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News & Cases from China: November 2023

Published on 02 Jan 2024 | 7 minute read

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 




2023118日,国务院新闻办公室围绕知识产权强国建设等内容举行政策例行吹风会。会上指出,截至20239月,我国有效发明专利和商标拥有量分别为480.5万件、4512.2万件,在《全球创新指数》报告中的排名达到第12位。其中,数字经济核心产业发明专利增长迅速,截至2022年年底,国内数字经济核心产业发明专利有效量为127. 3万件。为充分推进知识产权强国建设,国家知识产权局启动建设国家知识产权保护区,并已布局建设了103个国家级知识产权保护中心和快速维权中心。下一步,知识产权相关部门将加快完成《著作权法实施条例》等修订,完善跨部门跨区域执法联动与响应机制,提高知识产权保护的专业化、现代化、智能化水平。 



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. 

Source: CNIPA 







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 




原告李某利用人工智能模型Stable Diffusion生成一张人物图片后发布在小红书平台。被告刘某系百家号博主,使用该图片作为文章配图。原告诉称,被告侵害其作品署名权和信息网络传播权,要求被告赔礼道歉、消除影响,并赔偿经济损失5000元。 


此外,由于人工智能模型本身无法成为我国著作权法上的作者,涉案人工智能模型设计者在本案中仅是创作工具的生成者,而原告是直接根据需要对人工智能模型进行相关设置,并最终选定涉案图片的人,涉案图片是基于原告的智力投入直接产生,且体现出了原告的个性化表达因此,原告是涉案图片的作者,享有涉案图片的著作权。被告未经许可,使用涉案图片作为文章配图发布在自己的账号中,使公众可以在其选定的时间和地点获得涉案图片,侵害了原告的信息网络传播权。被告作为被诉图片的使用者无法说明被诉图片的具体来源和去除水印相关情况,可以认定水印系被告去除,侵害了原告的署名权。最终,北京互联网法院一审判令被告发 布声明向原告赔礼道歉,以消除影响,并赔偿原告经济损失500元。一审判决作出后,原被告双方均未提起上诉,目前该案判决已生效。 


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Rouse Editor
+44 20 7536 4100


Rouse Editor
+44 20 7536 4100