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IPR strengthened to help maintain market order

Published on 03/01 2022  Source: China Daily



National-level court aims to provide more protection for core technologies

The national-level Intellectual Property Court will play a greater role in handling disputes related to advanced technologies and tackling monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior in order to continue its legal protection for innovation and maintain market order, a senior official said.

Providing stronger protection for intellectual property rights involving core technologies and in new or key fields will be the Intellectual Property Court's next major job, said Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People's Court, China's top court.

He unveiled the plan on Saturday while delivering a report on litigation procedures in IPR cases. The report was submitted for review to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislative body.

He said that the IP Court, which was set up in Beijing in January 2019 as a division of the Supreme People's Court, would strengthen its work on case hearings related to monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior in order to maintain market order.

"Additionally, we will conduct more research on the extraterritorial application of anti-monopoly laws and provisions, with more participation in IPR international cooperation and competition to better safeguard national sovereignty, as well as security and development interests," he added.

The national-level IP Court was set up to deal with appeals related to patents, technologies and monopolies.

It can streamline the appeals process by allowing litigants to bypass provincial-level courts, which means that litigants dissatisfied with the rulings of intermediate people's courts at the city or prefecture level, or by other specialized IP courts, can appeal directly to the nation's top court, instead of first appealing to provincial-level high courts.

Liu Bin, an IPR lawyer at Beijing Zhongwen Law Firm, said the establishment of the IP Court was a vital step for the nation in reforming IPR case hearing procedures, "and it has also helped prevent inconsistency in terms of the application of laws and improved the quality and efficiency of related trials in the past three years".

"A big challenge in hearing IPR cases involving technologies and patents is to identify whether these cases are innovative," he said. "Before the IP Court was established, some provincial courts found it difficult, which led to inconsistencies."

Liu highlighted the significance of the IP Court's professionalism in handling such cases, "as enterprises may otherwise lose their competitive edge if their technologies cannot be identified".

Previously, enterprises had to apply for a retrial to the nation's top court if they were not satisfied with rulings made by courts at the grassroots and provincial levels, which Liu said was "a waste of legal resources". That problem was overcome after the IP Court streamlined related procedures.

The report delivered on Saturday said the IP Court has worked effectively over the past three years, filing 9,458 appeals involving technologies and monopolies, with an average annual increase of 49.3 percent.

There was also a rapid growth in appeals related to invention patents, indicating that IPR protection is a major issue in technological development, it said.

More than one-fifth of the IPR cases involved new fields, such as new energy, biological medicine and new materials, it said, adding that there was also an increase in foreign-related disputes.