China’s National Copyright Administration (NCAC) Releases Notification on Copyright Registrations in 2021
Date: 22 March 2022
NCAC’s recently issued ‘Notification of the National Copyright Administration on National Copyright Registration in 2021’ shows continued growth in copyright registration in China. In 2021, the total number of copyright registrations nationwide reached 6,264,378, a year-on-year increase of 24.30%.
The details are as follows:
Supreme People’s Court (SPC) Releases 2021 Work Report
Date: 8 March 2022
According to its 2021 Work Report, the SPC concluded 541,000 first-instance intellectual property rights (IPR) cases during 2021, in support of innovation-driven developments in China. Many of these cases relate to emerging technologies including 5G communication, biomedical sciences and high-end manufacturing. The decisions strengthened the protection of core technologies and original inventions. The SPC addressed various issues that have been associated with IPR cases, including the high evidentiary thresholds required to establish infringement, lengthy hearings, low compensation pay-outs, and high litigation costs. In addition, it issued a judicial interpretation on punitive damages in IPR cases, and imposed punitive damages on IPR infringers in 895 cases. Under the applicable law, patentees may obtain win-win outcomes in IPR infringement cases by obtaining a preliminary injunction to restrain the defendant from infringing prior to judgment, thus minimizing the impact of the infringing act. In addition, new measures enable reasonable expenses to be claimed from indiscriminate or serial litigants, demonstrating the court’s lack of tolerance towards vexatious proceedings that obstruct innovation.
To support the objective of maintaining fair levels of competition in the marketplace, the anti-monopoly and anti-unfair competition laws have been strengthened. Courts of all levels concluded 49 cases concerning monopolies and 7,478 cases concerning unfair competition. Monopoly and unfair competition cases on the "either-or" option required by certain online platforms, scalping, and credit fabricating were also dealt with by the relevant courts. Acts that hinder fair competition and are contrary to the public interest were also punished severely; for example, in the unfair competition action brought by The Modern China Tea Shop (Chayan Yuese) against Chayan Guanse, the Court imposed sanctions on unfair competition actions such as free-riding. In the ‘Qinghuajiao’ trademark infringement case, it made it clear that the trademark owner's rights must not be abused.
Beijing Intellectual Property Court Reports Ten Typical Cases of Anti-Monopoly and Anti-Unfair Competition
Date: 16 March 2022
The Beijing Intellectual Property Court held a press conference to report the top ten typical anti-monopoly and anti- unfair competition cases. The cases concerned not only traditional industries such as manufacturing and service industries, but also important fields such as information security and livelihood assurance, and many new fields such as technological innovation and the digital economy.
It was noted that the Court had, since its establishment in 2014 to the end of 2021, accepted a total of 1,436 anti-monopoly and unfair competition cases and concluded 1,244 of them. There had been 529 first instance cases accepted and 470 concluded; 907 appeal cases accepted and 774 concluded. The concluded cases included 652 cases concluded by way of judgment (52%) and 43 concluded by mediation (3%). Forty-five per cent of the cases were ‘concluded’ by being returned to the lower court, withdrawn, dismissed, or transferred to another jurisdiction. One hundred and eighty-four anti-monopoly cases were accepted in 2020, 306 in 2021, an increase of nearly 66%. The number is expected to exceed 500 in 2022.
Valeo Group Wins Patent Infringement Case Against a Shanghai Automobile Sales Company - Damages Award of 5.35 Million Yuan (Approx. US$765,000)
Date: 8 March 2022
Valeo Lighting Group of Belgium (‘Valeo’), a world-famous auto parts manufacturer and owner of an invention patent for "a beam emitting device and lamps with this device, especially for motor vehicles", brought a patent infringement action in the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court against Zhuhai Car Lighting Company (Zhuhai) and Shanghai Automobile Sales Company (Shanghai Automobile). Valeo had purchased front fog lamp assembly products from Shanghai Automobile. After carrying out a comparison, it concluded that the products fell within the scope of its patent. Later, on the basis of the product trademark and 3C certification number, it identified Zhuhai as the manufacturer of the products. It alleged that Zhuhai’s manufacture, sale, and offering for sale, and Shanghai Automobile’s sale, of the products constituted infringement.
The Court held that Valeo’s invention patent was valid, the technical solutions of the allegedly infringing products fell within the scope of the patent, and the Defendants had engaged in infringing activity. It ordered both Zhuhai and Shanghai Automobile to cease the infringement, and Zhuhai Car Lighting Company to indemnify Valeo 5 million Yuan (approx. US$ 765,000) for economic loss and 0.35 million Yuan for reasonable costs.