What Has Been the Impact of the Trademark Law on Trademark Litigation

Since China’s WTO accession, trademark litigation has boomed along with nearly other IPR-related statistics.  From 2002 to 2011, all levels of court accept the trademark civil disputes over 45,706 cases, with an average annual growth rate reached 39.8%.  Litigation involving trademark validity at the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court grew even quicker from 2007 to 2011, to 5383 cases, and the annual average growth rate reached 57.2%.  Trademark criminal cases numbered 8194 during this period, with an average annual growth rate of 27.9%.    In sum, administrative validity cases have grown the quickest by far – due in part to the rapid growth in TM filings.  Administrative cases were  followed by civil cases and then criminal cases, and all of them showed double digit growth.  (Source: www.bipi.org).
However, civil cases are still a fraction of administrative trademark enforcement cases, and the above data suggests that the relatively low level of civil trademark litigation in absolute numbers may be due to the high level of SAIC administrative actions.  There were 68,836 reported administrative trademark enforcement actions last year alone or over 20,000 more than the total number of civil cases for the period from 2002-2011.  Moreover, 17,022 of these cases were taken on behalf of foreigners — nearly 14 times the number of all foreign-related civil litigation involving all types of IP rights that were disposed of by the China courts in 2011 (1,321).

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