Jill Ge of Clifford Chance has brought to my attention that the changes proposed to the Trademark Law and Anti-Unfair Competition Law that I reported on April 21, have now been passed at the 10th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress on April 23, 2019. There does not appear to have been the usual process for public comment on these changes. This was fast!
Here is a link to the iprdaily.cn reporting of this news, a pdf of the article as it appeared on that website, as well as a machine (google) translation of the article. I wanted to distribute these to readers quickly in the interest of time. If any readers have more polished translations that I can use, please send them to me.
No doubt, these changes are intended to help address US concerns over “forced technology transfer”, “IP theft” and related issues. A significant concern I have about these positive legislative changes is whether they will be accompanied by the requisite transparency of the implementing and enforcing agencies. Because trade secret cases in particular often include confidential technical or business information, they are often not reported by the courts in public databases. In recent months, there has also been a reported slowdown in the adjudication of foreign-related cases in the courts, which may also affect reporting on IP litigation by the courts. Unless there is comprehensive reporting of this information, it will be difficult to assess the problems they had sought to address, their impact, and their compliance with expectations of the NPC, rightsholders or foreign governments.
These legislative changes are also timed with events around IP Week in China, which typically includes releases of statistical data on patent and trademark prosecution, significant cases, policy initiatives, etc. In light of other pending legislative changes (such as the patent law, the drug administration law, etc.), the government reorganization, the new IP court, a reported “surge” in IP litigation in China in 2018, and US-China trade relations, we can expect that there will be other useful information released in the days ahead.