On November 4, 2017, the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress amended the Chinese Anti-Unfair Competition Law to regulate online market.
The changes target online retailers and will come into effect as of January 1, 2018. The new law forbids business operators from building fake image of themselves to attract new customers. For example, the revised law stipulates that business operators should not deceive consumers by faking sales or employing “click farms” to rack up positive product reviews. The penalties for violation include fines ranging from $30,000 to $150,000 as well as revocation of business licenses in extreme cases.
On July 5, 2017, the Chinese Supreme People’s Court Information Center issued a special report on the judicial data on infringement of intellectual property rights. The number of IPR infringement cases increased by 41.34% in 2016 compared with 2015 to reach more than 70000.
The report shows that, from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016, the average period for trial and decision is 105 days for IPR infringement cases. Among them, the counterfeiting of others patents, infringement of the invention patent and infringement of computer software copyright and other nine cases of trial cycles more than the average trial cycle.
World Intellectual Property Organization recently published 2016 Report on Global Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) international patent application. The report shows that PCT international patent applications from China reached 43,100, surging 45% over the previous year, ranking third behind the United States (56,000) and Japan (45,000).
From the number of applications point of view, the distance between China and Japan is already very close, while China maintained a higher growth rate. The World Intellectual Property Organization predicts that China will surpass Japan this year, surpassing the United States in two years, ranking first in the world.
On March 12, 2017, Chinese Supreme People’s Court Chief Justice Zhou Qiang pointed out in his annual report to National People’s Congress that in 2016, the Supreme People’s Court issued judicial interpretation on trials of patent disputes and improved the protection of intellectual property rights rules. The “Jordan” trademark case highlighted China’s judicial protection of intellectual property rights. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou Intellectual Property Courts explored the application of punitive damages, made efforts to solve the low cost of infringement, and the high cost of copyright protection. Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu set up intellectual property tribunals that have cross-regional centralized jurisdiction of intellectual property cases. The Chinese courts at all levels concluded 14.7 million intellectual property rights related cases in the first instance.
Two years after the establishment of the Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou IPR courts, China is considering a national level IPR appeals court. Chinese courts heard 133,863 IPR cases in 2014 with 30,309 cases handled by the Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou IPR courts since their founding. In 2015, China State Intellectual Property Office received 1 million patent applications.
On December 8, 2016, Chinese Supreme People’s Court ruled in Michael Jordan’s favor for his right in the Chinese version of his name “乔丹”， which was previously registered as a trademark by a Chinese company – Qiaodan Sports. However, the Court dismissed Jordan’s challenge to the Romanized version trademark, which is “Qiaodan”. The presiding justice is Vice-chief of the Supreme People’s Court, Tao Kaiyuan.
In an initial decision on November 16, 2016, Chinese State Intellectual Property Office Patent Reexamination Board invalidated Novartis’ Chinese Patent No. 01809781.2 related to treatment of advanced malignancies involving bone and tumor-induced hypercalcaemia and the drug Zometa (zoledronic acid) for lack of novelty and inventiveness. Please note that this decision can be subject to judicial review. Keep posted.
Eli Lily lost a patent infringement appeal at the Chinese Supreme People’s Court last week, 13 years after its initial lawsuit. The Court held that Changzhou Watson Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. did not infringe Eli Lily’s Chinese Patent No. 91103346.7 directed to olanzapine manufacturing method. Although Eli Lily initially obtained a favorable judgement of infringement and damages of 3.5 million RMB, the Chinese Supreme People’s Court ruling overturned the initial judgement. Notably, the Chinese Supreme People’s Court hired a technical expert from the Patent Reexamination Board of SIPO. see trial video at http://ts.chinacourt.org/1124.html.
In a final judgment on April 26, 2016, Beijing Highest People’s Court invalidated Gilead Science’s Chinese Patent No. 200710196265.3 related to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B drug Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) for lack of novelty.
On April 14, 2016, Beijing Intellectual Property Office and Beijing Municipal Government Information Office jointly issued the 2015 White Paper on Intellectual Property Rights Protection in Beijing. White Paper shows that the courts received 13,939 first instance IPR civil cases, an increase of 24.1% from last year; concluded 11, 858 cases, an increase of 8.49% from last year. The first intermediate court and the intellectual property courts in 2015 received a total of 7948 new first instance administrative intellectual property rights cases, a reduction of 18.38% from last year. The Beijing Intellectual Property Office handled 126 patent infringement cases, an increase of 57.5% from last year; investigated 551 cases of counterfeit patents, an increase of 96.1% from last year.