In 2016, Chinese courts handled 177705 IP cases and settled 171708, which represents an average increase of around 20% compared to 2015. On 24 April 2017, China’s Supreme People’s Court published its first Outline of Chinese Judicial Protections for Intellectual Property Rights (2016-2020) Edition.
The document, which is rather a political blueprint rather than a concrete regulation outlines the main objectives and foci for the highest Chinese court in enforcing intellectual property rights in the coming years. The Outline also inscribes itself in the 13th Five-Year Plan, for which each province and major institutions have to provide their one Five-Year Plan.
The text consists of 8 Basic Principles, 8 Main Objectives, and 15 Key Measures.
8 Basic Principles
1) Maintain the current quality of service and contribution to the government’s policy
2) Maintain reform and innovation
3) Maintain the supremacy of justice
4) Maintain a fair and equal protection
5) Maintain a strict enforcement of protection
6) Maintain a differentiated judgment
7) Maintain a balance between enforcement and promotion of innovation
8) Maintain openness and development
8 Main Objectives
1) Establish a coordinated and open judicial system for IP Protection
2) Establish a unified and standardized rule of system of IP rights
3) Establish an even developed IP court system
4) Establish a reasonably structured judicial system for handling IP cases
5) Establish an appropriate system for collecting IP related evidence
6) Establish a scientific and rational system for compensation
7) Establish a highly qualified corps of IP judges
8) Establish a long-term mechanism for international exchange on IP law
15 Key Measures
1) Hear all types of intellectual property rights cases fairly and efficiently
2) Establish mechanisms to ensure the correct implementation of laws
3) Comprehensively advance the “three-in-one” hearing of civil, administrative, and criminal intellectual property rights cases
4) Continuously perfect the jurisdictional system for intellectual property rights cases
5) Formulate rules of evidence for intellectual property rights litigation in a timely manner
6) Continuously perfect the mechanism for ascertaining technical facts
7) Build a tort compensation system oriented towards fully realizing the value of intellectual property rights
8) Conduct research on questions about a special procedural law for intellectual property rights litigation
9) Promote the improvement of special intellectual property rights trial organs
10) Research the establishment of appeal mechanism for intellectual property rights cases
11) Actively promote case-guiding system for intellectual property rights cases
12) Promote the establishment of diversified dispute resolution mechanisms for intellectual property rights
13) Comprehensively promote judicial openness relating to intellectual property rights
14) Continuously strengthen international communication and cooperation
15) Build high-quality intellectual property rights adjudication workforce
ECOVIS Beijing Observations
Besides its role as an arbiter of legal disputes, the People’s Supreme Court clearly emphasizes its role as a political institution in China’s overall economic policy. This also highlights the importance of striking a balance between legal protection and the principle of promoting innovation. Nonetheless, as in the past, the court clearly defends an equal protection of both domestic and foreign litigants and stresses the importance of international best practices on this topic.
Overall, the court aims at the further professionalization of IP related litigation and the expansion of the Specialized Intellectual Property Court System (currently there three Specialized IP Courts in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou) and its current workforce of 5000 specialized lawyers and judges. The court will also continue the role of guiding cases, which have already played a role in the last couple of years.
Given the importance of People’s Supreme Court in China’s reform push legal reform in the last couple of years, we expect that most of these measures will probably be implemented in the next few years.
ECOVIS Beijing is a Sino-German consultancy focusing on accounting, audit, legal and tax advisory for foreign SME and start-ups in China. If you have further questions regarding IP protection in China, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashley Tian is a PRC qualified lawyer and Senior Associate of the legal department of ECOVIS Beijing China. She has a double Bachelor degree in law and psychology, with a focus on Human Resources and also obtained a Master´s Degree in law. She has had overseas internship experience at a US company and worked as an intern in domestic law firms as well as foreign-funded enterprises such as Thomson Reuters Legal Information Corporation. She gained experience in business relating to foreign direct investment (FDI), labor law as well as administrative law. Ashley speaks and writes English and Chinese fluently. For further information, please contact: email@example.com
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