Issue: Order of the President No. 66
Date of Issue: 2020-12-26
Effective Date: 2021-03-01
On 26 December 2020, the 24th Session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed the 11th Amendment to the PRC Criminal Law. Changes involving the infringement of intellectual property rights are set out in Articles 213-215, 217-219 in Section 7, Chapter 3 of the PRC Criminal Law (the “Amended Articles”).
Primary changes to this section are the increase in the maximum sentence of fixed-term imprisonment for the offences stipulated in the Amended Articles and the addition of Article 219(1), which states that whoever illegally provides business secrets to parties outside of China shall be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than five years, and in serious cases, imprisonment and a fine.
On 30 December 2020, the Supreme People’s Court completed its clean-up of judicial interpretations and released the first batch of supporting judicial interpretations for the PRC Civil Code that came into effect from 1 January 2021 (the “New PRC Civil Code”).
After a comprehensive clean-up of 591 existing judicial interpretations, a total of 111 judicial interpretations will be amended, including 18 interpretations which relate specifically to intellectual property. A total of 116 judicial interpretations will be abolished and expire from 1 January 2021. In addition, the first batch of seven supporting judicial interpretations will be implemented simultaneously with the New Civil Code on 1 January 2021.
Recently, the National Development and Reform Commission published the latest edition of the Catalogue of Encouraged Industries for Foreign Investment (2020 Edition) (the “2020 Catalogue”). The 2020 Catalogue will take into effect on 27 January 2021.
The 2020 Catalogue contains a total of 1235 entries and further expands the scope of encouraged industries from the 2019 edition. Changes in the 2020 Catalogue mainly include the encouragement of foreign investment in sectors such as manufacturing and producer services and in the central and western regions of China.
Recently, the Trademark Office of the CNIPA issued the Notice on the Use of Nice Classification (Version 2021) (the “Notice”).
According to the Notice, the International Classification of Goods and Services for Registration of Trademarks (Nice Classification) 11th Edition, Version 2021 will be officially applied in China from 1 January 2021. Specifically, the new version of Nice Classification will be applied to trademark registration applications with an application date on or after 1 January 2021, and the previous version of Nice Classification will apply to trademark registration applications with an application date prior to that date.
On 28 December 2020, the Intellectual Property Development & Research Centre of CNIPA published the China E-Commerce Intellectual Property Development Research Report (2020) (the “Report”), which analyses the IP protection models of major e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba, JD, Pinduoduo and Suning.
The Report highlights that e-commerce platforms in China continue to refine their IPR protection models, while IP legislation and enforcement are continuously updated to further strengthen the protection of IP rights in e-commerce. The Report makes recommendations including: (i) creating a new dispute resolution mechanism; (ii) developing e-commerce industry standards; and (iii) establish international rules and guidelines for cross-border e-commerce.