon series and asked for 16,000 yuan ($2,600) compensation from the online store.
The shopkeeper said the store realized its mistake, but the requested compensation was too high as it made no more than 2,000 yuan from the sales.
In the resulting mediation, the owner agreed to pay 6,000 yuan to the copyright holder.
"If all IP disputes must be solved in court, we will have to devote much more money and human resources, and neither side involved will be happy," said Wu Tianchun, attorney for the plaintiff and a lawyer at Qihezheng Law Firm. "The mediation service helped us solve the case quickly and saved our costs."
Yang Xuxing, the mediator in the case, is the chief mediator at the center. There are 19 members in the team, who are senior experts from government agencies, industry associations and law firms. New members will be added to the team in the future.
As an international small commodity trade hub, Yiwu is one of the counties in China with the most highly concentrated IP disputes. The court of Yiwu received 1,022 IP-related civil lawsuits in 2014, more than 20 times the number in 2008.
Si Jianmin, deputy Party chief of Yiwu, said he hopes the mediation center will not only reconcile disputes, but also help opponents in disputes cooperate to achieve win-win results.