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China’s Supreme People’s Court Submits Report to the National People’s Congress on Judicial Work on the People’s Courts in Intellectual Property

On October 21, 2021, the Supreme People’s Court of China submitted a report on the judicial work of the people’s courts on intellectual property rights for deliberation.  According to the report, the average annual increase in intellectual property cases was 24.5% from 2013 to 2020, which is 12.8 percentage points higher than the increase in all litigation cases. Specifically, number of first-instance IP cases accepted by courts across China increased from 101,000 in 2013 to 467,000 in 2020.From 2013 to June 2021, Chinese courts accepted 2.181 million first-instance cases of various types of intellectual property and closed 2.06 million cases. Among them, there were 143,000 patent cases, 1.316 million copyright cases, 437,000 trademark cases, and 18,000 licensing cases that were concluded.

According to Zhou Qiang, President of the Supreme People’s Court, currently, intellectual property cases present the following characteristics:

One is the rapid increase in the number of cases. The number of first-instance IP cases accepted by courts across the country increased from 101,000 in 2013 to 467,000 in 2020, an average annual increase of 24.5%, which is 12.8 percentage points higher than the average annual increase in the total number of cases accepted by courts across the country, reflecting that the high-quality development of society has noticeably increased the demand for intellectual property protection.

The second is the emergence of a large number of new disputes. The number of new cases involving core Internet technologies, genetic technologies, information and communications, integrated circuits, artificial intelligence, and platform economy is increasing. It is becoming more difficult to determine complex technical facts and apply laws, and new challenges are raised to the judicial adjudication regarding the boundary of rights and responsibility determination for the protection of intellectual property rights in new fields and new forms of business.

Third, online infringements are prone to occur frequently. The Internet has become one of the most important places where intellectual property infringements and illegal activities occur. Compared with offline infringements, online infringements are easier to implement, more concealed, and more complicated, with a wider range of impacts, more difficult to collect evidence, and more difficult for right holders to defend their rights.

Fourth, the balance of interests has become more complicated. Intellectual property rights involve complex interest relationships and are closely related to the public interest of society. Balancing the protection of individual rights and public interests, accurately grasping the multi-level value orientation, and steadily handling the relationship between development and security all put forward higher requirements for intellectual property trials.

The full report is available here (Chinese only).

Principal, and Director of the China Intellectual Property Practice

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