Read the latest China IP newsletter to get insight on the Intellectual Property Five-Year Plan, Trade Marks & Geographical indications, and much more.
Intellectual Property Five-Year Plan
In late December, the State Council (China’s cabinet) published an IP Five Year Plan (5YP), covering the period 2016-2020. Highlights from the IP 5YP include an ambition to move China from an “IP big country” (with large volumes of IP applications) into an “IP strong country” (where the large IP portfolios are converted into economic impact). This will be delivered by boosting the quality of IP rights; rebalancing the disparity in IP strength among different provinces; and strengthening IP enforcement, with an explicit recognition that the difficulties and high costs of enforcing IP are damaging. The IP 5YP includes a number of quantitative metrics to measure outcomes, including overseas patent applications by Chinese companies.
TRADE MARKS & GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS:
Judicial guidance on trade mark cases
The Supreme People’s Court has published a new Judicial Opinion on administrative trade mark cases. Administrative cases are appeals of decisions of the China Trademark Office (CTMO) and Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB). The guidance comes into effect from March 1, 2017. Areas covered include distinctiveness determination, well-known marks, and protection for prior rights (including copyright and personal name rights), with potential implications for how bad-faith cases are determined in China. More here (in Chinese).
Popular TV show Feichengwurao retains its name after retrial
The Guangdong High People’s Court has overruled the judgment of a lower court and determined that Jiangsu TV (a state-owned broadcasting station based in Jiangsu province) doesn’t infringe a prior registered trade mark through use of the name Feichengwurao for a popular dating show. The Court considered that the services provided by Jiangsu TV are not similar to those of match-making services in Class 45, and therefore is unlikely to cause confusion among relevant public. More here (in Chinese).
COPYRIGHT & CREATIVE INDUSTRIES:
Sword Campaign on online enforcement
The National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) and several other Chinese government agencies have announced results of the 2016 “Sword Campaign” against online copyright infringement. During the 2016 Sword Campaign 514 administrative cases were investigated, 33 of which were passed on for criminal investigation. 290 websites were shut down. The special campaign targeted areas covering online literature, private cinema, apps and advertising. The NCAC also released a list of 21 copyright enforcement model cases for 2016. Model cases are non-binding, but are used as reference points by enforcement officers across the country. More here and here (in Chinese).
PATENTS, INDUSTRIAL DESIGNS & INNOVATION:
Invention patent applications reach 1.33 million
According to statistics released by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), 1.33 million invention patent applications were received in China in 2016, an increase of 21.5% on the same period in 2015. 93% of these applications were from domestic Chinese applicants. 49,000 administrative cases covering infringements of invention patents, utility models or designs were handled by local government enforcement units, with trade fair and e-commerce cases accounting for roughly one-third of the total. More here and here (in Chinese).
OTHER ENFORCEMENT & TRADE SECRETS:
Beijing IP Court received over 10,000 cases in 2016
In a press release celebrating the 2nd anniversary of its establishment, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court announced that it received filings of 10,638 IP cases in 2016, an increase of 15.7% on 2015. 8,111 cases were concluded. On average, the compensation for damages in invention patent, utility model and design infringement cases determined by the Court amounted to RMB1.41million (approx. £150,000). The equivalent figures for trade mark cases was RMB1.65million (approx. £175,000), and copyright cases RMB458,000 (approx. £55,000). More here (in Chinese).
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