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News & Cases from China: May 2023

Published on 21 Jun 2023 | 7 minute read

The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) Issues Report on Intellectual Property Agency Developments (2022)   

Date: 11 May 2023 

Recently, CNIPA Issued its Report on Intellectual Property Agency Developments (2022) containing information relating to China's patent agencies, trademark agencies, patent attorneys, patent attorney qualification exam, as well as industry regulations and major events in 2022.  

According to the report, as of the end of 2022 China had a total of 4,520 patent agencies (excluding those in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan regions), 71,466 trademark agencies, and 31,347 licensed patent attorneys nationwide. Of the 4,520 patent agencies, 397, i.e. 8.8%, had been established for more than 20 years, which suggests that an increasing number of patent agencies are prioritizing brand building, stability and continuity, while 1,931 patent agencies, accounting for 42.7% of the total, had been established within three years, which reflects the rapid growth trend of China's patent agency industry. 

In relation to industry regulation during 2022, CNIPA continued to advance the Operation Blue Sky initiative in the intellectual property attorney industry, cracking down on illicit attorney activities. Throughout the year, 1,489 patent agencies were required to attend regulatory talks with the intellectual property administration departments, and 923 were instructed to make rectifications. A total of 332 administrative cases were accepted, with 238 administrative penalties being issued.  These figures indicate that the regulatory systems and mechanisms have been further enhanced. 

Source: CNIPA  


Short-Video Platform Douyin Issues Platform Guidelines for the Regulation of AI-Generated Content 

Date: 9 May 2023 

Douyin recently released a set of guidelines regarding Artificial Intelligence Generated Content (AIGC) and is seeking to establish it as a standard for the industry. The guidelines state that all participants on the platform, including creators, hosts, users, merchants, and advertisers, must clearly label AIGC to differentiate it from real-life content and prevent confusion. Publishers will be held accountable for the consequences of AIGC and must ensure that virtual individuals are registered and the users' identities behind them authenticated. Additionally, Douyin prohibits the use of generative AI technology to produce and publish infringing content, including but not limited to portrait or intellectual property rights. The platform has the power to impose severe penalties for any violations.  

Source: IThome 


Tencent Awarded 5 million yuan (approx. US$ 700,000) in Unfair Competition Action Relating to Weixin (WeChat) and Lianxin 

Date: 9 May 2023 

Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. is the owner of copyright in the ‘Weixin (WeChat)’ software and Shenzhen Tencent Computer System Co., Ltd. holds an exclusive license to utilize the software. Jianxin Company and Lianshang Company owned and operated ‘Lianxin’ software, which incorporated various icons and functions of the ‘Weixin (WeChat)’ software. The Tencent companies (‘Tencent’) brought an unfair competition action, seeking damages of 10 million yuan (approx. US$ 1.4 million), indicating that awarding damages on the basis of an account of profits or statutory damages was at the discretion of the Court.   

In the initial ruling, the Primary People's Court of Tianhe District in Guangzhou Municipality, Guangdong Province, found that the Defendants had engaged in unfair competition and awarded 1.6 million yuan (approx. US$ 225,000) statutory damages. As Tencent had been unable to provide evidence of the number of users, traffic and marketing costs associated with Lianxin, damages could not be calculated on the basis of an account of profits. Tencent appealed to the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court, which increased the compensation by awarding statutory damages of 5 million yuan (approx. US$ 700,000) the maximum for a single infringement, plus reasonable costs of 200,000 yuan (approx. US$ 28,000). Tencent had argued, unsuccessfully, that it should not be limited to 5 million statutory damages as the case involved ten commercial marks or trademarks and did not, therefore, relate to a single infringement.   

Source: iPolicyLaw 


Blocking ‘Teen Mode’ Pop-ups on Tencent videos held to constitute Unfair Competition – damages award of 3 Million Yuan (approx. US$ 420,000) 

Date: 22 May, 2023 

Tencent Video and Tencent NOW Live are online media platforms developed and owned by Shenzhen Tencent Computer System Co., Ltd., Tencent Technology (Shenzhen)Co.,Ltd., and Tencent Digital (Tianjin) Co., Ltd.  Both Apps provide a ‘Teen Mode’ for underage users that filters out inappropriate content. Aichengzi Company developed and operated an ‘Ad-blocker’ which enables users to automatically skip or block the ‘Teen Mode’ pop-ups when entering Tencent products. The three Tencent companies referred to above brought an unfair competition action against Aichengzi Company. 

The Court determined that the App operated by the Defendant prevented users from enabling ‘Teen Mode’, thereby influencing their decisions, changing the functions of Tencent's products, and circumventing Tencent's restrictions on underage users' use of the platform. This behaviour significantly impeded and disrupted the normal operation of Tencent's products. Furthermore, blocking pop-ups relating to ‘Teen Mode’ conflicts with China's regulations concerning the protection of minors' online safety. Based on these findings, the Court held that the Defendant had engaged in unfair competition and ordered it to pay the Plaintiffs 3 million yuan (approx. US$ 420,000) in compensation for economic loss and reasonable expenses. 


Source: The Primary People’s Court of Tianjin Binhai New Area 









资料来源:国家知识产权局  2023-05-11 





资料来源:IT之家  2023-05-09 







资料来源:iPolicyLaw  2023-05-09 







资料来源:天津滨海新区法院  2023-05-22 


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