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How Many IP Cases Did the Supreme People’s Court Hear in 2020?

Voice: Lucy GE
Project Administrator

Welcome to Linda Liu & Partners on air! I'm Lucy GE. Today I'd like to share with you about how many IP cases the Supreme People’s Court heard in 2020.
According to the 2020 Annual Report on Intellectual Property recently issued by the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court accepted 5,360 cases relating to intellectual property rights in 2020, including 2,830 patent cases, 1,490 trademark cases, 111 copyright cases, 31 anti-trust cases, 66 unfair competition cases, 51 new plant variety cases, 205 IP contract cases, 7 integrated circuit layout-design cases, 457 computer software cases, 75 trade secrets cases and 67 other cases.

In 2020, the Supreme Court concluded 5,006 cases relating to intellectual property rights, of which 2,785 are second instance cases, 305 are arraigned cases, and 1,882 are the cases applying for retrial. Among the concluded 1,882 cases applying for retrial, 1,361 cases are rejected, 372 cases are ruled to be arraigned, 92 cases are ruled to be re-trialed, 56 cases are ruled to withdraw and 1 case is ruled to be closed. Among the concluded 2,785 cases of second instance, 1,676 are the cases in which the first instance judgment are upheld, 700 cases are conciliated and withdrawn, 405 cases are remanded for a new trial, and 4 cases are handled by other means.

The general features of the IP cases heard by the Supreme Court in 2020 are:
The number of newly accepted cases increased rapidly, an increase of 40.2% year-on-year. Wherein, patent cases and trademark cases increased by 46.6% and 54.4% respectively year-on-year. The cases relating to patent and trademark still took the largest proportion in the handled cases, accounting for 52.5% and 27.6% respectively.
The “Anti-suit injunction” in patent civil cases has become the hot and difficult issue, the interpretation criteria of claims has been further specified, the calculation of damages has been defined, and strong protection has achieved positive effects. In patent administrative cases, the judgment on inventiveness and novelty has become the main focus. The criteria for judging whether the claim is supported by the specification and whether the specification is fully disclosed have been further refined. The breadth and depth of judicial review on the substantive conditions for the patent granting also have been further strengthened.
In the trademark civil cases, the studies on basic legal issues including the acquisition of trademark right and the enforcement of forbidden right is continued to deepen, and the law applications on new types of cases including the determination of the infringement of trademarks with mixed attributes and the standards of proof for the cases where both criminal law and civil law are involved have been explored actively. In trademark administrative cases the applicable standards for legal issues including the possibility of registration of the trademarks containing place name, the application of the principle of change of circumstances, the judgment of right conflicts, and the recognition of "other illegitimate means" have been further clarified.
In the copyright cases, the copyright protection of computer software and the judgment on the similarity of classic works of sinology are the difficulties. And the cases relating to unfair competition mainly involve the determination of unfair competitions, such as registering the trademarks owned by others as their trade name.
That’s all for today’s topic, and hope you find this information helpful. Stay safe and healthy. See you next time!
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