The Convention on Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents Officially Takes Effect in China
Release Date: 7 November 2023
The Convention on Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (the Apostille Convention) aims to replace the traditional consular authentication with a more convenient way of certifying the authenticity of signatures and seals on public documents, thus simplifying the cross-border circulation of these documents. It is an important international treaty within the framework of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) framework, with the largest number of contracting states, including EU countries, the United States and Japan, and a wide application.
On 8 March 2023, China acceded to the Apostille Convention, which officially came into effect in China on 7 November 2023. Now that the Convention has come into effect, the cross-border circulation of public documents between China and contracting states no longer needs to go through the cumbersome authentication process that currently exists. The authenticity of document seals and signatures can now be established by a single certification issued by the competent authority of the issuing country. The implementation of the Apostille Convention will significantly reduce the procedures for cross-border circulation of public documents. Commercial documents related to export trade will also benefit.
Source: The State Council of the People’s Republic of China
The State Council Information Office Holds a Routine Briefing on the Acceleration of Building an Intellectual Property Powerhouse and the Effective Support of Innovation-Driven Development Strategy by the State Council
Date: 8 November 2023
On 8 November 2023, the State Council Information Office held a routine policy briefing on topics such as progress in the plan to make China an intellectual property powerhouse. It was pointed out that as of September 2023, China's effective invention patents and trademarks numbered 4.805 million and 45.122 million respectively, ranking 12th in the "Global Innovation Index" report. In particular, the number of effective invention patents in core industries of the digital economy had grown rapidly: as of the end of 2022, the number of effective invention patents in these industries was 1.273 million.
To fully promote the construction of an intellectual property powerhouse, the CNIPA has launched the creation of national intellectual property protection zones and already set up 103 national-level intellectual property protection centers and fast intellectual property rights service centers. Next, departments dealing with intellectual property will accelerate completion of the revision of Regulations on the Implementation of the Copyright Law, and improve cross-departmental and cross-regional law enforcement cooperation and response mechanisms to enhance the level of intellectual property protection.
Source: The State Council Information Office
CNIPA Releases Statistical Report on the Intellectual Property Services Industry for 2022
Date: 20 November 2023
The Statistical Report on the Intellectual Property Services Industry 2023 reveals that the intellectual property service industry maintained steady development in 2022, with further improvement in the industry's development environment. Specifically, the number of institutions engaged in intellectual property services nationwide continued to grow, reaching 87,000. In 2022, these institutions generated a total operating income of over 270 billion yuan (approx. US$ 37.7 billion) representing a year-on-year growth of 3.8%. Nearly 50% of the institutions reported increased or unchanged service profits compared to the previous year. The intellectual property service industry employed approximately 969,000 professionals, with an average operating income of 292,000 yuan (approx. US$ 40,842) per person, effectively promoting employment opportunities. Furthermore, the service areas of intellectual property service institutions expanded, showing a trend of specialized development in terms of technological means, business scope, and service targets. These institutions have also embraced digital transformation through the application of digital technologies, providing effective support for regional intellectual property development.
The Beijing Internet Court Hears China's First AI Voice Rights Infringement Case
Date: 29 November 2023
The Plaintiff, Li, used the AI model ‘Stable Diffusion’ to generate a portrait image and published it on the Xiaohongshu platform. The Defendant, Liu, is a blogger who used the portrait image as an illustration for an article. The Plaintiff claimed that the Defendant had infringed his right of authorship and right of dissemination via information network, and sought an apology, the elimination of negative effects of the infringement, and compensation for economic loss amounting to 5,000 yuan (approx. US$ 699).
After hearing the case, the Beijing Internet Court determined that during the process of generating the disputed image, the Plaintiff had made a certain intellectual contribution. This included designing the representation of the character, selecting prompts, setting relevant parameters, and more, all of which satisfy the requirement of "intellectual achievement." Furthermore, different prompts and parameters would yield different image contents, and the Plaintiff continuously adjusted and modified the image, reflecting his aesthetic choices and personalized expression, thus meeting the requirement of "originality." Therefore, the disputed image represents the Plaintiff's original intellectual input and qualifies as an artistic work protected by copyright law.
In addition, as the AI model itself cannot be recognized as an author under China's copyright law, the designer of the AI model in this case is merely the creator of a creative tool. The Plaintiff directly made relevant settings to the AI model as needed which ultimately resulted in the person depicted in the disputed image. The disputed image was produced by the Plaintiff's intellectual contribution and reflects his personalized expression. Therefore, the Plaintiff is the author of the disputed image and holds the copyright to it.
The Defendant, without permission, used the disputed image as an illustration in his article and made it available to the public, thereby infringing upon the Plaintiff's right of dissemination via information network. He failed to provide specific information regarding either the image's source or the removal of the watermark. It can, therefore, be concluded that the Defendant removed the watermark, thereby violating the Plaintiff's right of authorship.
As a result, the Beijing Internet Court ruled in the first instance that the Defendant issue an apology, take steps to eliminate the negative effects of the infringement, and compensate the Plaintiff for economic loss amounting to 500 yuan (approx. US$ 70). After the first instance judgment was made, neither the Plaintiff nor the Defendant appealed, and the judgment has taken effect.
Source: Beijing Daily