28 April 2010

White Paper on IPR protection by Chinese Courts in 2009

On April 21, 2010, China's Supreme People’s Court issued a first study (white paper) on "Property Protection by Chinese Courts in 2009", as e.g. reported here. The paper not only provides a review of IPR enforcement in China in 2009 but also a retrospect on the development of the Chinese IP system in the past 30 years. The bilingual (Chinese and English) paper may be obtained here.

As explained on China Law Update, China started its IPR protection system in the late 1970s and early 1980s during China’s reform. Judicial protection of IPR in Chinese courts started from zero, but has now developed into a specialized system with Chinese characteristics. The White Paper on IPR enforcement signifies the importance of IPR in China today. Chinese courts provide judicial protection for IPR through civil, administrative and criminal procedures. According to the White Paper, from 1985 to 2009, Chinese courts have received and rendered decisions for many IPR cases including: 166,408 civil cases, 6,387 administrative cases, and 14,509 criminal cases. 

In this respect, the paper lists a number of issues the Chinese courts have focussed on in the past 30 years:
  • Expanded their functions and powers in IPR protection;
  • Enlarged the scope of judicial protection for IPR property;
  • Increased the level of judicial protection for IPR;
  • Enhanced the effectiveness of judicial protection for IPR;
  • Improved the judicial system in IPR protection; and
  • Improved the capacity in providing judicial protection for IPR.
Further to that, the Supreme People's Court's claims four central achievements as a result of its past work:
  1. The judicial system became a leading force in China's IP protection due to fair and efficient adjudication of intellectual property cases;
  2. Judicial IP Protection has served the needs of socioeconomic development by ensuring the observation and delivery of the Chinese national IP strategy;
  3. Greater consistency in adjudication practices and decision-making has been achieved due to enhanced judicial supervision and guidance; and
  4. Judical competence and quality has been improved.
The White Paper indicates the massive efforts of China to become a well-accepted member of the internantional IP family by ensuring international standards especially with respect to IPR enforcement. Apparently, the Chinese leaders recognised that a well functioning IP system is a central requirement for bringing invenstments and technical know-how into their country and to support its development from a copy cat to a industrialised high-tech economy at eye level with (or even overtaking) the US, Japan and the European Union.