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News & Cases from China: April 2024

Published on 30 May 2024 | 8 minute read

SPC Issues report on Intellectual Property Protection by Chinese Courts in 2023

Date: 22 April 2024

On 22 April, the Supreme People’s court (SPC) of China issued a report: the Intellectual Property Protection by Chinese Courts in 2023. The report reveals that in 2023, Chinese courts received a total of 544,126 new intellectual property cases and concluded 544,112, representing an increase of 3.41% and 0.13% respectively compared to 2022. Specifically, Chinese courts received 462,176 new civil first-instance intellectual property cases and concluded 460,306, showing an increase of 5.4% and 0.55% respectively compared to 2022. Among these, there were 44,711 new patent cases, a year-on-year increase of 14.73%; 131,429 trademark cases, a year-on-year increase of 16.85%; 251,687 copyright cases, a year-on-year decrease of 1.57%; 6,492 technology contract cases, a year-on-year increase of 53.19%; 10,230 competition-related cases, a year-on-year increase of 8.97%; and 17,627 other cases, a year-on-year decrease of 0.51%."

It is worth noting that in 2023 Chinese courts in 2023 awarded punitive damages in 319 cases, a year-on-year increase of 117%, with a total amount awarded of 1.16 billion yuan (approx. US$ 160.08 million), a three and a half times increase compared to the previous year. The Supreme People's Court concluded a trademark infringement and unfair competition dispute case involving the ‘PANPAN’ trademark, where punitive damages were applied at four times the amount of loss and reasonable expenditure due to malicious usurpation of goodwill, resulting in an award exceeding 100 million yuan (approx. US$ 13.8 million). In another case involving the infringement of technical secrets related to a ‘Rubber Anti-aging Agent’ a record amount of 202 million yuan (approx. US$ 27.876 million) was awarded, setting a new high for similar cases.

In strengthening the protection of technological innovation, the Supreme People's Court revised the Provisions on Several Issues Concerning Intellectual Property Courts, issued the Opinions on Improving the Feedback Mechanism for the Quality and Efficiency of Trials of Technology-related Intellectual Property and Monopoly Cases (for Trial Implementation), released 8 new guiding cases in the 39th batch, and presented 15 typical cases of judicial protection of seed industry intellectual property rights in the third batch, all aimed at enhancing the quality and efficiency of trials in technology-related cases.

In promoting the dissemination and utilization of works, the Supreme People's Court issued eight typical cases of judicial protection of film intellectual property rights, with local courts concluding cases involving unauthorized recording and dissemination of theater films, open-source software, “self-created websites”, and AI-generated graphic copyrights, aiming to enhance the protection of copyright holders and related rights holders.

Regarding the commitment to equally protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and foreign parties in accordance with the law, in 2023, Chinese courts received 7,883 new first-instance foreign-related cases nationwide. Typical foreign-related cases included the ‘Siemens’ trademark infringement and unfair competition dispute, where the Supreme People's Court ordered the Defendant to compensate German Siemens Company with 100 million yuan for economic loss and related reasonable expenses, demonstrating China's heightened efforts in intellectual property protection and its firm stance on equally protecting the rights of Chinese and foreign parties.

Source: The Supreme People's Court of P.R.C.



《中国法院知识产权司法保护状况(2023年)》显示,在案件总数方面,全国法院2023全年新收各类知识产权案件 544126 件,审结 544112 件,比 2022 年分别上升 3.41% 和 0.13%。具体来看,全国法院新收知识产权民事一审案件 462176 件,审结 460306件比 2022 年分别上升 5.4% 和 0.55%。 其中,新收专利案件44711 件,同比上升14.73%;商标案件 131429 件,同比上升16.85%;著作权案件 251687 件,同比下降 1.57%;技术合同案件 6492 件,同比上升 53.19%;竞争类案件 10230 件,同比上升8.97%;其他案件 17627 件,同比下降 0.51%。

值得注意的是,在适用惩罚性赔偿方面,全国法院2023年全年在 319 件案件中适用惩罚性赔偿,同比增长 117%,判赔金额 11.6 亿元,同比增长 3.5 倍。最高人民法院审结“盼盼”商标侵权及不正当竞争纠纷案,对恶意攀附商誉的行为适用4倍惩罚性赔偿,判赔金额超1亿元;审结“橡胶防老剂”技术秘密侵权案,判赔2.02亿元,创同类案件判赔金额新高。

在加强科技创新保护方面,最高人民法院修改《关于知识产权法庭若干问题的规定》、下发《关于健全完善技术类知识产权和垄断案件审判质效通报反馈机制的意见(试行)》,发布第 39 批指导性案例 8 件、第三批人民法院种业知识产权司法保护典型案例 15 件,推动技术类案件审判质效提升。

在促进作品传播利用方面,最高人民法院发布 8 件人民法院电影知识产权保护典型案例,各地法院审结盗录传播院线电影、开源软件、“自助创建网站”和AI 文生图著作权等著作权纠纷,加大对著作权人和相关权利人的保护。

在坚持依法平等保护中外当事人合法权益方面,2023 年,全国法院新收一审涉外案件 7883 件。典型涉外案件包括涉“西门子”侵害商标权及不正当竞争纠纷案,最高人民法院判令被告赔偿德国西门子公司 1 亿元经济损失及相关合理开支,传递出中国法院加大知识产权保护力度、平等保护中外当事人的鲜明态度。

资料来源:最高人民法院  2024-04-22



SPP Issues White Paper on Intellectual Property Prosecution Work (2021-2023)

Date: 24 April 2024

On 24 April, SPP Issued a White Paper on Intellectual Property Prosecution Work (2021-2023). According to the White Paper, from 2021 to 2023, the national procuratorial department saw an increase in the number of people prosecuted for intellectual property rights infringement crimes, rising from 22,000 to 30,700. Some types of cases showed a significant increase during this period. In 2023, the number of individuals prosecuted for copyright infringement crimes and infringement of trade secrets crimes increased by 140% and 96.6% respectively compared to the previous year, showing growth rates significantly higher than the overall intellectual property rights infringement cases.

In terms of the types of crime, trademark infringement crimes are predominant among intellectual property rights infringement cases, with noticeable increases in copyright infringement crimes and trade secret infringement crimes. Geographically, more intellectual property rights infringement cases are handled in economically developed regions such as the eastern coastal areas, showing a certain level of positive correlation with the economic and social development levels. In 2023, the regions with the highest number of people prosecuted for intellectual property rights infringement crimes were Guangdong with 3589 individuals, Zhejiang with 3417 individuals, Shandong with 2600 individuals, Shanghai with 2362 individuals, Anhui with 2233 individuals, and Jiangsu with 1985 individuals, accounting for 52.8% of the total in these six provinces.

Source: The Supreme People’s Procuratorate of P.R.C.





资料来源:最高检   2024-04-25



CNIPA Issues the 2024 Edition of Annual Work Guidelines for Promoting High-quality Development of Intellectual Property  

Issuing Number: Guo Zhi Fa Yun (2024) No.7

Date: 10 April 2024

In terms of intellectual property creation, the Guidelines propose introducing incentive policies and mechanisms to enhance the quality of patent applications and improve the quality and efficiency of intellectual property examination. In terms of intellectual property utilization, efforts are being made to fully count the unconverted valid patents of national universities and research institutions by the end of the year, with a growth of over 10% in the scale of intellectual property pledge financing and the number of small and medium-sized enterprises benefiting. In terms of intellectual property protection, the aim is to improve the protection system, deepen the construction of protection demonstration zones, establish new intellectual property protection centers and fast rights protection centers, and improve the guidance network for overseas dispute resolution. In terms of intellectual property management, efforts are focused on optimizing local management and steadily advancing the reform of the division of financial powers and expenditure responsibilities between central and local governments. In terms of intellectual property services, there is a push to implement the intellectual property public service accessibility project, with plans to have around 172 municipal comprehensive intellectual property public service institutions and 460 national key intellectual property service points established, along with the creation of a national intellectual property protection information platform and approximately 10 new national intellectual property service industry clusters. Additionally, the Guidelines call for strengthening the guidance of high-quality development indicators for intellectual property, optimizing the policy system for high-quality intellectual property development, and enhancing the statistical monitoring of high-quality intellectual property development.

Source: China National Intellectual Property Administration





资料来源:国家知识产权局  2024-04-10



State Administration for Market Regulation Releases Annual Report on China's Combating of IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting

Date: 26 April 2024

The Report analyzed the international and domestic economic situations in 2023, comprehensively elaborating on the progress and effectiveness of China's efforts to combat infringement and counterfeiting in seven areas: top-level design, laws and regulations, administrative enforcement, judicial protection, regulatory services, publicity guidance, and international cooperation.

In 2023, the National Copyright Administration, together with relevant departments, carried out multiple special campaigns to combat infringement and piracy. The ‘Sword Net 2023’ special action against online infringement and piracy investigated and handled 1513 cases of online infringement and piracy, shut down 2390 infringing websites, and removed over 2.44 million infringing links. During the Youth Copyright Protection Season, nearly 260,000 law enforcement personnel were mobilized, inspecting over 200,000 publications markets, printing companies, school bookstores, photocopying shops, and other locations, and handling 1130 key cases of infringement and piracy of textbooks and children's books.

In response to the issue of movie infringement and piracy that has garnered social attention, since 2023 the National Copyright Administration has issued copyright protection warnings for 134 key films in 14 batches. They have removed 117,500 infringing links related to these key films, shut down 224 illegal websites and apps, and banned 2075 repeat infringing accounts. Internet platforms have proactively handled 1.2586 million infringing links in accordance with regulatory requirements, effectively preventing the spread of infringing content. During the 2024 Spring Festival, the National Copyright Administration and the National Film Administration jointly produced and screened public service announcements on movie copyright protection for the first time, aiming to raise public awareness of copyright protection.

Source: State Administration for Market Regulation





针对社会关注的电影侵权盗版问题, 2023年以来,国家版权局共对14批134部院线电影重点作品进行版权保护预警,删除涉院线电影侵权盗版链接11.75万条,关闭非法网站(APP)224个,封禁反复侵权账户2075个,相关互联网平台按照监管要求主动处置侵权盗录链接125.86万条,有效避免了侵权内容扩散。2024年春节期间,国家版权局、国家电影局首次联合制作电影版权保护公益宣传片贴片放映,提升社会公众的版权保护意识。

资料来源:国家市场监督管理总局  2024-04-26


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