April 24 – May 7, 2018 Summary

1.NPC Standing Committee Releases 2018 Legislative Plan. The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) on Friday released its annual legislative plan for 2018. As usual, the plan is divided into two sections—the first listing specific legislative projects slated for discussion at the NPCSC’s remaining five sessions in 2018, and second setting forth general guiding principles for its legislative work this year. The plan divides the legislative projects into three categories: (1) those for continued deliberation (that is, those carried over from 2017); (2) those for initial deliberation (that is, bills first submitted in 2018); and (3) preparatory projects.

Below is a list of laws and amendments that implicate IP matters:

E-commerce Law 电子商务法: passed under initial deliberation and is set for continued deliberation. December 2016 draft, October 2017 draft. 

Patent Law (Revision) 专利法(修订): set for initial deliberation in June. Draft released for public comments by the State Council in December 2015.  There have been several blogs previously on the drafting process and controversial issues.

Foreign Investment Law 外商投资法: set for initial deliberation in December. Draft released by the State Council for public comments in January 2015

The 2018 legislative plan also includes a list of preparatory projects, most of which won’t be submitted for deliberation this year. That list includes an Atomic Energy Law and Export Control Law and revision/amendments to Copyright Law.

2. New initiatives released by SIPO on World Intellectual Property Day. During a press conference for the World Intellectual Property Day, Shen Changyu, head of SIPO, made remarks of new initiatives planned by SIPO. According Shen, China is revising its Patent Law and establishing a punitive damages system for intellectual property infringement to increase the cost of illegal behavior and create a deterrent effect. In addition, China pledged to establish more intellectual property protection centers, in addition to the 19 intellectual property protection centers established nationwide. Meanwhile, SIPO planned to release a working guide for Anti-Monopoly law in the field of intellectual property. Should SIPO move ahead with this project, it may be an indication of an increased role for it in the newly reorganized government structure which it shares with China’s antitrust agencies.

As reported before, SIPO and other IP agencies are under reorganization. According to Shen, after the reorganization, SIPO will become the world’s biggest IP office. The new office will have 16000 staff, with 11000 patent examiners and more than 1500 trademark examiners.

3. China’s top court rules in favor of Dior in trademark case. In a judgement on World Intellectual Property day, China’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dior in a suit against the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board after a multi-year court battle. The board wrongly rejected a 2015 application by Dior to register a trademark of its tear drop shaped J’adore perfume bottle, the top court said in a statement on its website. Alert blog readers may remember that the Michael Jordan trademark case was similarly held on World IP Day in 2016.

4. Shanghai seizes U.S.-made microchip equipment over IPR. At the start of 2018, Chinese company Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc (AMEC) learned that U.S. equipment suspected of infringing the company’s patents would arrive at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Shanghai customs authorities then seized the suspected products, Jiefang Daily reported on Friday, citing customs officers. Customs suspended the clearance of the products worth 34 million yuan ($5.36 million). With the customs’ involvement, the U.S. company, whose name was not revealed, negotiated with AMEC. The two sides agreed to settle the dispute by offering cross licenses to each other. The case is a rare but important example of using Chinese Customs remedies to address imports of products infringing a Chinese patent to effect a cross-license.

Other:

A summary of SPC’s IPR Report 2017 was released, but the whole report will be released in hard copy soon. Here’s the link to the summary.

Of Qipao’s and Cultural Misappropriation

Mongolian clothing___ , Lightsabers and Cameras, oh my_ Character Discussion_ Padme Amidala

The controversy over a decision by a Utah native, Keziah Daum, to wear a qipao to her prom stirred up a tweet storm over “cultural misappropriation.”  The South China Morning Post reported that generally the response from China was quite different —  it was an act of “cultural appreciation”, not appropriation.   As often happens in this type of discussion, false assumptions are made about the insularity of any culture, including in matters of fashion.

The qipao was hardly a Han innovation, and is widely attributed to the Nuzhen people – a Manchu tribe.  In the early 17th century, Nurhachi, the Manchu military strategist, unified the Nuzhen tribes and set up the  Banner System. Qipao in Chinese may be literally translated as “banner gown”, for it came from the Manchu people who lived under the Banner System and used it to govern China.  In fact, the Manchu domination over the majority Han people had been long resented by the Han, contributing to the 1911 revolution by Sun Yat-sen and reflected in the political slogan to “Overthrow the [Manchu] Qing and return to the [Han] Ming “(反淸复明).

Chinese minorities have contributed much to dress and culture in addition to the qipao.  The Newark Museum in New Jersey has an excellent collection of Tibetan and Mongolian art, which also shows some other minority influences, such as in the clothing used in Star Wars by Padmé Amidala (see above).  One can also try on Tibetan clothing if one wishes to further appreciate the clothing and its origins (see below).

One need not travel far to see evidence of cultural borrowings.  Whenever a man wears a tie, he is following a tradition set by Croatians during the Napoleonic wars.  Indeed, the French word cravate is a corrupt French pronunciation of Croate.  The origin of the tie is a source of some pride to the many Croatians I have met over the years.tibetclothing.jpg

No rights are asserted in any of the pictures from Star Wars or the Newark Museum.  The photograph above is the property of Mark Cohen.