A recent case concerned a form of trademark squatting that involves the squatter filing numerous identical or similar marks, preferably in classes of goods or services in which the targeted trademark is not registered. This behaviour forces the victim to file numerous oppositions or invalidation actions and therefore incur significant costs. The decision may become a precedent in the fight against trademark squatting and gives hope to victims thereof.
In China, decisions in which punitive damages are claimed and supported by the court are becoming increasingly frequent. The Supreme People's Court (SPC) recently released a Judicial Interpretation on the Application of Punitive Damages in the Trial of Civil Cases Involving Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights with immediate effect. This article discusses the six exemplary cases that the SPC published alongside the judicial interpretation to illustrate how punitive damages are assessed and applied.
In China, decisions in which punitive damages are claimed and supported by the court are becoming increasingly frequent. The Supreme People's Court recently released a Judicial Interpretation on the Application of Punitive Damages in the Trial of Civil Cases Involving Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights with immediate effect. The judicial interpretation's main purpose seems to be to coordinate and unify the criteria and language used in different IP laws.
The fourth amendment to the Patent Law, which makes substantial changes to patent filing and enforcement, recently took effect. The amendment largely codifies the evolving patent practice of the Chinese judiciary. It incorporates various revisions, including raising statutory damages, introducing punitive damages and leveraging the good-faith principle to address the abuse of patent rights. This article analyses these revisions and helps stakeholders to navigate the changing litigation landscape.
In February 2021 the IP Court of the Supreme People's Court promulgated the Annual Report 2020, the Judicial Gist Synopsis 2020 and Ten Exemplary Technology IP Cases of 2020. This article provides a summary of the reports and explores their implications for technology-related IP litigation in China moving forwards.
The Regulation on Business Name Registration (Amendment) issued by the State Council recently took effect. The amendment introduces various changes – including a new name approval system, new restrictions on business names, a new dispute mechanism and revised oversight procedures for the local Administration for Market Regulation.
In 2020 the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed the Decision on the Establishment of the IP Court at the Hainan Free Trade Port. The decision took effect in January 2021. The Hainan IP Court, which is the fourth IP court in China, has jurisdiction over various IP matters in Hainan Province. The Hainan High Court has jurisdiction over any appeals filed against the Hainan IP Court's first-instance decisions
In 2020 the China Intellectual Property Administration dismissed an opposition proceeding against the geographical indication (GI) collective trademarks COGNAC and 干邑 ('Cognac' in Chinese), which were filed by the National Interprofessional Cognac Bureau. Both trademarks have since proceeded to registration. Because GI trademarks are not immune to genericide attacks, owners must monitor how they are used.
In an exemplary trademark case concerning major sport footwear manufacturer New Balance, the Supreme People's Court ruled that a single-letter mark can become distinctive and famous in the market through long-term use and promotion and that the bad faith of registrants of disputed marks must be considered in determinations of similarity.
In a landmark case, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) IP Tribunal clarified that two reference documents which disclosed technical solutions that point to the same prior art could not be combined in an assessment of claim novelty because such a combination would create a prior art that had not been disclosed by either document yet existed in the mind of the assessor. This case has since been selected as one of the SPC IP Tribunal's guiding cases and an SPC exemplary case.
The Supreme People's Court recently promulgated two judicial interpretations regarding IP rights disputes that involve internet service providers (ISPs): the Reply to Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in Online IP Rights Infringement Disputes, which applies to all ISPs, and the Guiding Opinions on the Trial of Civil IP Rights Cases Involving E-Commerce Platforms, which target e-commerce platforms. This article summarises the key points of these two judicial interpretations.
Soon after the recent adoption of the third amendment to the Copyright Law, the Supreme People's Court promulgated the Opinions on Strengthening the Protection of Copyright and Copyright-Related Rights. The opinions aim to encourage the development of emerging industries and improve the quality and efficiency of copyright trials.
In a notable trademark case, the Beijing High Court found on appeal that the trademark 罗曼尼·康帝, a Chinese transliteration of 'Romanée-Conti', should be protected. The trademark contained characters that were found to have a stable corresponding relationship with the geographical indication (GI) Romanée-Conti, so the court found that its registration violated the Trademark Law. The decision suggests that unregistered foreign GIs may be granted protection in China.
In an exemplary trademark case, Inner Mongolia Yunlu Water Industry Company Limited filed an invalidation claim against a trademark on the grounds that it breached the Trademark Law. The trademark in question was the name of a place in Inner Mongolia, China, which was known for its rich mineral resources. Therefore, the trademark's registrability depended on whether the name had acquired any additional meanings other than that of the place name.
In September 2020 the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly promulgated Interpretation III on Several Issues Concerning the Specific Application of the Law in Handling Intellectual Property Criminal Cases. The judicial interpretation aims to reduce IP rights crimes and create a business-friendly environment by establishing unified standards in the application of the law in this regard.
The Supreme People's Court recently promulgated Several Provisions on Evidence in Civil Litigation Involving Intellectual Property Rights. The 33-article provisions alleviate the burden of proof on IP rights holders and streamline the formal requirements for evidence sourced outside China. They also introduce penalties for evidence obstruction.
The Interpretation on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Laws in the Trial of Civil Cases Involving Disputes over Food Safety (I) recently came into force. The 14-article interpretation sets out the scenarios in which various parties will be held liable and the level of compensation liability that they will assume. This article explores some of the interpretation's key takeaways, including with respect to e-commerce and parallel imports.
The Commercial Press has published the Dictionary of Frequently Used Ancient Chinese Characters since 1979. It has been reprinted more than 160 times and sold over 22 million copies. The Commercial Press was recently awarded Rmb1.5 million in damages in the first court ruling in which a book planning firm and a publisher were held liable for joint infringement in a dispute concerning book decoration.
The National People's Congress recently passed the fourth amendment to the Patent Law, which will come into effect on 1 June 2021. It has been eight years since the first draft was released for public opinion. This article provides an overview of how the patent regime will be updated.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress recently adopted the third amendment to the Copyright Law, which is the result of decade-long legislative efforts of the Legislation Office of the State Council and the National Copyright Administration. The amendment will enter into force on 1 June 2021. This article provides an overview of the key highlights of the new law.