SPC Issues ‘Decision on Modifying the Provisions on Several Issues Regarding the Intellectual Property Court of SPC’
Release Date: 27 October 2023
On 27 October 2023, the Supreme People’s Court issued the ‘Decision of the Supreme People’s Court on Amending the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning Intellectual Property Court’ (2023 Provisions). In contrast to the 2018 ‘Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning Intellectual Property Court,’ the 2023 Provisions no longer classify cases as civil or administrative: cases are now classified on the basis of the type of IP involved: e.g., patents, new plant varieties, integrated circuit layout designs, and trade secrets.
The 2023 Provisions place certain limits on the cases that will be accepted by the Intellectual Property Court of the Supreme People’s Court: cases involving utility model patents, trade secrets, and computer software are limited to ‘major’ and ‘complicated’ cases. For invention patents, new plant varieties, and other cases, however, the criteria remain unchanged. Additionally, the 2023 Provisions remove the clauses relating to online case handling by the Intellectual Property Court as well as the special provisions on case jurisdiction, Articles 12, 13, and 14. They also adjust the relevant provisions on case transparency to require the lawful disclosure of case filing information, the names of members of the collegial panel, trial process, and judgment documents.
The 2023 Provisions officially came into effect on 1 November 2023.
SPC Releases Major Data on Judicial Trials from January to September 2023
Release Date: 24 October 2023
According to data released by the Supreme People’s Court, in the period January to September 2023, courts nationwide received a total of 25.789 million cases, 23,509 of which were concluded. In the field of Intellectual Property, there were 371,000 first-instance cases filed, with significant increases in patent contract disputes (42% increase) and disputes over patent ownership and infringement (27% increase) compared to the same period last year. There were 17,000 newly filed first-instance civil cases concerning technology-related intellectual property, including 6,725 computer software copyright infringement cases and 6,438 utility model patent infringement cases.
Furthermore, in response to issues concerning delays in the handling of administrative cancellation, invalidation and opposition proceeding the Court has strengthened cooperation with the CNIPA e.g. if an application has been refused because of the existence of a prior mark, and the Court subsequently extinguishes or modifies the rights in that mark, the CNIPA will directly revoke its disputed ruling and make a new ruling based on the Court’s determination.
General Office of the State Council Releases ‘Special Action Program for Patent Commercialization and Application (2023-2025)’
Release Date: 19 October 2023
The General Office of the State Council has issued a ‘Special Action Plan for Patent Commercialization and Application (2023-2025)’ (the Plan), which encourages the commercialization and application of high-value patents, particularly in the fields of science and technology.
First, the Plan aims to promote the industrialization of patents by accelerating improvements in the national platform related to the filing and recognition of National Patent-Intensive Products, and by coordinating with enterprises and various major innovation platforms to cultivate high-value patent portfolios that will benefit industry.
Second, it seeks to stimulate patent commercialization by improving the exemption mechanisms for parties who fulfill the due care duty and fault-tolerant mechanisms for patent commercialization, and by using the benefits of patent commercialization as an important evaluation criterion for the performance assessment of the State Council’s special action.
Third, it focuses on cultivating a market for intellectual property rights by improving related transaction services for open patent licensing, credit supervision, dispute mediation, and other supporting measures, and by promoting financial support such as intellectual property financing and intellectual property pledge financing.
Finally, it aims to strengthen organizational support by implementing a universal engineering project for public services related to intellectual property, and by implementing tax preferential policies related to patent commercialization and utilization.
The goal of the Plan is to achieve the commercialization of a number of high-value patents by 2025, with the national transaction value of technology contracts involving patents reaching 800 billion yuan (approx. US$ 111 billion), and the accelerated formation of competitive advantages in intellectual property in key industrial sectors, with the output value of patented products recognized exceeding 1 trillion yuan (approx. US$ 139 billion) nationwide.
Source: The State Council of the People’s Republic of China
SPC Rules in favour of Galanz in Patent Infringement Action against Meige Company – Damages Award of 10 Million Yuan (approx. US$1.4 million)
Date: 13 October 2023
Galanz, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of microwave ovens, brought a patent infringement action against Meige Company alleging infringement of its patent for a magnetron. The Supreme People’s Court has held that Meige’s magnetron products infringe Galanz’s invention patent rights. It has awarded compensation of 10 million yuan (approx. US$ 1.4 million).
The magnetron is a core component of microwave ovens. Earlier reports from the Supreme People’s Court indicated that Meige had produced a large quantity of magnetron products utilizing Galanz’s patented technology after its wholly-owned parent company recruited an employee named Liu from Galanz’s magnetron manufacturing department in January 2017.
Galanz discovered that ‘Weili’ branded microwave ovens, which contained Meige’s magnetron, were being sold on multiple e-commerce platforms in 2020. As a result, it filed a patent infringement lawsuit with the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court (the first-instance court), alleging that Meige’s magnetron infringed its invention patent number 201510373341.8 for a ‘Rivet cover mould for riveting the top cover of a magnetron.’ The first-instance court found that the Meige magnetron did not fall within the scope of protection of Galanz’s patent. Galanz appealed successfully to the Supreme People’s Court.
Meige was ordered to cease the infringement and pay Galanz 10 million Yuan (approx. US$ 1.4 million) compensation for economic loss, and 200,000 RMB (approx. US$ 27,400) costs.
Source: Young Pai