IPR Cases Received on the Rise


Announced on the Meeting of China Court Presidents, from January to November, the courts of law in China have received a total of 5,750 IPR cases, 24.57% rise over the same period last year.  At the same time, foreign-related and new types of cases pose more difficulties for judges.

Most judges considered IPR cases are among the most difficult ones.  Chief Justice Xiao Yang urged local courts to crack down on IPR infringement and abuse by carefully trying cases involving patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret. 

Justice Jiang Zhipei, Head of Third Civil Tribunal of the Supreme People's Court noted that China had amended its IPR protection to be in line with WTO rules before its accession to WTO in 2001.  In the following two years, the Chinese people's courts further improved its implementation of those laws.  Notably, the Supreme People's Court had issued over a dozen of judicial interpretations for IPR cases.  Consequently, China has established a relatively effective judicial mechanism for IPR protection.  

There are over 3,000 people's courts at different levels in China.  Not all of them are authorized the jurisdiction of IPR cases.  Because IPR cases are relatively more difficult, scattered jurisdictions would not help judges gaining specialized experiences.  The Supreme People's Court elevated threshold of the first instance of IPR cases to the Middle People's Court level.  Trademark and copyright cases are now processed at over 400 middle people's courts in the nation.  Furthermore, only 47 courts among them are authorized to handle cases involving patent and new varieties of plants. 

Specialized IPR Tribunals were established in Beijing and Shanghai in 1993, and within the Supreme People's Court in 1996.  Such tribunals are now with 31 high people's courts.  In addition, National Judge Institute and institutes as such at provincial high people's court level trained judges on IPR trial annually. 

In the five years from 1998 to 2002, people's courts resolved 23,636 IPR cases including many types of IPR issues, a 40% increase over the previous five-year period. 

Justice Jiang stressed the importance of unifying the trial criteria of IPRs in the nation.  However, it is a process that takes time.