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2021 Annual Work Report of the IP Tribunal of Supreme People's Court (Selected)

Caseload keeps growing
 
1. Basic statistics

In 2021, the IP Tribunal accepted 5,238 (including 4,335 newly accepted cases) intellectual property (hereinafter referred to as “IP”) and monopoly cases involving technology. The number of concluded cases was 3,460, accounting for 79.8%. Comparing with the total caseload of Supreme People's Court (hereinafter referred to as “SPC”), the proportion of the number of cases accepted by IP Tribunal was 17.8% (civil cases of second instance accounted for 68%, and administrative cases of second instance accounted for 100%), the newly accepted cases was 16.4%, and the concluded cases was 13.5%, claiming the first position among the tribunals of SPC in the new and concluded.
Compared with the same period in 2020, the number of the newly accepted cases increased by 1,158, 36.4% up, and the number of concluded cases climbed by 673, 24.1% rise. (Note: Due to system data capture, the IP Tribunal actually accepted 1,946 and 3,177 new cases in 2019 and 2020, respectively; and the actual number of the cases in stock in 2019 was 513, one more than that published in the annual report of that year. The statistics is hereby corrected.)
 
2. The number of concluded case per judge and case trial period

In 2021, judges concluded 83.5 cases per capita, a year-on-year increase of 1.2%. The average trial period for the closure of various types of cases was 134 natural days, 129.4 natural days for the substantial civil cases of second instance, and 143.6 natural days for administrative cases of second instance. The average trial period has grown in comparison to the previous year, owing to an increase in the caseload and the shortage of staff, as well as the increase in the challenging and complex cases.
 
3. Breakdown of Statistics

Among the newly received 2,569 substantial civil cases of second instance, 576 cases were the disputes over invention patent infringement, 806 disputes over utility model patent,  213 disputes over patent application right and patent right ownership , and 68 disputes over new plant variety rights, 2 disputes over integrated circuit layout design, 79 disputes over technical know-how, 593 disputes over computer software, 153 disputes over technology IP contract disputes, 25 disputes over monopoly, and 54 other types of disputes. Caseload increased significantly in invention patent infringement, computer software disputes, patent application rights and patent ownership disputes, technical know-how disputes, and new plant variety disputes, while the jurisdiction opposition cases declined.
 
Among the 1,290 newly received substantial administrative cases of second instance, 457 cases were the disputes over the reexamination of the rejection of invention patent applications, 36 cases about the reexamination of the rejection of utility model patent applications, and 3 cases about design patent application. On invalidation disputes, 283 cases were about invention patent, 234 about the utility model patent, and 102 about design patents. There was 1 case about the reexamination of the rejection of new plant variety application, 2 administrative disputes over monopoly, and 172 other administrative cases such as administrative penalties and administrative adjudication. Compared with last year, the caseload of all kinds of administrative disputes leaped, and the disputes involving the rejection and reexamination of invention patent applications and the invalidation of invention patent increased the most. This is the first time that the IP tribunal accepted the case about the dispute over the granting and affirmation of new plant variety right  and administrative disputes over monopoly.
 
4. Statistics on adjudication

Among the concluded 3,460 civil and administrative cases, 2,272 cases’ judgements were upheld, with a proportion of 65.7%; 509 cases were concluded by withdrawing, with a withdrawal rate of 14.7%, and 198 cases were concluded by mediation (with a civil mediation letter issued), the mediation rate was 5.7%, and the overall rate of mediation and withdrawal was 20.4%; 468 cases were concluded by remand or re-sentencing, with a remand and re-sentencing rate of 13.5%, of which the remand rate was 0.8%, down significantly from 2.2% in the previous year; 13 cases were concluded by other means.
 
Among the concluded 2,023 substantial civil cases of second instance, 1,004 cases were concluded by maintaining the original judgement, with a rate of 49.6%; 440 cases were concluded by withdrawal, and 198 cases were concluded by mediation, with an overall mediation and withdrawal rate of 31.5%; 381 cases were concluded by remand or re-sentencing, and the rate of remand and re-sentencing was 18.8%. The rate of remand or re-sentencing of civil jurisdiction cases was 4.8%.
 
Among the concluded 971 administrative cases of  second instance , 862 cases were concluded by maintaining the original judgment, with a proportion of 88.8%; 43 cases were concluded by withdrawal, with a withdrawal rate of 4.4%; 64 cases were concluded by remand or re-sentencing, taking an account for 6.6%. 2 cases were closed by other means.
 
5. Foreign-related cases; Cases involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan

In 2021, the tribunal accepted a total of 437 foreign-related cases and cases involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, accounting for 10.1% of the total number of the accepted cases, with a year-on-year increase of 16.2%.  Hereinto, 382 newly accepted cases were foreign-related, accounting for 8.8% of the total number of newly accepted cases; 55 newly accepted cases involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, accounting for 1.3%; 176 civil cases of second instance and 261 administrative cases of second instance were accepted. A total of 280 foreign-related and cases involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan were concluded, accounting for 8.1% of the total number of concluded cases, which was the same as the previous year.
 
Publication date: Feb. 28th, 2022
Source: IP Tribunal of the Supreme People's Court

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