On February 5, 2022, the Chinese government submitted the instrument of accession to Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (1999) (hereinafter referred to as the Hague Agreement) to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), becoming the 68th contracting party and the 77th member of the Hague Union to the Hague Agreement 1999, which entered into force in China on May 5, 2022.
From May 5, 2022, non-residents may apply for international industrial design protection in China through the Hague System, which facilitates business expansion into one of the largest and most dynamic markets in the world. At the same time, Chinese companies and designers will be able to quickly and easily seek international protection for their industrial designs in the 94 countries covered by the Hague System, as needed, which helps expand the international market.
In 2020, applications accepted by China National Intellectual Property Administration included 770,362 industrial designs, accounting for 55.5% of the world's total. Industrial design has increasingly become one of the core competitiveness of Chinese enterprises, providing important support in the process of enterprise internationalization and has become an important tool for companies to participate in international competition. The Hague Agreement coming into force will provide great convenience for Chinese enterprises to seek international protection of industrial designs.
The Guidelines on the Application of Punitive Damages in the Trial of Intellectual Property Civil Cases (the Guidelines) include 51 articles and provide specific provisions on the substantive and procedural issues involved in the applicable elements and calculation methods of punitive damages, aiming to standardize and refine the applicable rules of common problems in judicial practice.
The Guidelines have a number of highlights, such as summarizing general rules of punitive damages applicable to different types of intellectual property right (IPR) cases; simplifying the identification of the elements of punitive damages and providing for the intentional and serious cases of infringement. Strengthening the protection of key core technologies, key fields and emerging industries; clearly stipulating the calculation method for the total amount of applicable punitive damages; emphasizing the principle of active prudence and making a systematic design for the applicable rules of punitive damages.
It is worth noting that, to solve the significant problem of IPR infringement in live-streaming marketing and purchase by agent, the Guidelines stipulate that if network service providers know that live-streaming marketers and purchasing agents intentionally and seriously infringe on IPR by using their network services, but do not take reasonable and effective measures to stop the infringement without justified reasons, they shall jointly bear the punitive liability for damage together with the live streaming marketers and purchasing agents.
Wenzhou Intellectual Property Tribunal is the 23rd IPR Tribunal in China. It has jurisdiction over major IPR cases such as patent technology cases and monopoly disputes in Wenzhou City, Jinhua City and Lishui City.
Specifically, such cases include: IPR civil cases of first instance concerning patents, technical secrets, computer software, new plant varieties, integrated circuit layout design, well-known trademark recognition and monopoly disputes that occur in Wenzhou City, Jinhua City and Lishui City; IPR civil cases of first instance concerning trademarks, copyright, unfair competition and technology contract disputes with value of more than 5 million yuan that occur in Wenzhou City and of more than 8 million yuan that occur in Jinhua City and Lishui City; IPR administrative cases of first instance initiated against the administrative acts of the working departments of the local people's governments at or above the county level concerning copyright, trademark, patent and unfair competition within the jurisdiction of Wenzhou City, Jinhua City and Lishui City; IPR criminal cases of first instance that are under the jurisdiction of Wenzhou Intermediate People's Court; appeal cases of IPR civil, criminal and administrative cases of first instance heard by the basic people's courts under the jurisdiction of Wenzhou City.
According to the 2021 Brand and Third-Party Copyright Protection Report (the Report), in 2021, China's e-commerce sector made new breakthroughs in IPR governance, development achievement sharing, and cross-border e-commerce IPR protection.
In terms of e-commerce IPR governance in China, technology-based anti-counterfeiting is gradually becoming systematic, and continuous updating of technology and optimization of rules are becoming the key to leading intelligent governance. In 2021, more e-commerce platforms used big data technology to carry out proactive prevention and control of suspected infringing goods, and risk management and control of infringing goods covered the processes and scenarios of shop opening, product release, marketing activities, consumer feedback, etc.
In terms of promoting IPR protection of cross-border e-commerce, customs data showed that the import and export volume of cross-border e-commerce reached 1.98 trillion yuan, an increase of 15%; of which exports totaled 1.44 trillion yuan, up 24.5%. As the number and scale of cross-border e-commerce platforms and merchants continue to expand, many IPR problems are still challenging e-commerce, which while mature is also still evolving rapidly.
The Report also shows that, to better support Chinese time-honored brands and local design, e-commerce platforms have been building a professional local brand cultivation, protection, operation and service system of "product quality + IPR protection" and "service and application + brand exploration". Many intangible cultural heritage products that embody the excellent traditional Chinese culture have become new China Chic commodities. Besides, with IPR support, time-honored brands have gained new vitality and are recognized and favored by more and more consumers.
The Report summarizes the main measures and achievements of WeChat in IPR protection for third parties in the past year from the aspects of brand protection and copyright protection. The Report shows that WeChat has built a "copyright + brand" IPR protection net based on the full scenarios of WeChat official account, video account, personal account, enterprise WeChat and mini-games.
In terms of brand protection, WeChat sent more than 290,000 infringement clues to brand owners in 2021, and cracked down on more than 69,000 infringing accounts with the combined support of the brand owners. In terms of copyright protection, in 2021, more than 42 million articles on the WeChat platform used the original statement function, and more than 270,000 WeChat official accounts opened the payment function.