1 Overview

1) General data for closed IP cases

According to statistics provided by the Supreme People’s Court, the number of case closing of IP cases of first instance rose year by year for courts of all levels. 147,000 cases were closed in 2016, increasing by 9.55% on a year-on-year basis. The number is estimated to reach 161,000 for 2017, marking a year-on-year increase of 9.32%. See the chart below.

Statistics of closed IP cases of first instance for 2013-2017

In addition, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou IP Court explored the application of punitive damages, in an attempt to address the awkward problem that rights owners tend to pay a higher price to protect their lawful rights, whereas the infringers always get away with not so much to lose. Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu established IP tribunals with cross-district jurisdictions over IP cases.

2) Cases handled by Beijing IP Court According to statistics provided by Beijing IP Court, it accepted 10,638 IP cases in 2016, marking a year-on-year increase of 15.74% (9191 IP cases in 2015). This number reached 11,108 by August, 2017.

In terms of case acceptance, Beijing IP Court receives many cases of first instance, administrative cases, cases involving technologies and foreign entities. Cases blow exhibited an increasing trend: cases in industries of high tech and strategic importance involving core technologies, cases with both parties being foreign entities, cases where Chinese rights owners suing foreign infringers, cases of new forms of disputes, and cases with object of action in huge values. 

Beijing IP Court continually increased the amount of compensation, with the average compensation for patent infringement cases reaching RMB 1.41 million, RMB 1.65 million for TM infringement cases, and 458, 000 for copyright infringement.

For example, the Court supported the plaintiff’s compensation request of RMB 4.5 million in the TM infringement case of Mobil; RMB 10 million in the “墙锢” TM infringement case, RMB 49 million in the U shield patent infringement case and set a precedent by backing the plaintiff’s request of compensating RMB 1million for the lawyer fees. In the “紫玉” TM infringement case, the Court increased the RMB 1 million compensation as decided by the court of first instance to RMB 3 million, which is the highest amount prescribed by law. The court also determined the compensation amount against copyright infringements in the case involving Shusheng Digital Technology Ltd. by applying the highest remuneration: RMB 300/thousand words, which is much higher than that applied in the ruling of first instance.

2 TM litigation

1) General trends

According to the statistics of Industry and Commerce Bureau and TM Office, filings of TM appraisal cases were constantly increasing at high rate, as TM rights owners awareness in right protection grew. The amount of such filings reached 156,000 in 2016, with a month average of 13,000, marking an increase of 32.8%. Among them, the amount of review of refusal notices reached 131,000, increased by 31.3%. Complex cases involving both parties stood at 26,000, up by 40.9%. The fillings were predicted to reach 190,000 to 200,000 for 2017, up by 23% on a year-on-year basis. Please see the figure below.

Statistics of TM appraisal cases for 2013-2017

2) Features of TM cases

Burgeoning entrepreneurship in recent years, combined with low awareness in TM protection, has led to significant increase in cases involving business models of C2C and O2O, and decrease of TM infringement cases involving B2C and B2B. Data shows that TM infringement cases involving websites, ranking auctions by search engines and e-commerce platforms took up 81% of all cases relating to on-line TM infringements. Newly emerging cases concerning games and apps were less commonly seen.

3 Patent Litigation

1) General Trends

Patent administrative cases were seeing an increase in the number of their handling. In 2016, the number of handling of patent administrative cases was 48,916 up by 36.5% on a year-on-year basis. The number was estimated to reach 71,000 for 2017, up by 44.6% on a year-on-year basis. Among them, patent infringement cases went over 20,000 for the first time to 20, 859 (20,351 patent infringement dispute cases), up by 42.8% on a year-on-year basis. Patent counterfeiting cases reached 28, 057, up by 32.1% on a year-on-year basis. See the figure below.

3 Patent Litigation 1) General Trends Patent administrative cases were seeing an increase in the number of their handling. In 2016, the number of handling of patent administrative cases was 48,916 up by 36.5% on a year-on-year basis. The number was estimated to reach 71,000 for 2017, up by 44.6% on a year-on-year basis. Among them, patent infringement cases went over 20,000 for the first time to 20, 859 (20,351 patent infringement dispute cases), up by 42.8% on a year-on-year basis. Patent counterfeiting cases reached 28, 057, up by 32.1% on a year-on-year basis. See the figure below.

Statistics of case handling of patent administrative cases for 2013-2017.

2) Features of patent infringement and rights protection.

a) Patent infringement and counter measures 38% patentees took no actions when facing patent infringements. Within those who took actions, research institutes, companies and individual patentees were inclined to send lawyer’s letter demanding immediate cease of infringement acts; college patentees tended to request administrative handling alone or request administrate handling and also go to court. 

b) Types of infringement and loss For companies, leakage of business secrets were counted as the most sever loss, taking up 42%. For colleges, the top two losses were patent rights and copyrights, especially so for patent rights loss, taking up over 50%. For research institutes, the top two losses were patent rights and business secrets, with the former more sever, taking up 37%.

4 IPR Operations

1) Overview In 2015, SIPO planned to see the patent rights pledge financing go over RMB 100 billion in 2020.

2) TM Operations China handled 1,410 TM pledge registration fillings in 2016, financing RMB 64.99 billion for companies, marking a year-on-year increase of 90%. Even with a conservative estimation of 20% increase, TM pledge registration will reach 1,600-1,700 in 2017, with the financing amount reaching RMB 70-80 billion.

3) Patent Operations

China’s patent rights pledge reached RMB 43.6 billion in 2016, marking a minor drop compared with the previous year. The IPR operation funds collected RMB 4.28 billion in the initial raising. In 2017, China’s patent pledge financing reached RMB 72 billion, up by 65% on a year-on-year basis. The number of pledge projects reached 4,177, up by 60% on a year-on-year basis.

China patent rights pledge financing and the number of companies

Source of data: SIPO, Beijing IP Court, Copyright Society of China and online media.