Here’s some humbling data drawn from the Annual Judgment Data of the Supreme People’s Court (2011). These data are a reminder that the IP docket is a small part of the overall civil docket in China and that foreign related cases are an especially small component. Here’s how IPR cases compared to non-IPR civil cases (0.8%):
Here’s how foreign civil cases compare to the overall civil docket (0.5%):
Here’s how foreign-related cases compare to the overall IP docket (about 2.2%):
The data also shows that foreign-related civil IPR cases are also a small part of the total number of foreign-related civil cases (about 2.3%). By comparison, there were more maritime cases involving foreigners (8,286), as well as cases involving foreign contracts (4,727), cases involving foreign related ownership (4,450), and cases involving recognition or execution of foreign court judgments (1,727).
The data obviously doesn’t show how important those IPR cases are to the companies involved in them, or to China’s WTO obligations. It also suggests that knowledge and experience involving civil procedure issues that particularly affect foreigners, such as those involving formalities in submitting evidence, may be more easily understood outside of the IPR context.