Forum outlines state of IP affairs
A growing number of lawsuits, as well as a reformed judicial system and enhanced protections, are some of the leading features of China's current intellectual property business, said officials, scholars and company executives at a recent forum in Beijing.
Fan Liming, vice-president of Shanghai-based IP service provider Sinofaith, said IP judicial innovation in China has seen some "exciting signals" in recent years, such as the establishment of three dedicated IP courts and the promotion of a mechanism in which criminal, civil and administrative IP cases are heard at a unified division in a court.
IP rights infringement is also being punished more, he added.
A guideline issued by the Supreme People's Court in November 2016 called for increased compensation from rights violators as a means of enhancing protection.
In a patent ruling made by the Beijing Intellectual Property Court in December, the defendant was ordered to pay a total of 50 million yuan ($7.2 million) in damages to the patent right owner, the highest damages amount in the history of the court. The case involved the sale of USB key products to banks across China using a patent called "physic identification method and electronic device".
The compensation included 1 million yuan in litigation costs, and it was the first time that a Chinese IP court had ruled on hourly attorney fees in a judgment.
The Beijing IP court received 10,638 lawsuits in 2016, an increase of 11.7 percent from a year before, and it adjudicated on more than 8,000 cases, a rise of 49.3 percent.
Jiang Bo, head of the legal affairs department of Chinese internet giant Tencent, said the country's online copyright environment is improving, and internet companies agree that they should respect copyright and develop the copyright market in cooperation.
"It will require joint efforts from the judicial and administrative authorities as well as self-discipline from internet companies," Jiang said.
As China continues its transformation into a strong IP nation, it needs an improved IP operation system so that it can efficiently use its existing assets while encouraging further innovation, said Lei Xiaoyun, head of the patent department at the State Intellectual Property Office.
Lei called for an IP operation and service system that integrates platforms, institutions, capital and industries. "The operation platforms are like highways and the cars running on them are like IP projects," she said.
"The companies, universities, research institutions and IP operation agencies are like car factories and we can compare capital to a gas station that fuels everything."