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Intellectual Property Protection  by Chinese Courts in 2015

Release time:2018-12-14 09:08:15 source:The Supreme People’s Court of The People’s Republic of China


Intellectual Property Protection

by Chinese Courts in 2015








The Supreme People’s Court,

the People’s Republic of China

April 2016, Beijing















Special Remarks:


This paper is published in both Chinese and English. The Chinese version shall be the authoritative version for interpretation purposes.






Introduction ...............................................................................................

I.               Advancing judicial adjudication and protecting innovation and development   

II.            Deepening judicial reform and improving the adjudication system and mechanisms

III.         Reinforcing supervision and guidance, and ensuring judicial fairness and efficiency  

IV.         Greater judicial transparency and optimising the environment for judicial protection

V.            Practising stringent management and fortifying the adjudication team 














Intellectual Property Protection by Chinese Courts in 2015



2015 was the year which the people’s courts implemented the key tenets set forth at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Third, Fourth and Fifth Plenary Sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee. It was also the year to deepen reforms comprehensively, serve the larger socioeconomic development needs, and achieve new heights.

Under the CPC Central Committee’s strong leadership, and the effective supervision of the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee, the people’s courts studied and observed the spirit of CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important addresses. By focusing on the primary tasks and serving the larger good, and by tapping deep into potentials and carrying forward the spirit of reform and innovation, the people’s courts have implemented the national intellectual property strategy, faithfully performed their adjudication duties as mandated by the Constitution and laws, enhanced the role of judiciary-led intellectual property protection, and enforced strictly judicial protection of intellectual property. The people’s courts have also promoted reform of the intellectual property adjudication system, strengthened adjudication supervision and guidance, and improved the judiciary’s transparency, capacity and credibility. These efforts have engendered progress in the judicial protection of intellectual property, and enabled the legal environment for realising the 13th Five-Year Plan. They have also contributed to the implementation of the innovation-driven development strategy.


I.       Advancing Judicial Adjudication and Protecting Innovation and Development

The people’s courts have focused on the overarching goals of the Party and the country, and enforced the CPC Central Committee and the State Council’s “Several Opinions on Deepening the Reform of Systems and Mechanisms to Accelerate the Implementation of Innovation-driven Development Strategies”. Consistent with the principle of “people-based justice”, the People’s Courts have discharged their duty of intellectual property adjudication diligently, strived for better adjudication quality and efficiency, and protected the lawful rights and interests of intellectual property owners. They are better adapted to and have better served the “new normal” of economic growth, and have worked towards ensuring implementation of the innovation-driven development strategy.

In 2015, the People’s Courts accepted a total of 149,238 intellectual property-related cases, including first and second instance cases and reopened (zaishen) cases, and concluded 142,077 cases, and the respective increases were 11.49% and 11.76% compared to 2014.


(1)   Strengthened civil adjudication to protect the lawful rights of intellectual property owners.

 The people’s courts have taken advantage of the opportunities presented by this innovation-based development era, observed and adhered to China’s development philosophy, direction and focus, and dedicated themselves to invigorating innovative efforts and encouraging the creative potential of the society. They have also tried to create a level playing field for start-ups and crowd innovation. As such, they have strengthened adjudication of civil intellectual property cases, stood firm in providing equal protection, and encouraged scientific and technological innovation. They have also focused more on protecting business model innovation, and on breaking innovation-inhibiting industrial monopolies and market barriers. Judicial protection has played a leading role in safeguarding innovation outcomes, in maintaining the innovation environment, and in realising the value of innovation.

In 2015, the local people’s courts have accepted and concluded 109,386 and 101,324 civil intellectual property cases of first instance, and the respective year on year increase were 14.51% and 7.22%. Clearance rate was 82.66%. Among the accepted cases, 11,607 were patent cases, an increase of 20.3% from last year; 24,168 trademark cases, a 13.14% increase; 66,690 copyright cases, a 12.1% increase; 1,480 cases relating to technology contracts, a 38.19% increase; 2,181 unfair competition cases (including 156 monopoly cases), a 53.38% increase; and 3,093 cases involving other intellectual property disputes, a 22.45% increase. Among the concluded cases, 1,327 were civil intellectual property cases involving foreign parties, a 22.67% decrease from last year; another 387 cases involved Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan parties, a 9.15% decrease.

The local people’s courts accepted and concluded 15,114 and 15,025 civil intellectual property cases of second instance, higher than last year by 9.84% and 9.61% respectively; for reopened civil intellectual property cases, 115 were accepted and 114 concluded, and higher than last year by 43.75% and 21.28% respectively.

In 2015, the Supreme People’s Court accepted 381 civil intellectual property cases, 377 cases were concluded. Compared to last year, the respective increases were 13.39% and 11.2%. 8 second instance cases were newly accepted, 7 concluded; for reopened cases, 329 were accepted and 321concluded; 18 certiorari (tishen) cases were new cases and 23 were concluded (including carried over cases).

High profile civil intellectual property cases heard by the people’s courts include: Honda Motor Co., Ltd (defendant, appellant) v. Shijiazhuang Shuanghuan Automobile Co., Ltd (plaintiff, appellant), an appellate case against declaration of non-infringement and damages claim; Grohe AG (plaintiff, appellant) v. ZheJiang Jianlong Sanitary Ware Co., Ltd (defendant, appellee), a reopened case of design patent infringement; Guangzhou Star River Industrial Development Co., Ltd et al. (plaintiff, appellant) v. Jiangsu Weifu (Group) Construction Development Co., Ltd (defendant, appellee), a reopened case of trademark infringement and unfair competition dispute; Shanghai Pafuluo Stationery Co.,Ltd (plaintiff, appellant) v. Shanghai Art Imagine Stationery Co., Ltd et al. (defendant, appellee), an appellate case of trademark licence contract dispute; Chen Zhe (plaintiff, appellee) v. Yu Zheng et al.(defendant, appellant), an appellate case of copyright infringement; Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. v. Chengdu Qiyou Technology Co., Ltd et al., in-trial injunction in a copyright infringement and unfair competition dispute; Li Weiguo v. Shanxi Branch of China Telecom Corporation Limited et al., a case of monopoly pricing and bundling.



(2)    Strengthened administrative adjudication to facilitate “administering according to law (yifa xingzheng)”

The people’s courts have comprehensively advanced the grand-design of “governing according to law (yifa zhiguo)”, enforced the revised Administrative Litigation Law, and improved judicial review on the granting and validation of intellectual property rights. The courts have also reinforced oversight of administrative law enforcement, strictly regulated administrative law enforcement for intellectual property cases, and have supported, supervised and facilitated “administering according to law” in response to public concerns.

In 2015, the local people’s courts accepted 9,839 administrative intellectual property cases of first instance, which is more or less the same number as last year;  10,926 cases (including carried over cases) were concluded, an increase of 123.57%. Clearance rate was 70.5%. Among the accepted cases, 1,721 were patent cases, an increase of 219.29% from last year; 7,477 were trademark cases, a 19.65% decrease; 10 were copyright cases, a 16.67% decrease; and 631 were other administrative cases, a 917.74% increase.

4,928 cases involving foreign, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan parties were concluded, representing 45.1% of the administrative intellectual property cases concluded at first instance, same as the previous year. Of all the cases, 4,348 involved foreign parties, 295 involved Hong Kong parties, 8 involved Macau parties, and 277 involved Taiwan parties. Among the concluded administrative cases of first instance, administrative decisions were affirmed in 3,541 cases, and revoked in 1,664 cases.

The local people’s courts accepted 2,245 administrative intellectual property cases of second instance, lower than last year by 7.8%, and concluded 2,329 (including carried over cases), representing a 9.96% increase. Among the concluded cases, the judgements were affirmed in 1,896 cases and reversed in 356 cases, 3 cases were remanded for retrial (chongshen), 50 withdrawn and 16 dismissed.

In 2015, the Supreme People’s Court accepted and concluded 378 and 377 administrative intellectual property cases. Compared to last year, the respective increases were 161% and 150%. 367 cases were reopened, 361 concluded. Of the 361 concluded cases, reopening applications were rejected in 272 cases, accounting for 75.35%; 50 or 13.85% were certiorari cases; 10 or 2.77% were withdrawn after reconciliation; 10 or 2.77% were directed to be reopened, and 19 or 5.26% were concluded through other means. 

High profile administrative intellectual property cases that were heard by the people’s courts include: Warner-Lambert Company LLC (plaintiff, appellant) v. Patent Re-examination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office (defendant, appellee), Beijing Jialin Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd (third party) et al., a reopened administrative case of inventive patent invalidation; Guizhou Laishijia Wine Industry Co., Ltd (plaintiff, appellant) v. Trademark Review and Adjudication Board of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (defendant, appellee) and China kweichow Moutai Distillery (Group) Co.,Ltd (third party), a petition to reopen case involving trademark opposition review; Beijing Fuliansheng Shoes Co., Ltd (plaintiff, appellee) v. Trademark Review and Adjudication Board of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (defendant, appellant) and Beijing Neiliansheng Shoes Co., Ltd (third party, appellant), a petition to reopen case involving trademark opposition review; Xiong Kesheng (defendant, appellant) v. Jiang'an Branch of the Wuhan Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce of Wuhan, Wuhan Cailinji Business Co., Ltd (plaintiff, appellee), an appellate case against an industrial and commercial administrative penalty.


(3)    Strengthened criminal adjudication to punish crimes against intellectual property

The people’s courts have committed themselves to applying the General National Security Concept (zongti guojia anquanguan) by continuing to sharpen the judges’ sense of crisis and responsibility. They have also managed to follow the policy on criminal matters of balancing leniency and harsh penalty, and severely punished intellectual property crimes according to law, to protect the lawful rights of intellectual property owners, and to maintain the socioeconomic order for long-term stability.

In 2015, the local people’s courts accepted 10,975 intellectual property-related criminal cases of first instance, about the same as last year. Among the accepted cases, 4,913 involved intellectual property infringement (4,358 cases of registered trademark infringement, such as counterfeiting registered trademarks, and 504 copyright infringement), a 6.28% decrease from last year; 3,925 involved manufacturing and selling counterfeit or substandard goods, decreased by 1.03% from last year; 1,923 cases were illegal business operations, increased by 13.32%; and 214 other cases, increased by 16.94%.

The local peoples’ courts concluded 10,809 intellectual property-related criminal cases of first instance, which is more or less the same number as last year. Clearance rate was 89.29%. The number of persons under effective judgements totalled 12,741, 8.36% lower than last year. Of which, 12,580 were given criminal penalties, which is a 9.52% decrease from last year. Of the concluded cases, 4,856 cases involved intellectual property infringement, and the number of persons against whom judgements were effective was 6,402. Among the intellectual property infringement cases, 3,965 involved manufacturing and selling counterfeit or substandard goods, and judgements became effective against 4,127 persons; 1,844 cases were illegal business operations, and 2,095 persons were subject to effective judgements; in another 144 other cases, the number of persons against whom judgements became effective were 117.

Among the concluded cases involving intellectual property infringement , 2,133 involved counterfeiting registered trademarks, where effective judgements involved 3,089 persons; 1,789 involved selling goods bearing counterfeit registered trademarks, where the effective judgements involved 2,222 persons; 358 were cases of illegally manufacturing or selling illegally manufactured registered trademarks, where judgment was effective against 500 persons; 1 involved counterfeiting patent, but no person was under effective judgment; 523 copyright infringement, where the effective judgements involved 547 persons; 5 cases involved selling infringing reproductions, and effective judgements involved 9 persons; 47 were cases of trade secret infringement , and 5 persons were subject to effective judgements.

For intellectual property-related criminal cases of second instance, the local people’s courts accepted 790 and concluded 782, representing respective increases of 37.87% and 50.1% from last year.

High profile criminal intellectual property cases heard by the people’s courts include: Counterfeiting of registered trademarks by Zhang Sheng and Zou Li; sale of illegally manufactured registered trademarks and logos by Wang Weibao; counterfeiting of registered trademarks by Guo Mingsheng, Guo Mingfeng and Sun Shubiao; and copyright infringement by Weng Cunxing.

In 2015, the people’s courts have continued to work towards strengthening judiciary-led intellectual property protection. As such, judicial adjudication of intellectual property has continued to advance, and has entered a new landscape:


Increasing case numbers

The people’s courts accepted a total of 130,200 civil, administrative and criminal intellectual property cases of first instance, which represent an 11.73% increase from 2014. Civil cases increased most substantially, by 14.51%.

In terms of geographical distribution, caseloads have remained high in five provinces and cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong, where newly accepted civil intellectual property cases of first instance accounted for 70% of the country total. For civil intellectual property cases of first instance, Guangdong Province was the only location where the number has remained stable, the number of cases for the other four locations have increased dramatically compared to last year, and most notably in Jiangsu Province, where increase was 38.71%.

As integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei progresses, the growing trend in terms of the number of intellectual property disputes in Beijing has gradually spilled over the neighbouring areas. Tianjin, for instance, witnessed a surge in the volume of intellectual property disputes, and the number of first instance civil intellectual property cases accepted by three levels of courts increased by 50.41% compared to last year. As Anhui accelerated its development into an innovation-based province, the number of intellectual property cases also grew rapidly. Compared to last year, the number of first instance civil intellectual property cases accepted by the three levels of Anhui courts has increased by 101.26%. Shandong, Shanxi, Hunan and Heilongjiang provinces all saw an increase in newly accepted civil intellectual property cases of first instance by more than 30%.


Increasing difficulty in adjudication

As China develops its market economy and implements the innovation-driven development strategy, technical cases involving identification of complicated technical facts have been increasing perpetually, especially administrative patent cases involving state-of-the-art technology, patent infringement cases, and technology contract disputes involving joint development of new technologies or application of technological outcomes. Monopoly and unfair competition cases involving market order also exhibited a growing trend. These are situations that increased the difficulty in finding facts and hearing cases.

In 2015, the people’s courts accepted 1,721 administrative patent cases of first instance, an increase of 219.29% from last year; 13,087 first instance civil cases involving patent and technology contracts, a 22.1% increase; 2,181 civil unfair competition cases of first instance (including 156 monopoly cases), a 53.38% increase. Also on a rising trend are trademark disputes relating to brand equity protection and market share of well-known companies, and copyright disputes involving transmission of famous film and television works through the internet. Most notably, after the "Internet Plus" action plan was implemented, online intellectual property infringement disputes mushroomed, which present new challenges for intellectual property adjudication. Given the new circumstances and new tasks, the people’s courts have promptly responded to public concerns by redoubling efforts to hear major, complicated and difficult cases. They have also stepped up case guidance, focused on analysing and solving salient problems encountered in judicial practice, and unified decision standards, which contributed to improved legal certainty and predictability, and have achieved positive legal and social effects.


Steadily improved adjudication quality and efficiency

The local people’s courts have concluded a total of 123,059 intellectual property cases of first instance, an increase of 11.68% from last year; of which, concluded civil cases at first instance increased by 7.22%, and reopening rate was 0.11%. For concluded appellate cases, the rate of reversal of decisions and remanding for retrial was 5.06%, which is almost unchanged from last year’s figure, despite a notable increase in the number of concluded cases. Concluded first instance administrative cases increased by 123.57%, and reopening rate was 0.027%, the same as last year’s figures. The rate of appeal cases reversed and remanded for retrial was 15.41%, representing a 6.77% increase. Thus, although the number of concluded cases has increased dramatically, reopening rate remained almost unchanged. The rising rates of reversal of decisions and remanding for retrial demonstrate the effectiveness of appeal in correcting errors.

The people’s courts have always attached importance to pre-trial mediation and in-trial mediation for civil intellectual property disputes. The post-mediation discontinuance rate for first instance cases reached 63.12%, and 28.26% for second instance cases, and the figures represent achievement of positive social and legal effects. Having designed innovative mediation methods, the Hainan High People's Court saw discontinuance of action for 93.75% of civil intellectual property disputes after mediation. In Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Anhui Province, the rate of discontinuance after mediation for civil intellectual property cases of first instance also exceeded 70%. By shifting the mediation phase before hearing, the Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court of Anhui Province succeeded in settling the dispute relating to infringement of the Joyoung (“Jiu Yang”) trademark.

To improve the efficiency of court proceedings, the people’s courts have further improved the hearing process by practising the requirements for “meticulous hearing” (jingxihua shenpan), emphasising the hearing-based approach, and allowing the parties to play a dominant role based on the adversary doctrine. In doing so, they have given play to the role of court hearing. In 19,873 first instance civil cases, judgements were issued immediately after trial, which account for 19.61% of total first instance civil cases.


Better protection

To realise the market value of intellectual property, the people’s courts have adopted several methods to protect the lawful interests of rights holders. They have taken serious action against the manufacturing and sale counterfeit goods, “brand hijacking”, “free riding”, and trade secret infringement by increasing the quantum of damages, balancing statutory damages and discretionary damages and improving the logic and rationality in calculating damages. Other measures taken include greater imposition of punitive damages to deter repeat infringements by raising the cost of infringement. The people’s courts have by duly adopting provisional measures for intellectual property infringement cases. This has given play to the system’s effectiveness, in that it has resulted in improved timeliness, accessibility and effectiveness of judicial relief. Fines were also strictly enforced to deprive infringers of the ability to further infringe.

In a case where 16 people illegally obtained the data of Foxconn and Apple’s computer information systems, and profited from reinstalling the operating system of iPhone “parallel imports”, the Henan High People’s Court sentenced 9 of the 16 offenders to between 2 and 5 years imprisonment and a fine of RMB 4.41 million yuan to effectively deterred crime.

The people’s courts have also imposed more severe punishment on unethical behaviour in legal proceedings and protected the lawful rights of intellectual property owners. In the certiorari case of unfair competition dispute of Jiangsu Elephant East Asia Paint Co., Ltd v. Guangdong Huarun Paints Co., Ltd et al., the Supreme People’s Court imposed fines of RMB 1 million yuan and RMB 100,000 yuan on Jiangsu Elephant East Asia Paint Co., Ltd and its legal representative for falsifying key evidence to maintain procedural order and the authority of judicial protection.

Fujian Province worked at strengthening judicial protection for copyright in the porcelain industry. The Dehua County People’s Court was awarded the National Copyright Protection Demonstration Unit (Quanguo Banquan Baohu Shifan Danwei) and Best Practices in Copyright Protection by the World Intellectual Property Organisation. To facilitate innovation and development of its culture-related institution, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region has also increased protection for culture-related intellectual property.


II.      Deepening Judicial Reform and Improving the Adjudication System and Mechanisms

2015 is an important year for the People’s Courts in their drive for comprehensive reform of the judicial system. Such comprehensive reform is essential to carry on and improve our socialist judicial system created based on China’s specificities. It is also important for buttressing our efforts to achieve “people-based justice” and “fair justice”. By developing a fair, efficient and authoritative intellectual property adjudication system and by establishing intellectual property courts, the People’s Courts have persisted in strengthening and seeking innovative ways for institutional development to advance intellectual property adjudication. In this respect, the Vice Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court Tao Kaiyuan published in Qiu Shi, a political theory journal published by the CPC Central Committee, an article entitled “Maximising the Role of Judicial-Led Intellectual Property Protection[1]


(1)        Steady and effective progress in the work of intellectual property courts

Following the establishment of intellectual property courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, work in these courts has proceeded methodically. The system has seen some initial success and is off to a good start. As at 31 December 2015, the three courts have handled a total of 15,772 civil and administrative intellectual property cases. The First Division of the Beijing Intellectual Property Court was awarded the “2nd China Trademark Gold Awards—Trademark Protection Prize”, jointly awarded by the World Intellectual Property Organisation and China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce.


Developed rules and systems, and effectively implemented the reform measures

Since their establishment, intellectual property courts are charged with the responsibilities of a ground-breaker and path-finder. To fully implement the various reform measures, the three intellectual property courts have issued documents as “Implementation Plan for Carrying Out Reform of the Exercise of Adjudication Power”, “Interim Measures for Adjudication Panel Case Operations (Provisional)” and “Rules on Implementing the System of Itemising Powers” to reform and optimise allocation of judicial powers, and to put in place reform measures as the head judge accountability system (zhushen faguan fuzezhi) and adjudication panel accountability system (heyiting fuzezhi), the judicial accountability system, and the categorised management of judicial personnel. This is a new adjudication administration model that is judge-led, with categorised court personnel, clear definition of powers and responsibilities, and collaborative operations.

The Beijing Intellectual Property Court has been actively experimenting with the team-based adjudication model (comprising one judge, one assistant judge and one clerk). Adjudication efficiency has improved substantially as a result, and each adjudication team concluded 236 cases on average. Another instituted change was the functional shifts of the chief judge and division chiefs, in that the chief judge and division chiefs will adjudge cases regularly, and their adjudication management and supervision functions are clearly defined to keep supervision within the boundaries of authority and still hold persons accountable for dereliction of duty. The number of cases concluded by the Chief Judge of Beijing Intellectual Property Court represents 11% of total cases concluded by the court.

Also reformed is the adjudication committee’s operating mechanism, and explicitly set forth is the committee’s duty to establish a standard criteria for case decisions. Under the Beijing Intellectual Property Court’s Adjudication Committee is a “Professional Conference of Judges”. This is an advisory and screening body that operates before official case proceedings to ensure that the adjudication committee’s decisions are backed by scientific rigour and professional discipline. The Beijing Intellectual Property Court is also the first to allow the adjudication committee to hear significant, difficult and complex cases on questions of the law in an open court, and to publish its ratio decidendi under its written judgement’s legal reasoning.

The courts have also taken steps to reform the mode of hearing, optimise the hearing procedure, improve hearing efficiency, and have improved understanding with regard to hearing-based procedures and have given play to the adversary doctrine-based status of the parties. Other measures include diversion of simple and complicated cases into separate adjudication pathways, reforming legal reasoning in written judgements, simplifying written judgements for straightforward cases, and improving the reasoning for written judgements of complex cases.


Improved guidance, and promptly examined and resolved emerging issues

The Supreme People’s Court aimed to achieve steady and effective progress of the various aspects of work of the intellectual property courts, and to ensure that the decisions and orders of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on strengthening the judicial protection of intellectual property. For that, it attached great importance to the development, administration, adjudication and the various functions of the intellectual property court. Its working principles have been to start with solving problems, deepen reform by further discovering and solving problems, and press ahead. This enables it to study and resolve development problems and consolidate the development foundation.

The Supreme People’s Court also organised an intellectual property work seminar to better determine the circumstances, crystallise thoughts, establish consensus, and advance the progress of work. When addressing the seminar, Vice Chief Justice Tao Kaiyuan set a clear direction for the intellectual property courts’ work in next phase. He highlighted the need for intellectual property courts to play a demonstrative role in facilitating implementation of the innovation-driven development strategy and in deepening judicial reform, and that intellectual property courts should be the forerunners for establishing the courts as the primary channel for intellectual property protection.

To better develop the intellectual property courts, the Supreme People’s Courts submitted a research-based “Work Progress Report and Recommendations on Problems for Intellectual Property Courts” to the Central Leading Group for Reform, which gave the Report due attention and recognition. The Supreme People’s Court also went further to develop a Work Plan on Furthering the Development of Intellectual Property Courts to break down the various responsibilities into smaller responsibilities, specify the accountable entity, and ensure implementation.


Committed to exploring new possibilities, and played the front-running and demonstrative role

The intellectual property courts are determined to rely on reformative and innovative efforts to find solutions to developmental challenges, and are committed to exploring new ways to establish the judicial channel as the primary channel for protecting intellectual property.

The Beijing Intellectual Property Court actively explored the theoretical and practical issues of using guiding cases, and focused on training judges on analysing cases and observing precedence. This was an effective endeavour, and the Supreme People’s Court’s Research Base (Beijing) for Intellectual Property Guiding Cases was established in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court in 2015.

Committing itself to carrying out the CPC Central Committee orders for Shanghai Municipality, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court formulated the “Shanghai Intellectual Property Court’s Opinions on Providing Serve and Safeguards for Shanghai to Establish a Technology Innovation Centre with Global Impact”. As part of its commitment, the “Judge Chen Huizhen Work Studio” was established to provide intellectual property-related legal advice and services for the Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park to help drive the development of hi-tech and innovation-based industries.

The Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court capitalised on Guangdong Province’s geographical and market advantage to intensify its studies on intellectual property market value by facilitating the establishment of the Supreme People’s Court’s Research Base (Guangdong) for Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property and Market Value Analysis. In doing so, it hoped to provide scalable experience to fully realise the market values of innovation outcomes. To facilitate ease of litigation for both the parties to action and the courts, the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court has set up a litigation service office in Guzhen town of Zhongshan city for long-distance case-docketing, inquiry and consultation. It is also exploring the possibility of conducting long-distance hearing via video-conferencing to bring justice closer to the people, and truly give play to the spirit of people-based justice.

To respond to the general concern about the establishment intellectual property courts, and to create a new image for intellectual property adjudication in China, the Supreme People’s Court published a booklet entitled Intellectual Property Courts in China and organised a press conference to inform the public about the set-up and operation of intellectual property court. The Supreme People’s Court efforts were high commended by the society at large.


(2)        Breakthroughs in the pilot for “three-in-one” reform

The Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Party Congress has determined responsibilities for reform of the judicial system. The “Several Opinions on Deepening Institutional and Mechanism Reform to Accelerate Implementation of the Innovation-Driven Development Strategy” and the “Implementation Guidelines on Deepening Institutional Reform for Science and Technology” have also set forth specific requirements to “further the ‘three-in-one’ operation, which combine adjudication of civil, administrative and criminal cases”. To carry out comprehensive “three-in-one” adjudication reform, the Intellectual Property Division of the Supreme People’s Court organised a forum on “Three-in-One” Reform Pilot for Intellectual Property Adjudication for certain courts, during which the effects and experiences of the pilot were shared and reviewed, and the difficulties and problems confronting the courts currently were explored in depth. Based on the rigorous analyses and argumentation, a “Progress Report on the Pilot Study of the ‘Three-in-One’ Reform of Intellectual Property Adjudication” was completed, and the “Opinions on Implementing the ‘Three-in-One’ Adjudication of Intellectual Property-Related Civil, Administrative and Criminal Cases at the National Level [Discussion Draft]” was drafted. The ‘three-in-one’ pilot took on a new dimension.

As at November 2015, pilots for the “three-in-one” adjudication reform were carried out in 6 high courts, 95 intermediate courts, and 104 basic courts. Since April 2014, Sichuan Province has implemented province-wide “three-in-one” reform pilots, and cases where the first instance was accepted and action terminated increased by 3.46% on the average and the average adjudication time reduced by 11.5 days. “Three-in-one” adjudication allows manifestation of the advantages of optimised judicial resource allocation, standardised adjudication rules and improved adjudication quality.


(3)        Improved distribution of jurisdiction for intellectual property cases

For intellectual property cases, distribution of jurisdiction is an essential aspect involving rational allocation of adjudication resources, improving adjudication quality and efficiency, and serving the increasing need for judicial protection of intellectual property.

In 2015, the Supreme People’s Court further improved the new model for distributing jurisdiction of intellectual property cases: concentrated jurisdiction for patent and technology-related civil cases; flexible and need-based jurisdiction for special categories of civil cases involving well-known marks, monopoly etc.; and rational distribution of intellectual property cases of a general nature.

The Supreme Court is also actively looking into trans-regional jurisdiction for first instance intellectual property cases, and concentrating jurisdiction in certain basic courts for Beijing and Guangdong Province.

Jurisdiction distribution is better aligned for free trade zones. In Fujian Province, the Mawei District People’s Court and Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone People’s Court of Fuzhou city, and the Huli District People’s Court of Xiamen city will have jurisdiction for civil intellectual property cases of first instance occurring within their jurisdiction and the pilot free trade areas and zones under their jurisdiction. In Tianjin, the Binhai New Area People’s Court will have jurisdiction for civil intellectual property cases of first instance occurring within the Binhai New Area’s administrative region. These arrangements are intended to provide economic development impetus for the pilot free trade zones.

Tianjin’s Binhai New Area People’s Court catered to the practical needs for judicial protection within its jurisdiction by setting up an intellectual property circuit court in the Tianjin Eco-City, which effectively responded to Tianjin’s industrial landscape and which facilitates the development of an intellectual property trading platform in the Eco-City.

By considering the economic development, case volume and changes in adjudication capacity of different regions, the Supreme People’s Court promptly adjusted the jurisdiction distribution for patent cases appropriately, and designated Anhui Province’s Wuhu City Intermediate People’s Court with jurisdiction for some first instance civil patent cases occurring in Anhui Province.


(4)        Refined the technical fact-finding mechanism

The people’s courts actively sought effective approaches to professional and technical fact-finding for intellectual property cases. Technical fact-finding systems such as forensic examination (sifa jianding), expert assessor (zhuanjia fuzhuren), expert consultation (zhuanjia zixun) and technical investigation officers (jishu diaochaguan) were established and improved to achieve greater accuracy in technical fact-finding. Eli Lilly v. Changzhou Huasheng Pharmaceutical Co. was the first case to used technical investigation officers for technical fact-finding. The case was demonstrative.

The intellectual property courts leveraged their advantage in centralised adjudication of technical cases and the technical investigation officer system was launched in full force. Intellectual property courts are required to appoint and deploy technical investigation officers as set forth under the “Provisional Regulations on Several Issues Concerning Technical Investigation Officers of Intellectual Property Courts Participating in Litigation Activities” issued by the Supreme People’s Court, so that technical investigation officers could play a special role in technical fact-finding. The courts have launched a series of initiatives pertaining to the technical fact-finding mechanism:

To provide institutional guarantees for technical fact-finding, the Shanghai Intermediate People’s Court organised a seminar on technical investigation officers in intellectual property courts; the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court published rules and guidelines on administering technical investigation officers.

To enhance credibility, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court sought to include in written judgements opinions on technical matters provided by professional organisation. It was also looking into ways to effectively align the technical investigation officer system and expert consultation system to create a sound mechanism for technical fact-finding.

Other localities also contributed in many ways: The Hubei High People’s Court explored the setting up of an expert consultant database for intellectual property adjudication, and went on to develop an operations framework for regulating the database’s operations and administration. The High People’s Court of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region extended the contracts of 25 science and technical expert consultants for intellectual property adjudication, so as to tap on their technical resources to resolve professional and technical issues in intellectual property cases. The Qinghai High People’s Court engaged technical experts as people’s assessors (renmin peishenyuan) who participated in the adjudication procedure and helped resolve difficulties when examining technical facts. The Chongqing High People’s Court issued regulations pertaining to the technical expert consultant, so as to allow technical expert consultants and expert assessors to play a more active role in litigation. The Sichuan High People’s Court improved upon its technical expert consultation system and issued administration guidelines to regulate and leverage the technical expert’s role in technical consultation and investigation. In 2015, technical experts participated in or assisted in adjudicating 36 intellectual property-related cases.


(5)        Pressed ahead with multi-channel dispute resolution mechanism

Comprehensive deepening of the multi-channel dispute resolution mechanism is an important dimension in realising modernisation of the country’s governance system and capacity. It is also necessary for advancing social equality and justice and for maintaining social harmony and stability. The people’s courts have consistently attached importance to developing a multi-channel dispute resolution mechanism within the framework of judicial protection of intellectual property, and focused on giving play to the role of the mechanism. Thus, in support of such priority, they have strengthened coordination and cooperation between the intellectual property administrative authorities, the people’s mediation organisations, arbitration organisations, industry associations and professional mediation organisations. The courts have also developed creative methods of dispute resolution by mobilising and leveraging the capacities of various groups in the society, and in doing so, create a multi-dimensional platform for protecting intellectual property to forge a united vehicle for protection.

The Beijing Intellectual Property Court established a volunteer group for litigation service and adjudication studies. The group comprises more than 250 students from 15 tertiary education institutions. To better align the litigation and mediation processes, ensure personnel availability and improve transparency in dispute resolution, the Zhejiang High People’s Court collaborated with various entities, such as the Zhejiang Intellectual Property Bureau and the Internet Society of China to develop a pilot for a third-party independent public platform for professional mediation of intellectual property disputes. As the first of its kind in the country, the authorities aim to create a professional and independent public interest platform. As of today, more than 200 intellectual property disputes have been resolved. The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region’s High People’s Court invited industry associations to participate in mediating intellectual property disputes to strengthen alignment of the non-litigation mediation with judicial mediation, so as to resolve disputes at their source. In Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the local Intellectual Property Bureau and the High People’s Court jointly developed the “Implementation Guidelines on the Mechanism for Aligning Judicial Adjudication and Administrative Mediation”, and the “Memorandum of Cooperation on the Mechanism to Align Litigation and Mediation”. This essentially gives shape to a new model for resolving intellectual property disputes, whereby a judiciary-led process of “appointment-mediation, mediation-litigation alignment, and judicial adjudication” is formed.


III.    Reinforced supervision and guidance, and ensured judicial fairness and efficiency 

Reinforcing adjudication supervision and professional guidance is essential for ensuring fairness in judicial adjudication in intellectual property cases, maintaining the authority of the judiciary, and elevating the uniform application of law. It is also important for improving the quality and efficiency of adjudication. In 2015, the people’s courts continued to improve upon their work in developing judicial interpretations and formulating judicial policies to buttress the adjudication supervision and administration processes and to beef up adjudication guidance. This has enabled continued improvement in the intellectual property adjudication.


(1)        Strengthened adjudication administration and adjudication oversight

The people’s courts espoused and adhered to the new administrative approach of managing to ensure fairness; and fairness to promote credibility. Thus, it also involved better regulated judicial conduct for intellectual property cases, and structuring work to fit the specificities of intellectual property adjudication.


Institutionalised administration

The adjudication administration system was revamped and improved at every level, from the chief judge and division chiefs to auxiliary judicial staff (sifa fuzhu renyuan), and at every step of the entire process, from case-docketing to adjudication, to deliver greater effectiveness in adjudication administration. The functions of case information management, case quality evaluation, judicial process management, adjudicative operations progress analysis, and adjudication performance evaluation system are leveraged and a standardised and coordinated management system is established to ensure fair and efficient justice. The following are some achievements:

Ensuring implementation of the system was a focus of the Shandong Province High People’s Court. Case operations progress analysis and performance evaluation for intellectual property adjudication in 2015 were conducted for all courts in the province to enable prompt understanding of the state of adjudication work and make improvements. The Heilongjiang High People’s Court initiated a review of case quality and efficiency to better reform and improve implementation, as well as to strengthen supervision and administration. The Guizhou High People’s Court has set up an oversight and follow-up mechanism for cases that have taken an inordinately long period to adjudicate, so that conclusion of cases is evenly spaced out throughout the year.


Information-based management

Information technology boosts innovation and strengthens adjudication management. The courts have adopted information-based management to carry out scientific, detailed, as well as simple and easy to implement management processes. Information-based management is relied upon to effectively supervise the exercise of judicial powers, and it amply and effectively underpins intellectual property adjudication. The Chongqing, Gansu and Qinghai high people’s courts also leveraged information technology to tighten monitoring of the judicial process and specific points in the process for more meticulous and rigorous adjudication management.


Accountability-based management

Implementation of the adjudication accountability system (shenpan zeren zhi) was effected by working toward a more robust mechanism for exercising adjudicative powers, which was centred on adjudicative powers and checked by adjudicative supervision and adjudicative administration powers.

The Supreme People’s Court observed a strict case-discussion regime, detailed the working rules of the Joint Conference of Presiding Judges, ensured strict implementation of the case accountability system, and maintained a strict standard on case quality.

The Jiangsu Province High People’s Court advanced its reform of the adjudication-team based mechanism for exercising adjudicative powers, and adjudication quality and efficiency saw evident improvement. The Liaoning Province High People’s Court launched a pilot to regularise the adjudication panel system, implemented the adjudication panel accountability system to improve effectiveness, and to ensure that the adjudication accountability system, where the adjudicator adjudges and the decision-maker is accountable, is put into effect. The Hebei High People’s Court advanced its reform of the division-chief case operations system. The result: for the entire year, the number of cases whereby a division chief and deputy division chief were involved in adjudicating account for 60% of the total number of cases concluded for the entire division.


(2)        Strengthened issuance of judicial interpretations and formulation of judicial policies

The Supreme People’s Court has published its “Decision on Amending the ‘Supreme People’s Court’s Opinions on Issues on the Application of Law When Adjudicating Cases Involving Patent Disputes’”, and has redefined the legal status of the patent right assessment report as well as major issues as specifying the choice of method of calculating patent infringement damages.

The Supreme People’s Court’s other achievements include: issued the “Official Reply on Whether Patent Agents Can Continue to Represent Administrative Litigation Cases after Implementation of the Newly Amended ‘Administrative Litigation Law of the People’s Republic of China’”, which clarified the litigation status of patent agents after the new Administrative Litigation Law is implemented; completed drafting of the “Supreme People’s Court’s Interpretation of Issues Concerning the Application of Law When Adjudicating Cases Involving Patent Disputes (II)”, which was approved by the Adjudication Committee; completed the discussion draft of the “Supreme People’s Court’s Interpretation of Issues on the Application of Law for Conduct Preservation in Intellectual Property and Competition Disputes” and the “Supreme People’s Court’s Regulations for Issues on the Adjudication of Administrative Cases Involving the Granting and Recognition of Trademark Rights (draft for comments)”, which effectively unified the application of intellectual property law.

(3)        Strengthened adjudication guidance and adjudication survey researches


Strengthened Case guidance

The Supreme People’s Court’s Research Base (Beijing) for Intellectual Property Guiding Cases, the first of its kind in the country, aims to collect, compile and redact guiding cases which are disseminated to influence judicial practice. The Beijing research base is designated to develop into a national integrated service centre for intellectual property guiding cases.

In terms of publication, the Supreme People’s Court has compiled and published the Adjudication Manual for Intellectual Property Disputes, China Intellectual Property Guiding Cases on (Annotated)[2], and also publishes regular updates on intellectual property adjudication. Its guidance is problem-based, and has been stepped for the lower courts. It also promptly reviewed decisions and experiences, unified decision standards, and regulated the use of discretion.

Another guiding case published by the Supreme People’s Court was the utility patent claim in Bai Wanqing v. Chengdu Hard-to-Find Goods Marketing & Service Centre et al., in which the Supreme People’s Court clarified the finding of patent infringement in cases where delimitations on the scope of patent protection are obviously vague.


Strengthened research in intellectual property protection

The Supreme People’s Court’s Research Centre for Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property Rights was set up with the aim to harness the different research abilities and bolster integration of theory and practice as a way to improve judicial protection of intellectual property.

The Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court set up the Supreme People’s Court’s Research Base (Guangdong) for Intellectual Property Judicial Protection and Market Value Analysis, so as to study and address the manifest problems of high cost of protecting intellectual property, low damages awarded, and the disproportionate monetary compensation vis-à-vis the cost of protecting intellectual property rights and the market value of intellectual property. It also organised a seminar on “Increasing Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property, and Leveraging the Judiciary as the Primary Channel for Protecting Intellectual Property Rights” to identify the levers that give play to such primary role.


Strengthened recommendations for legislation amendments

To prepare for the fourth amendment of the Patent Law, the Supreme People’s Court has put together a research team to systematically review judicial practice experiences over the past 30 years since implementation of the Patent Law. The team is also tasked to explore in depth the difficulties and problems encountered during adjudication of patent cases, and propose specific amendment recommendations to the responsible authority. For the amendments to the Seed Law of the People’s Republic of China, the Supreme People’s Court proposed opinions and recommendations pertaining to major legal issues relating to the seed production licensing system and essentially derived varieties, and all of which were eventually accepted in the amendment.


Strengthened survey research on specific themes relating to intellectual property adjudication

In Shanghai, the Pudong New Area People’s Court established under the Intellectual Property Division of the Supreme People’s Court, the Contact Point for Survey Research of Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property in Free Trade Areas. It also organised a seminar on judicial protection of intellectual property in free trade zones, during which issues relating to improving the judicial protection mechanism for intellectual property in free trade areas, and intellectual property protection of exports of products from free trade areas and parallel import trade.

The Tianjin High People’s Court organised survey research activities focusing on the theme of serving the development of Tianjin Free Trade Area through judicial protection of intellectual property to help drive the development the free trade area.

In Chongqing, the Specialised Committee on Intellectual Property of the China Adjudication Theory Research Association organised its annual conference based on the theme of key issues in intellectual property protection in the “Internet Plus” age, during which participants had in-depth discussions.

The Jiangsu Province High People’s Court stepped up its study of pressing problems in intellectual property adjudication, and completed thematic research on maintaining the market competition order under the economic “new normal”, geographical indications, and intellectual property protection through criminal justice.

The Zhejiang Province High People’s Court carried out research on the liability of market operators for infringement of intellectual property rights, and the Shandong High People’s Court selected key personnel from across the province to form the first professional adjudication research team that conducts thematic researches on the difficult issues in adjudication. In its commitment to protecting brand development, the Guizhou High People’s Court organised a survey on the topic “Qiancha Intellectual Property Protection Issues”. An in-depth research was conducted by the Chongqing Municipality High People’s Court, whereby the research focus was on conflict of intellectual property rights, and translated its research outcome into practice.

IV.     Greater judicial transparency and optimising the environment for judicial protection

The people’s courts took important steps in ensuring greater judicial transparency, in increasing judicial publicity and in presenting a positive image of the judiciary. These efforts are enablers of people-based justice and fair justice, and building blocks for a favourable judicial environment.

In 2015, the people’s courts continued to increase the degree and transparency of judicial protection of intellectual property by using adjudication as means, publicity as anchor, and information system development as backbone. For the people’s courts, this was their way of responding to the local and international societies’ concerns about intellectual property protection in China, and their way of propagating the good work, in order to create so positive social ethos of respecting and protecting intellectual property.     


(1)        Increased transparency of court hearing to promote justice

Greater transparency for court hearing

The Supreme People’s Court has increasingly opened its court doors when adjudicating cases of great social concern and which are typical cases involving the application of law, to increase adjudication impact.

To adjudicate the dispute between well-known marks “Wong Lo Kat (Wang Lao Ji)” v. “Jia Duo Bao” on the distinctive packaging and trade dress, the Supreme People’s Court formed, according to law , a five-member adjudication panel, where Chief Judge of the Intellectual Property Division Song Xiaoming was the presiding judge. The hearing was conducted in an open court and the proceedings were televised live. For Eli Lilly v. Changzhou Huasheng Pharmaceutical Co., an inventive patent infringement appellate case, hearing was also held in an open court according to law, and foreign envoys in China, university students, experts and academics were invited to observe the session. The court was also opened to local and foreign media throughout the entire proceedings, and the China Court website ( and the Supreme People’s Court’s Weibo telecasted the proceedings live. This was very well-commended at home and abroad. 

The Hebei High People’s Court has adhered to the requirement to telecast court hearings live. Except for cases involving trade secrets or where disclosure is inappropriate, all court proceedings are broadcasted live. Live broadcasts of court proceedings account for 97% of the cases. For the high people’s courts Shanxi and Guangdong, adjudication of major cases are webcasted live through the Internet and Weibo, and People’s Congress deputies, members of the Political Consultative Conference and other members of the society were invited to observe the court in session.


Greater transparency for written judgements and decisions

The “Chinese IPR Judgements and Decisions” website ( was full leveraged, such that all judgements and decisions that can be published are promptly uploaded to the website. This has enabled judgements and decisions to be published more widely and efficiently. As at the end of 2015, the number of judgements and decisions for all levels of courts that became effective totalled 154,532. To regularise and systemise publication of judgements and decisions, the Guangdong High People’s Court has instituted a mechanism, so that intellectual property judgements and decisions issued in the local courts are published online. Guangdong ranks first, in terms of the number of judges and decisions that have been published on the court website


Greater transparency for the judicial process

The courts have made full use of the “China Judicial Process Information Online” ( as a vehicle to promote transparency of the judicial process and to promptly push through information relating to the hearing progress of intellectual property cases. Another measure was to introduce online case operations, so that digital footprints are retained throughout the entire process, and with real-time supervision. This ensures protection of the parties’ rights to know and to supervise, and improves the quality and efficiency of adjudication. 

The Hebei High People’s Court has been working diligently to improve the comprehensiveness of information relating to the judicial process. For intellectual property cases, it has now achieved a transparency level of 100%


(2)        Increased publicity on the rule of law notion to build greater judicial credence

The people’s courts took advantage of the mobile phone, television, WeChat and Weibo (microblog) platforms of China courts to increase publicity for intellectual property rule of law. These are means that help shape a better legal environment where the society respects property rights and protect rights according to law.

As it has always done, the Supreme People’s Court carefully planned and organised the publicity week in celebration of World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April. A series of activities were organised, including media interviews and news briefings; launching publications as Intellectual Property Protection in China (2014) (Chinese and English versions), Top Ten Chinese Intellectual Property Cases of 2014, China Top 10 Innovative Intellectual Property Cases (2014), Fifty Typical Cases on Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property; releasing the China Intellectual Property Cases Annual Report (2014); published the Yearbook on Intellectual Property Judicial Protection in China (2014); and compiled and printed a publicity booklet on intellectual property courts. Diplomatic envoys in China and members of the National Intellectual Property Strategy Inter-ministerial Joint-Conference were invited to observe court hearings for intellectual property cases involving foreign elements, and the “Chongqing Goes for Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property” activity was also organised during the week. Together, the above activities formed a multi-dimensional publicity programme and publicity model, which improved the effectiveness of the public efforts and broadened the impact of intellectual property adjudication.

The various levels of local courts have also been actively expanding the publicity channels and working creatively in their out-reach programmes to achieve effective outcomes.

The Beijing High People’s Court relied upon the Internet and new media, such as its official Weibo “Jing Fa Wang Shi” to publicise the adjudication progress of intellectual property cases and to showcase the intellectual property adjudication results of all the courts in the city. The Shanghai High People’s Court organised a “26 April” press conference on judicial protection of intellectual property. Representatives from the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and other foreign non-corporate economic organisations were invited to attend the press conference, which drew attention to the effective results of the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court in protecting intellectual property rights.

The Zhejiang High People’s Court launched its “Zhejiang Court News Website · ‘Convergence of knowledge’ (Zhi Zhi Hui)” to tell and spread Zhejiang’s story on judicial protection of intellectual property. By the pushing articles in Vol. 68 through its “Intellectual Property Horizon (Zhi Chan Shi Ye)” column to its Sina Weibo and WeChat public account, the Jiangsu High People’s Court succeeded in showcasing the typical cases adjudicated by and theoretical research outcomes of the Jiangsu Province courts.

The Sichuan High People’s Court launched the “Judicial Wisdom Drives Innovation (Sifa Zhihui Zhuli Chuangxin)” WeChat platform to strengthen litigation guidance through various sections, such as “Guide-along with Cases (Sui An Zhidao)” and “Intellectual Property News Update (Zhichan Dongtai)” to enhance the ability of the people to use, protect and manage intellectual property. The Shanxi High People’s Court enriched the activity content of the Intellectual Property Week by organising business outreach activities to disseminate knowledge about the importance of judicial protection of intellectual property. The intellectual property publicity campaign for courts in Hunan Province and Inner Mongolia included visits to schools, communities and companies to provide information about start-ups and crowd innovation.

The Intermediate People's Court of the 8th Division of the Production and Construction Corps Branch under the High People's Court of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region took aggressive steps to educate the grassroots about the law by intensifying education of intellectual property justice for agricultural areas. The High People's Court of Tibet Autonomous Region developed a publicity handbook on intellectual property law and distributed it to the local people to raise their awareness of intellectual property rights. For ten successive years, the Xi’an Intermediate People’s Court of Shanxi Province has been organising the “26 April” press conferences to inform the public about the state of affairs of judicial protection of intellectual property, and the results have been encouraging.


(3)        Increased judicial exchanges to improve the judiciary’s image

A long-term mechanism to promote international exchanges and cooperation has been established. With more exchange channels and exchange outcomes scaled up, the courts succeeded in raising China’s profile in the international intellectual property landscape, as China became a more active, vocal and dynamic participant.

Using the “”China International Exchanges Base (Shanghai) for Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property” as platform, the Supreme People’s Court further strengthened its international and regional exchanges in respect of judicial protection of intellectual property. Some of its activities include: supporting the convening of the “International Forum on Intellectual Property Right and Trade”; providing expertise support for China’s foreign negotiations by deploying personnel to participate in the EU-China IP Dialogue, working group meetings, negotiations of the intellectual property chapter for free trade areas, as well as work meetings of various nature with foreign parties, such as working group meetings with Switzerland, the United States, Australia and Russia, and the efforts were well-recognised; received visiting delegates from the Supreme Court of France, International Trademark Association and American Intellectual Property Law Association, and shared our judicial protection outcomes.

The Shanghai High People’s Court and the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court each received government officials, trade associations and business delegations from more than twenty countries, including the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and Egypt. The exchanges have yielded positive results. It has also increased exchanges with the administrative and law enforcement authorities, research institutes and academic organisations.

The Supreme People’s Court has forged closer exchange ties with administrative authorities for intellectual property, such as the State Intellectual Property Office, the Trademark Office of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce. By convening seminars and inviting the relevant people to lecture, it enabled sharing of information, and together, the various parties facilitated judicial protection of intellectual property.

In other localities, the Jiangsu High People’s Court and the Jiangsu Provincial Administration for Industry and Commerce jointly held a provincial seminar on difficult trademark cases and shared law enforcement experience. Similarly, the Chongqing High People’s Court and Southwest University of Political Science and Law jointly held the “China Grand Forum of Intellectual Property Judges” to foster closer exchanges between the theoreticians and practitioners and to show a good image of judges and the judiciary. The various levels of courts in Liaoning Province were also diligent in organising more frequent exchanges with the government authorities and trade associations to understand the government’s industrial development policies and the businesses’ legal needs. Their work has been instrumental in helping Liaoning Province rejuvenate its old industrial bases.  


V.       Practising stringent management and fortifying the adjudication team 

The key to strengthening judicial protection in intellectual property adjudication and to making the judiciary the primary channel for intellectual property protection lies in the people and in management.

The people’s courts were worked hard at carrying out General Secretary Xi Jinping’s instructions and principles on development of the political and legal team, and dedicated themselves to building a regularised (zhengguihua), specialised (zhuanyehua) and professionalised (zhiyehua) intellectual property judicial team. The courts also closely observed the Party tenets of “the Party must manage the Party (dang yao guan dang)” and “governing the party strictly (cong yan zhi dang)”, and strengthened management of the judicial team. This has effectively augmented judicial capabilities and standards and laid a strong foundation for advancing intellectual property adjudication endeavours. 


(1)        Vigorously fostering ideological and political cultivation

 Ideological and political cultivation is the foundation of team development. To serve the goals of building a team of intellectual property adjudicators that are loyal, clean and responsible, the people’s courts have redoubled their efforts to combine ideological and political inculcation with judicial capacity development. Study sessions were organised for judges to learn General Secretary Xi Jinping’s series of important addresses and values, and special education sessions on the “Principle of Three Strictness and Three Earnestness (Sanyan Sanshi)[3]” conducted to address in depth the problems of “non-strict” and “non-earnest” adjudication. The learning sessions aimed to help judges foster a political sense, a broad perspective and a sense of responsibility, cultivate the rule of law belief, and commit to pursuing the path of China-specific socialist rule of law. The courts also worked hard to carry forward the socialist core values by convening learning activities to study the values of the late Justice Zou Bihua, and to forge among judges the attitude of “be a judge, be like Zou Bihua”. The adjudication team will strive to pursue “justice for the people” and to be good judges and officials who care to take responsibility.


(2)        Vigorously developing professional capabilities in adjudication

Developing professional capabilities in adjudication is the focus of team development. The people’s courts have taken active steps to adapt to the intellectual property landscape, where technologies are always advancing, systems renewed and ever-changing and judicial practice developing rapidly, such that judges are perpetually facing new demands. The courts have continued to train judges in professional skills and in scientific and technological knowledge, and have persisted in raising the judicial capabilities and standards of judges. Some of the activities are:

The Supreme People’s Court organised its professional skills training at the National Judges’ College for more than 200 intellectual property judges. The high people’s courts of Shanghai, Shandong, Inner Mongolia, Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi held intellectual property adjudication skills training for all the courts within their province or municipality, during which trainees learnt about the latest laws, fields and technologies. The Shanghai High People’s Court even sent some of its judges for study visits at United States and Germany.

The Heilongjiang High People’s Court organised a judges’ forum with the theme “Emergence and Restriction of Commercial Mark Rights” and has since held six forums. The Zhejiang High People’s Court has stepped up training for key judges, new personnel and people’s assessors. To be more trainee-focused, training was separately conducted and according to different levels. The Guizhou High People’s Court paid attention to developing the adjudication and research skills of young judges, thus created for young officers an environment conducive for researching adjudication theory. The Liaoning High People’s Court published a special journal on intellectual property adjudication and used it as a platform for judges in Liaoning Province to share experiences; in doing so, it hoped to elevate the ability of judges to analyse emerging situations and resolve emerging issues.


(3)        Vigorously advancing judicial integrity

Judicial integrity is the guarantee in team development. The people’s courts have been persistent and conscientious in performing the arduous task of advancing judicial integrity as part of their team development efforts. They have conducted centralised education for their entire adjudication team on the Party’s political discipline and political rules, and have taken determined steps and deliver real results in managing the adjudication team. Judicial injustice or judicial deceit is also eradicated to prevent any minor mistake from developing into a major misfortune.

The people’s courts have committed to improving the institutions and mechanisms by implementing the system of holding leaders accountable for developing an honest Party ethos and clean governance, by preventing and controlling risks in clean government, and by focusing on building capacity to resist corruption and avoid moral decline, so as to keep power reined within a cage of regulations. Further, the people’s courts have also practised the spirit of the party Central Committee’s “eight rules”, and imposed serious sanctions on behaviour that violate the Party disciplinary rules and the law. Judicial corruption is decidedly treated with zero tolerance to ensure judicial integrity, and so that the people will truly feel the “positive energy” that justice brings.



2016 is the first year in the deciding lap of our journey towards being a moderately prosperous or Xiaokang society; the year of challenging economic restructuring; and the year to deepen our judicial reform and surmount difficulties.

Under the determined leadership of the Party Central Committee helmed by General Secretary Xi Jinping, the people’s courts will seize the historical opportunity to focus on the strategic blueprint of the “four comprehensives[4]” and foster the five major development concepts of “innovation, coordination, greenness, openness, sharing”. The people’s courts will persevere in reform and innovation, bring the National Intellectual Property Strategy to deep implementation, and fully leverage judicial protection as the primary channel for intellectual property protection. The people’s courts will ensure greater judicial protection for intellectual property, and actively adapt themselves to new changes in the international landscape and the “new normal” of economic growth. And finally, the people’s courts will create an environment conducive for the innovation-driven development strategy to take off, and provide robust and reliable judicial protection for a rule-of-law-based China based to take root, and the China Dream of the grand renaissance of the Chinese nation to take flight.



[1]Chong Fen Fa Hui Si Fa Bao Hu Zhi Shi Chan Quan de Zhu Dao Zuo Yong”.

[2] Zhi Shi Chan Quan Shen Pan Zhi Da and Zhong Guo Zhi Shi Chan Quan Zhi Dao An Li Pi Zhu

[3] Strictness in cultivating one’s moral character, strictness in disciplining oneself, strictness in using power; Earnestness in working, earnestness in entrepreneurship, and earnestness in conducting oneself  

[4] Comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society; comprehensively deepening reform; comprehensively governing the nation according to law; comprehensively and strictly governing the Party

Responsible editor:IPC