Courts are handling more foreign IP cases

Updated: 2016-04-29 08:26

By Cao Yin(China Daily Europe)

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Trend shows China is a key market for enterprises to develop innovation

China has become a major market for foreign enterprises to develop intellectual property innovation, according to a senior judge with the Supreme People's Court.

With more frequent economic and trade exchanges, IP disputes nationwide involving foreign litigants rose from 2,840 in 2013 to 5,675 last year.

"Foreign-related cases are a key area for IP tribunals in courts, especially administrative ones," Song Xiaoming, chief judge of a civil tribunal for IP cases, who revealed the figures, said ahead of World IP Day on April 26.

In 2013, courts heard 1,143 foreign IP administrative cases, with the number rising to 4,348 last year, the top court says. In such lawsuits, government agencies such as copyright administrations are usually the defendants accused of improper official rulings.

Courts are handling more foreign IP cases

Of the IP administrative cases involving foreigners, most were related to patents and trademarks, Song says, adding that those involving business secrets have also risen rapidly.

IP House, a third-party institute, analyzed 5,022 verdicts from 5,432 cases heard by the Beijing IP Court recently and found that 1,095 had foreign litigants.

Of those cases, 395 involved enterprises from the United States, 2.7 times more than those from Germany, which was second on the list, the institute says. Among those involving US businesses, 346 were administrative IP cases concerning, for example, trademarks and patents.

"The boom in IP disputes should be attributed to China's strategy to go global and bring in foreign business, as well as to a strong awareness by foreign enterprises, especially those in the US, to protect their rights in China," Song says.

He says many American companies have applied to Chinese IP authorities for protection of their patents and trademarks, which is why a large number of disputes concern them.

Chen Jinchuan, vice-president of the Beijing IP Court, says the US invests heavily in innovation and applies for patent protection in China the most often.

Song says with more Chinese companies expanding overseas, they should pay more attention to protecting their intellectual property, as few now apply for patent or trademark protection overseas.

"As China is calling for the development of high-grade, precise and advanced technology, such innovations should be protected both at home and abroad," he adds.

Mao Mingqiang, an IP judge at Ningbo Intermediate People's Court in Zhejiang province, says the increase in foreign-related IP disputes is not necessarily a bad thing.

"Some Chinese companies have learned a lot from such lawsuits or have later cooperated on business with their foreign litigants," Mao says.

Courts are handling more foreign IP cases