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News & Cases from China: April 2022

Published on 31 May 2022 | 9 minute read

The Supreme People's Court Issues Report on the Protection of Intellectual Property by Chinese Courts in 2021

Publication Date:21 April 2022

On 21 April, the SPC held a press conference during the 2022 intellectual property publicity week and issued a report on the status of the protection of Intellectual Property Rights by Chinese Courts in 2021.  The report set out the achievements in judicial protection of IP rights in the past year, focusing in particular on the following.

During the year, the SPC issued several judicial interpretations, including the Interpretation on the Application of Punitive Damages in the Trial of Intellectual Property Infringement Civil Cases; the Provisions on Several Issues concerning the Application of the Law in Civil Cases relating to applications for Patent Rights in respect of Pharmaceutical Products; and the Several Provisions on the Application of Law in the Trial of Cases relating to Plant Variety Rights Infringement (II), etc., The Interpretations seek to unify adjudication standards, which will help the Courts deal effectively with new problems and challenges that may arise in the field of Intellectual Property.

A total of 642,968 IP-related cases were accepted by the courts, including first and second instance cases as well as retrial cases, and 601,544 cases were concluded (including carried-over cases from last year), representing a year-on-year increase of 22.33% and 14.7% respectively.

The SPC collaborated actively in the work being done to crack down on IP infringement and counterfeiting. It established communication and liaison mechanisms with the CNIPA and the National Anti-monopoly Bureau to facilitate an effective interface between administrative enforcement and the judiciary. In addition, it gave full play to the online litigation and mediation facility jointly established with the CNIPA. Over 20,000 IP cases were assigned to this platform by local courts for pre-litigation mediation.

The SPC also formulated and issued the Plan for Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property by People’s Courts (2021-2025), which defines the goals, tasks, and measures of judicial protection of Intellectual Property Rights for the next five years in China.





立法方面, 最高人民法院2021年先后发布:《最高人民法院关于审理侵害知识产权民事案件适用惩罚性赔偿的解释》、《最高人民法院关于审理申请注册的药品相关的专利权纠纷民事案件适用法律若干问题的规定》、《最高人民法院关于审理侵害植物新品种权纠纷案件具体应用法律问题的若干规定(二)》等司法解释,以统一裁判标准,应对知识产权领域新问题、新挑战。

案件数据方面, 全国法院2021年新收一审、二审、申请再审等各类知识产权案件642968件,审结601544件(含旧存),比2020年分别上升22.33%和14.71%,均创下历史新高。­­­



资料来源:最高法  2022-04-21



China National IP Administration (CNIPA) issues Notice on Continuing to Severely Crack Down on Malicious Trademark Registration

Issued Number: Guo zhi fa ban han zi (2022) No. 54

Publication Date:12 April 2022

Effective Date:12 April 2022

The Notice of the CNIPA on Continuing to Severely Crack Down on the Malicious Registration of Trademarks” (the Notice) states that corresponding agencies and departments will strengthen their actions against malicious trademark hoarding and squatting, the imitation of famous brands, free riding and ‘clout-chasing’ i.e. attempting to earn undeserved fame in various ways. There will be a general crack down on illegal acts that violate good faith and public order or customs or seek to obtain illegitimate rights and disrupt orderly trademark registration.

The Notice lists various types of typical illegal acts that will be focused on:

  1. Malicious squatting i.e., applications for registration of marks that are the same as, or similar to, those used by, or in connection with:

-  important CCP meetings, important theories, scientific assertions, political discourses, etc.

    • national strategies, national policies, major works, major scientific and technological projects, important events with high popularity, important exhibitions, and major archaeological discoveries.

-  major sensitive events or emergencies such as major public health events; or

-  political, economic, cultural, ethnic, religious, and other public figures with high reputation.

  1. The filing of trademark applications that obviously exceed the needs of normal business activities, or where there is no real intention to use.
  2. Copying, imitating, or plagiarizing a large number of trademarks or other commercial marks that are owned by a variety of brand owners and have a certain reputation or strong distinctiveness.
  3. Filing a large number of applications for the registration of marks that are the same as or similar to public cultural resources, administrative division names, common names of goods or services, industrial terms, etc.
  4. Transferring a large number of trademarks to multiple assignees, disrupting orderly trademark registration.
  5. Situations where the trademark agency knows or should know that the client is engaged in the above-mentioned acts, but still accepts the assignment or otherwise acts improperly as a trademark agent.
  6. Other acts that have a significant negative impact on China’s trademark registration management, social public interest, or public order.

















资料来源:国家知识产权局  2022-04-12


WYETH LLC and Wyeth (Shanghai) Trading LLC v. Guangzhou Wyeth Maternal and Child Supplies Co, Ltd and Others Trademark Rights and Unfair Competition action Selected as one of the SPC’s Typical IP Cases in 2021

Date:21 April 2022

The SPC has issued the top 10 intellectual property cases and 50 typical intellectual property cases in Chinese courts in 2021.  Of particular note was the selection of the Wyeth LLC trademark infringement case in which the Court made a significant award of punitive damages in favour of a foreign entity.

The American company, Wyeth LLC (‘Wyeth’), a global producer of infant-milk powder, entered the Chinese market in the 1980s and registered the trademarks "惠氏"(Wyeth in Chinese) and the English word ‘Wyeth’. Wyeth (Shanghai) Trading LLC (‘Wyeth Shanghai’) was licensed to use these trademarks, and obliged to protect them, in China. When an unrelated company, The Guangzhou Wyeth Maternal and Child Supplies Co, Ltd.  (‘Guangzhou Wyeth’),  registered the ‘惠氏’ and ‘Wyeth’ trademarks in relation to washing and baby products, Wyeth and its affiliates took legal action against them and succeeded in invalidating the registrations.  Despite that, Guangzhou Wyeth continued to use the marks, deriving huge profits from online stores jointly operated with others.

Wyeth and Wyeth Shanghai then filed a further lawsuit against Guangzhou Wyeth and others. The first-instance court ruled for the Plaintiffs, fully supporting their monetary claims. The Defendants all appealed. The Zhejiang Higher People's Court upheld the previous decision, noting that the Plaintiffs had clearly requested the application of punitive damages.  It held that because of Guangzhou Wyeth’s behavior and the illegal profits that had been proven, and applying the ‘three-time compensation standard’, the sum of 30 million yuan (approx. US$ 4.5 million) proposed by Wyeth and Wyeth Shanghai was appropriate. The appeal was dismissed and the original judgment upheld.

Source: SPC







Beijing IP Court Hears China's First Patent Linkage Case

Date:15 April 2022

In the first drug patent linkage litigation case in China since the implementation of the new Patent Law, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd (‘Chugai Pharma’) v. Wenzhou Haihe Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd (‘Haihe Pharma’), the Beijing Intellectual Property Court held that the generic drug involved did not fall within the scope of protection of the Plaintiff’s patent. (Patent linkage refers to the relationship between the market approval for a generic drug and the patent status of its branded equivalent.)

The Plaintiff, Chugai Pharma, was the owner of a patent (No. 200580009877.6 ) for the ED-71 preparation, a pharmaceutical preparation that inhibits certain activity in the Vitamin D analogue, E-71.  It was also the holder of a marketing authorization for "Eldecalcitol Soft Capsules", approved for the treatment of Osteoporosis.

When it registered the above-mentioned patent and pharmaceutical product on the Chinese Marketed Drug Patent Information Record Platform, it found that the Defendant, Haihe Pharma, had applied to the national medical products administration for a marketing authorization in relation to a generic drug: "Eldecalcitol Soft Capsules" and made a Category 4.2 statement on the Chinese Marketed Drug Patent Information Record Platform to the effect that its generic drug did not fall within the protection scope of any relevant patent right. Chugai Pharma commenced proceedings in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, requesting confirmation that the Defendant’s generic drug "Eldecalcitol Soft Capsules" fell within the scope of its patent.

After trial, the Court held that the technical solution used in the generic drug involved in this case was neither the same as nor equivalent to the technical solution in Claim 1 of the Plaintiff’s patent; therefore, the generic drug did not fall within the scope of Claim 1 of the patent.  As Claims 2-6 are subordinate claims to Claim 1, it could not fall within the scope of those claims either. Accordingly, the Court did not support the Plaintiff's claim.








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