Outline of the Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property in China (2016-2020)

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The endeavor to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation has animated waves of mass entrepreneurship and crowd innovation. For entrepreneurs and innovators to flourish, their legally obtained property rights must be protected according to law. As an important type of property rights, intellectual property rights can be translated into advanced productive forces. To succeed in its supply side structural reform, phase out backward capacity and shore up its international competitiveness, China must harness the power of intellectual property. In this context, judicial protection of intellectual property must be strengthened to maximize the value of intellectual property, and facilitate the creation and commercialization of innovative outcomes. This will provide a powerful judicial safeguard for shaping China as a global power-house of intellectual property and technology.

China’s judicial protection system for intellectual property germinated and grew amidst the great transformations of the reform and opening-up period, and continued to improve following the enactment of the Trademark Law, Patent Law and Copyright Law, and China’s accession into the World Trade Organisation. Today, a judiciary-led protection system comprising civil, administrative and criminal adjudications has taken shape. It embodies the “Chinese wisdom” and “Chinese experience” in intellectual property protection, and respects the fundamental judicial principles in the intellectual property domain. It is also an important part of our socialist legal system, and is well aligned with the general rules and norms globally in intellectual property protection. 

I. Development Overview 

Over the past three decades, China has been catching up with the West on judicial protection of intellectual property that has taken developed countries nearly three centuries to foster. In this process, it has carved out for itself a “China path”, a path of convergence and innovation, and of self-directed development and improvement.

1.Substantial increase in case numbers 

In February 1985, the people’s courts accepted China’s first patent dispute case. Between 1985 and 2016, the people’s courts accepted 792,851 and concluded 766,101 civil intellectual property cases of first instance. From 2002 when statistics for administrative intellectual property cases were collected separately to 2016, the people’s courts accepted 44,401 and concluded 39,113 administrative intellectual property cases of first instance. For criminal intellectual property cases, statistics were collected separately since 1998. As at 2016, the people’s courts accepted 77,116 and concluded 76,174 criminal intellectual property cases of first instance. 

The protection covers all intellectual property rights and unfair competition acts specified in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Judicial protection of intellectual property relating to China’s time-honored brands, traditional Chinese medicine, folk cultures and arts, and the Chinese characters and fonts repository has breathed new life into the ancient Chinese civilization.

2.Gradual improvement in intellectual property adjudication mechanisms 

In October 1995, the Supreme People’s Court established its Intellectual Property Division. In November and December 2014, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai set up their own intellectual property courts. In early 2017, specialized intellectual property adjudication organs were launched in Nanjing, Suzhou, Chengdu and Wuhan. In July 2016, the “three-in- one” model for adjudicating civil, administrative and criminal intellectual property cases was adopted at the national level.

A diversified technical fact-finding system comprising technical investigation officers (技术调查官), judicial authentication (司法鉴定), expert assessor (专家辅助人) and expert advice (专家咨询)was initiated. Jurisdiction is better structured in that Beijing Intellectual Property Court exercises jurisdiction over cases relating to administrative granting and validation of patent and trademark rights, certain intermediate people’s courts are given concentrated jurisdiction over patent and other technology-related civil cases, and some basic-level people’s courts exercise jurisdiction over intellectual property cases of a general nature.

As of end 2016, 224 intermediate people’s courts were designated by the Supreme People’s Court or mandated by law to have special jurisdiction over civil cases concerning new plant varieties, integrated circuit design, monopoly and determination of well-known trademarks. 167 basic people’s courts were approved by the Supreme People’s Court to exercise jurisdiction over civil intellectual property cases of a general nature.

3.Better judicial policies for protecting intellectual property 

By formulating judicial policies to guide adjudication practice, the Supreme People’s Court has ensured that laws are applied consistently, transparently and effectively to settle disputes over intellectual property creation, utilization and transactions across different times, regions and disciplines. By adjudicating intellectual property cases, the Supreme People’s Court has also upheld the unification of the Party’s leadership, the people as the master of the country and the rule according to law.

Between1985 and 2016, the Supreme People’s Court has issued a total of 34 intellectual property-related judicial interpretations and over 40 judicial policy documents, making the judiciary an effective and leading force in protecting intellectual property. Following the 18th CPC National Congress in particular, the Court observed the spirit of CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important addresses and his new theories, thoughts and strategies on governance, advanced the judicial reform agenda, and revamped the institutions and mechanism that hindered intellectual property protection. It has laid down, for now and for years to come, China’s fundamental policy in intellectual property protection: primacy of the judiciary, strict enforcement of law, differentiated measures, and proportionality.

The past 30 years’ practice and experience demonstrates the following: 

First, judicial protection of intellectual property is essential for implementing the innovation- driven development strategy and achieving socio- economic development and cultural prosperity. It affects development both at home and abroad, and is increasingly scrutinized by various society at large and the international community. 

For the above reasons, the Supreme People’s Court has set up the Intellectual Property Judicial Protection Research Centre, Case Guidance and Research Base(Beijing) , China International Exchanges Base (Shanghai) for Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property Rights and Intellectual Property Judicial Protection and Market Value Research Base (Guangdong). It also publishes regularly the “Protection of Intellectual Property by Chinese Courts”, “Supreme People’s Court Annual Report on Intellectual Property Cases” and “Yearbook of Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property in China”. These publications are the authoritative outcomes of China’s efforts at reviewing promptly the country’s latest progress and experience in judicial protection of intellectual property, and at allowing the people to perceive fairness and justice in every judicial case.

Second, judicial protection of intellectual property must be grounded in China’s national circumstances at the primary stage of socialist development, and must serve the goal of modernizing China’s national governance system and capabilities. We must have an open mind and a global vision, observe international conventions, and actively engage in the international governance of intellectual property. We must also express China’s position and demonstrate China’s global influence in the judicial protection of intellectual property. 

Third, to fully leverage the leading role of the judiciary in protecting intellectual property, we must develop an adjudication team that bear in mind the people’s interests and that administers justice fairly. Judges must be firm in their convictions, excel in their professional capabilities, and must be upright, incorruptible, innovative, and responsible. Today, over 5,000 judges, assistant judges, technical investigation officers and clerks are working in courts across China. Armed with the best ideas and concepts, they have advanced the judicial protection of intellectual property in China and have won the trust of the Party and the people.

From the 18th CPC National Congress onward, the new notion of “innovation, coordination, greenness, openness and sharing” development has raised the bar even higher for the judicial protection of intellectual property in China. In the meantime, the world is embracing a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation. Using intellectual property as a powerful tool to improve their competitiveness in the global economic and technologic landscape, developed countries are enforcing more rigorous intellectual property protection rules in international trade. Intellectual property is increasingly becoming the decisive advantage in global competition.

In light of the new domestic and international realities, in accordance with the “13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China”, “CPC Central Committee and the State Council’s Opinions on Improving the Intellectual Property Protection System for the Protection of Property Rights According to Law”, the “CPC Central Committee and the State Council’s Several Opinions on Deepening Reform of Institutions and Mechanisms and Accelerating the Implementation of the Innovation- Driven Development Strategy”, and the “Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy”, and based on the judicial practice of the people’s courts in protecting intellectual property, this “Outline of the Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property in China (2016- 2020)” is formulated. The five-year Outline aims to further improve China’s intellectual property judicial protection system, strengthen the judicial protection capacity, and better accentuate the judiciary’s leading role in protecting intellectual property. The Outline also aims to introduce more “Chinese wisdom” and “Chinese experience” in the area of judicial protection of intellectual property.

II. Guiding tenets 

This Outline is based on the following tenets: Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thoughts, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the “Three Represents” (三个代表), the Scientific Concept of Development, the key tenets set forth at the 18th CPC National Congress, the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Plenums of the 18th CPC Central Committee, and the spirit of CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important addresses and his new theories, thoughts and strategies on governance.

The Outline requires the people’s courts to strengthen their political awareness, serve the larger good, uphold the centrality of the CPC and maintain consistency and unity (四个意识). It observes the overarching concept of “five areas in one (五位一体)”, i.e. balancing economy, politics, culture, society and environment in pursuing development, and serves the strategic vision of the “four comprehensives (四个全面)”, i.e. building a comprehensive xiaokang society(小康社会), comprehensively advancing reforms, comprehensively governing according to law, and comprehensively enforcing strict governance of the Party.

The Outline focuses on “ensuring that the people perceive fairness and justice in every judicial case”, and embodies China’s commitment to fair administration of justice for the people. As per the Outline, judicial reforms will be advanced, and the leading role of the judiciary in protecting intellectual property fully unleashed. Protecting intellectual property is protecting innovation. In this connection, the Outline will help deliver effective judicial services for implementing China’s intellectual property strategy and innovation-driven development strategy, and will provide a strong judicial safeguard in making China a global power-house of intellectual property and science and technology.

III. Fundamental principles 

1. Serving the overall interests. 

This is the fundamental mission of adjudication by the people’s courts’, and an important responsibility of intellectual property adjudication. We must improve our awareness of the big picture and enhance our sense of responsibility and of purpose, and serve the overall interests of the Party and of national development.We must also adapt to evolving international circumstances and identify the right priorities for intellectual property adjudication. 

2. Pursuing reform and innovation. 

Reform and innovation is the fountainhead of driving forces for achieving sustained and sound development of intellectual property adjudication. They are also the only way to modernise our adjudication system and capabilities. The major hindrances and weaknesses constraining intellectual property adjudication must be overcome through innovative ideas and methods, and the adjudication systems and mechanisms must be progressively improved to modernise the intellectual property-related judicial system and judicial capacity. 

3. Adopting a judiciary-led approach. 

Leveraging the leading role of the judiciary in protecting intellectual property is the intrinsic in the delivery of justice and is consistent with the general practice in intellectual property protection. It also represents an important outcome of comprehensively promoting governance according to law. We must strengthen the judiciary-led protection concept and capitalise on the advantages of the judiciary’s system and mechanisms in intellectual property protection. We must manage the relationship between judicial protection and administrative protection, step up the procedural and substantive review of administrative enforcement, and while supporting lawful administrative enforcement, strengthen supervision and regulation. 

4. Providing equal protection 

We must provide equal protection of the lawful rights for all economic entities of all ownership types and parties of all nationalities, and observe equality of rights, opportunities and rules. All entities and parties, whether publicly or privately owned, and whether Chinese or foreign, are entitled to equal procedural and substantive rights in an intellectual property action. 

5. Insisting strict protection 

Intellectual property must be protected to implement the innovation-driven development strategy, and the basic direction of judicial protection of intellectual property in China, for now and for the coming years. To maximise the value of intellectual property and to drive innovation, we require strict enforcement of laws and be more targeted and effective in providing judicial protection. 

6. Adopting differentiated measures 

We must better understand the protection needs and features of different types of intellectual property such as technological outcomes and trademarks, and properly define the criteria for determining unfair competition and monopoly. We must step up research in key areas and special domains and better resolve specific issues. Protection approaches, measures and standards must be differentiated to correspond to the nature and needs of different types and areas of intellectual property. 

7. Maintaining proportionality 

We must balance protecting rights and promoting innovation. The scope and intensity of protection must be proportionate to the level of innovation and the intellectual property’s contribution; the cost of infringement must be proportionate to the infringer’s subjective malice and harmful act; and protection of intellectual property must be balanced with the underlying laws of development, the national circumstances and development needs. We must manage according to law the relationship between the interests of intellectual property owners, the lawful interests of others, and public and national interests to balance intellectual property protection and technological innovation and industrial development. 

8. Seeking open development 

Increasing the global influence of China’s judicial protection of intellectual property is essential for building a world-class power-house of intellectual property with Chinese characteristics. A global vision is critical. We must be grounded in our practical circumstances and national conditions as we respect international rules and general norms, draw upon international experience in the judicial protection of intellectual property, and distil and share our experiences, so as to strengthen China’s principle role in the international governance of intellectual property.

IV. Major objectives 

1. Establishing a coordinated and open judicial policy system to guide and regulate the application of law, and the rationale and value orientation of decision making for the judicial protection of intellectual property. 

2. Formulating clear and consistent decision criteria and rules for determining the scope of rights, infringing acts, damages, and the probative value and admissibility of evidence. 

3. Establishing an intellectual property court system that is designed with a regional perspective, that addresses the vertical and horizontal relationships of adjudicating organs, that adopts the “three-in-one” adjudication model, and that achieves a balanced development of the above elements. 

4. Setting up a well-structured intellectual property jurisdiction system comprising territorial jurisdiction, original jurisdiction, exclusive jurisdiction, and concentrated cross-regional jurisdiction. 

5. Formulating intellectual property-specific evidentiary rules which include the burden of proof by the parties, ex officio investigation and evidence collection and preservation by the courts, and discovery and exclusion of evidence. 

6. Evolving an intellectual property damages system underpinned by scientific rigour and rationality, such that the infringement-related losses, infringing gains, royalties, statutory damages and litigation costs correspond to the value of the intellectual property. 

7. Developing a team of intellectual property judges who are of high-calibre, who are committed to fair justice for the people, who can adjudicate civil, administrative and criminal intellectual property cases effectively and efficiently, and who has a global vision. 

8. Establishing a long-term mechanism for judicial exchanges and cooperation on intellectual property to facilitate implementation of the “Belt and Road” Initiative, the “Go Global” strategy, and the “China Manufacturing 2025” strategy, and to help create an equal, fair and orderly global competitive landscape.

V. Key Measures 

1. Fair and effective adjudication 

A key measure is the improvement of the adjudication mechanism for cases involving both civil and administrative disputes. This is one way to avoid repeated litigation and to expedite effectual resolution. Classifying cases by their complexity is one way of saving time. By separating cases based on the level of original jurisdiction, and the type and nature of the case, hearing procedures and written judgments could be adapted according to the degree of complexity. Speedy hearing could be used for simple cases, and elaborate hearing for complex ones. Where appropriate, the applicable scope of the simplified procedure could be expanded for straightforward cases when the facts, and the rights and obligations are clear, and when the disputed matter is minor. The courts should try to profit fully from the adjudication committee’s role in reviewing the adjudication practice and in providing better guidance to elevate adjudication quality and efficiency.

 2. Creating effective mechanisms to ensure proper application of law 

Effective application of the law requires diligent review of the application of law relating to administrative disputes involving the granting and validation of patent and trademarks, trademark civil disputes and pre-trial injunctive relief, and the drafting of judicial interpretations where appropriate to unify adjudication criteria and standards. Other action to be taken include revising the judicial interpretation for new plant varieties for better judicial protection; initiating study researches on the latest issues on application of law such as those on standard-essential patents, new business models, collective management of copyright, and intellectual property protection in a digital environment; strengthening intellectual property protection of TCM, folk literature and culture, and intangible cultural heritage by developing judicial interpretation promptly to clarify the adjudication principles and requirements; and intensifying study on FTA-related intellectual property disputes involving parallel imports, trans-shipment and transit, and OEM, and seek appropriate resolution. Further to the above, the courts will actively participate in the amendment of the Patent Law, Copyright Law, and Unfair Competition Law, and work towards elevating the provisions in the judicial interpretations and judicial policies into law, and resolving the current practical problems of the “two-track” judicial-cum- administrative protection of intellectual property.

3. Advancing “three-in-one” adjudication of civil, administrative, criminal intellectual property disputes

Based on the principles underlying intellectual property and the practicalities, a centralised adjudication model for intellectual property disputes will be established. The streamlined model puts civil, criminal and administrative disputes under one umbrella, coordinates the three adjudication levels, and unifies innovative endeavours pertaining to the adjudication mechanism, adjudication organisation, and adjudication management (三级联动,三审合一,三位一体). The new model also helps focus efforts on resolving problems of coordination between the investigation, approval for arrest (批捕), public prosecution, and adjudication.

The High People’s Courts plan to establish within their jurisdictions a communication and liaison mechanism that links the local courts, prosecution, police, and intellectual property administrative enforcement agencies. The liaison mechanism will help coordinate the police and prosecution in the investigation of criminal cases and the transfer of cases for prosecution.

The High People’s Courts and Intermediate People’s Courts will set up coordinating organisations responsible for supervising the “three-in-one” operations within their jurisdictions. Deployment of adjudication manpower will be based on need, and training will be strengthened to form a corps of competent multi-skilled judges capable of handling the three categories of litigation.

Based on the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the intellectual property courts will launch the “three-in-one” adjudication model as appropriate.

4. Improving the jurisdiction system for intellectual property cases

Intellectual property cases should be appropriately concentrated in certain courts, with a rational distribution of jurisdiction and apply the “three-in-one” adjudication model. These are the principles based on which the territorial jurisdiction, original jurisdiction, and exclusive jurisdiction of intellectual property cases are defined.

In principle, for general civil, administrative and criminal intellectual property cases that fall within the Intermediate People’s Courts’ jurisdiction, a basic- level court is designated to hear cases for several zones; where appropriate, areas with a heavier caseload may designate more basic-level courts. For areas with a lighter caseload, disputes may be escalated and be heard by the intermediate courts.

Original jurisdiction based on the hierarchical level of the court basically classifies by the type of cases, so that jurisdiction for technology-based cases will be progressively concentrated. The conditions, scope and procedure for transfer of jurisdiction must be specified, and jurisdiction for cases which are important, difficult and complex, and which attract major public concern may be escalated to the higher level court. Intellectual property courts have specific cross-administrative regional jurisdiction for technological-based civil, administrative and criminal cases, such as patent disputes.

5. Formulating intellectual property evidentiary rules when appropriate

Evidentiary rules will be developed based on the peculiarities of intellectual property, including its intangible, time-based and regional features, and by drawing on the experience of developed countries and regions, so as to guide the parties toward pursuing litigation in good faith.

Improvement of the evidentiary regime includes reasonable allocation of the burden of proof, such as shifting the burden of proof to the defendant, improvement of the evidence preservation system before and during trial, and supporting the parties in actively gathering and producing evidence.

Also under consideration are the establishment of rules for disclosure of evidence and spoliation of evidence, clarification of issues pertaining to mutual admissibility of evidence in different procedures, the force and effect of forensic examination, and probative value, allowing expert assessors (专家辅助人huanjia fuzhuren) to play their role, appropriately reducing the burden of proof of the parties. Hopefully, these measures will reduce the burden of proof on the part of the parties, and therefore help address the challenges of producing evidence and judicial determination.

6. Improving the technical fact-finding mechanism

To create a more robust technical fact-finding mechanism, the method which ancillary judicial personnel (司法辅助人员) such as technical investigation officers (技术调查官), technical advisory experts (技术咨询专家), and technical expert witness (技术鉴定人员) participate in technical fact-finding should be defined, the capacities and resources of technical investigation fully exploited, and a coordinated system for finding and determining technical facts created. Further efforts include improving the scientific rigour, professional quality and neutrality of technical fact-finding, and standardising the format and admission mechanism of technical investigation reports. Technical investigation opinions which assist the judge in forming an inner conviction and which are closely connected with the decision may be appropriately disclosed and explained to the parties (Aufklaerung). Other related measures include strengthening the judge’s role as the principal technical fact-finder, and regulating the legal status of the technical review opinions provided by technical investigators.

7. Creating an infringement damages system that reflects the full value of intellectual property

Having a strong respect for knowledge and talent, China’s courts believe that because intellectual property creates value, intellectual property owners should enjoy returns in benefits, and that infringing on intellectual property rights is infringing on the moral right and property right of other persons. As such, an IP infringement damages system that is fair and reasonable, that observes proportionality and coordination, and which has a compensatory primary role and a punitive secondary role should be created. This will be a system that allows compensation of the right-holder’s lost benefits, deprive the infringer of any profit, and make the losing party pay for costs. Efforts will be made to push for the inclusion of punitive damages in the Copyright Law, Patent Law and Unfair Competition Law to increase the amount of statutory damages for infringement of intellectual property rights.

Based on the requirements under the “CPC Central Committee and the State Council’s Several Opinions on Deepening Reform of Institutions and Mechanisms and Accelerating the Implementation of the Innovation-Driven Development Strategy” and “CPC Central Committee and the State Council’s Opinions on Improving the Intellectual Property Protection System for the Protection of Property Rights According to Law”, the intellectual property regime will be reformed. This will mean that a historical change will take place, in that intellectual property will be effectively protected.

8. Launching studies on a special procedural law for intellectual property litigation
To meet the needs of the “three-in-one” adjudication model, thematic studies pertaining to the formulation of a special procedural law for intellectual property litigation will be launched. At the right time, and with the right method, a special procedural law that befits the specificities of intellectual property adjudication will be formulated. The special procedural law will provide for the territorial jurisdiction, original jurisdiction, and exclusive jurisdiction of civil, administrative and criminal cases relating to intellectual property disputes, intellectual property-related evidentiary rules, and the evidence preservation system. It will also further clarify the function of the courts to examine the legal force of patents and registered marks during a patent or trademark civil litigation, and specify the duties and responsibilities of technical investigation officers, expert assessors (专家辅助人), technical advisory experts (技术咨询专家).
9. Establishing and improving specialised intellectual property adjudication organ

To implement the requirements in the “Outline of the Coordinated Development Plan for the Beijing-Tianjin- Hebei (京津冀) Region”, the Supreme People’s Court is responsible for coordinating the cross-regional jurisdiction of technology-related cases for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. Under consideration is the establishment of branch courts by the Beijing Intellectual Property Court in Tianjin Municipality and Hebei Province to concentrate jurisdiction of technology-related cases in the region. A further move would be to do the same for other intellectual property courts to expand their area of jurisdiction and exercise cross-jurisdiction for technology-related cases.

The Supreme People’s Court will be reviewing the operations of the specialised intellectual property adjudication organs in Chongqing, Nanjing, Suzhou and Chengdu, and depending on need, establish new intellectual property courts according to law, so as to rationalise the distribution of specialised intellectual property adjudication organs.

(10) Studying the establishment of an appeal mechanism for intellectual property disputes

As required under the 2008 “Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy” to “explore the establishment of an intellectual property appellate court”, an appeal mechanism for intellectual property disputes will be explored and studied. This study stems from a long-term national perspective and the broader view to adapt to the global development trend. Plugging institutional gaps is one way to resolve the inconsistencies in the application of law due to dispersed jurisdiction for the two instances, as the inconsistencies in turn undermine the judiciary’s credibility.

11. Promoting use of the case guidance system for intellectual property adjudication

The intellectual property guiding cases published by the Supreme People’s Court and the cases in the “Supreme People’s Court Gazette”, representative cases published by the Supreme People’s Court’s Intellectual Property Division, cases published by the Supreme People’s Court’s Case Guidance and Research Base(Beijing), and the representative intellectual property cases published by the Supreme People’s Court’s Judicial Cases Research Centre will form a case pool that can stand up to the rigours of science and rationality. Also defined will be the rules and mechanisms for case selection, and the level of legal force, the publishing institution and publication method.

A case system that includes guiding cases and reference cases will be established. This is a dynamic and interactive system, under which different cases are selected, based on a rigorous standard, and which are perpetually rewritten and replaced.

Eventually, a national-level intellectual property case archive will be created, together with a smart case information management and application system.

12. Advancing the establishment of an alternative dispute resolution mechanism for intellectual property disputes

Arbitration and other dispute resolution methods will be given full play to effectively resolve intellectual property disputes, and the disputing parties encouraged to settle their disputes through non-litigious methods. Other endeavours include strengthening communication with arbitration organisations, industry associations and mediation organisations, creating a third-party platform for resolution of intellectual property-related civil disputes, aligning litigation with arbitration and mediation, and standardising the relevant processes and legal documents. Arbitration and mediation organisations will receive support in the performance of their lawful duties in terms of evidence and property preservation and enforcement action, so as to create an expedient mechanism for non-litigious dispute resolution methods for intellectual property disputes.

13. Driving comprehensive judicial transparency for intellectual property matters
Improving judicial transparency involves exploring new channels in the mobile internet environment, expanding the use of platforms such as China Judgements Online (http://wenshu.court.gov.cn/), China Judicial Process Information Online (http:// splcgk.court.gov.cn/zgsplcxxgkw/), and the China open-court website (http://tingshen.court.gov.cn/) for use in intellectual property adjudication, and driving informatization, digitisation and attention to details in the intellectual property judicial transparency.

Technology is an effective means for advancing judicial transparency. Use of the technology includes building technologically equipped courtrooms, using video and audio technologies to broadcast court proceedings, and simultaneous audio- and video- recording and live broadcast of court hearings. More forms of open-court will be explored, and the scope of the open-court system will be expanded.

Professional third-party organisations such as those in data analytics, internet and new media will be brought in to analyse judicial data, strengthen application of the outcomes of judicial transparency, and elevate the use of smart technology to support judicial transparency.

As part of the process of improving transparency, emphasis will be given to the writing and publishing of publications such as the “Intellectual Property Protection by Chinese Courts”, the “Supreme People’s Court’s Annual Report on Intellectual Property Cases” and the “Ten Major Cases and Fifty Representative Cases”.

14. Continued strengthening of international exchanges and cooperation

The China International Exchanges Base (Shanghai) for Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property Rights will be leveraged to create an intellectual property think-tank of international stature. Further efforts include organising intellectual property seminars and exchange activities with international impact, and communicating China’s achievements in judicial protection of intellectual property.

Further international exchanges and cooperation includes sending representatives to participate in international conferences, participating in overseas study trips, organising international forums, and inviting foreign judges and academics to China for exchanges, so as to stay up to date with the latest developments in intellectual property protection globally, and promote communication and cooperation.

By leveraging the various dialogue platforms, China’s courts can actively participate in and shape the creation and revision of international rules of intellectual property governance, and drive the development of international rules that are more equal, fairer, and that are more open and transparent.
15. Building a high quality intellectual property adjudication team

Developing a high quality adjudication team includes strengthening development of the ideological and political mind-set, improving the judicial behaviour, and ensuring a clean judiciary.

Through secondment and employment, among others, a multifarious people-exchange system will be established to allow exchange of personnel between intellectual property courts, between specialised intellectual property adjudication organs, and between the superior and inferior courts. Over time, an integrated intellectual property adjudication team will be established in the country.

Other focuses include developing a body of intellectual property judges with a macro perspective and an international outlook, who has a good knowledge of the law, and who understand technology; classification of personnel into different categories and managing them separately; specifying the official responsibilities and management requirements of judges, assistant judges, technical investigation officers, and clerks; and regulating the terms and conditions for appointing technical investigation officers, their job nature, recusal system, and development mechanism.

The Supreme People’s Court is responsible for organising and implementation of this Outline, and has, depending on necessity, formed the respective coordinating and steering organisations to determine the time table and roadmap for implementing the various key measures. A reporting system has also been established, so as to review the lessons learnt, strengthen supervision and guidance, and ensure that the different levels of local People’s Courts complete their work and fulfil their responsibilities promptly. The various levels of People’s Courts must work hard at promoting publicity and shaping public opinion, so as to create an external environment that conduces to the judicial protection of intellectual property.


The Supreme People’s Court 

20 April, 2017

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