China IPR

Where have all the cases gone… long time passing…

US and Chinese lawyers, companies and journalists have all reached out to me in the past several months with the same question: Is China not deciding cases during the pendency of the trade war?

This is what I have heard from various sources:

  1. US and possibly other foreign IP case are affected.
  2. The courts may not be accepting cases.
  3. The courts may not be deciding cases.
  4. Patent and/or trademark cases are affected.
  5. Cases can be decided but only upon approval from the Supreme People’s Court.
  6. There is internal court guidance directing that cases not be decided.

I have not seen anything in writing.  There are some reasons to believe that such a policy exists from a reading of the 2018 Report on IP enforcement by the Supreme People’s Court   最高人民法院发布《中国法院知识产权司法保护状况 (2018).  This report id not provide nationwide data on foreign-related IP cases, nor did the 2017 report.  This useful data was available in prior reports.

Several months I called up a US government official to ask him if he had heard that China was delaying decisions on US or foreign IP cases.  I told him that I heard this from several sources.  I never heard back from this official, so I do not know if it is true or not.  I also do not know if the issue had been raised with China in the trade talks

What have you heard?  Feel free to post a comment on this blog or send an email to me at  I will supplement this blog if the additional information warrants it.

Cultural note: here’s the Youtube of Pete Seeger singing “Where have all the flowers gone” from which the title of this blog is adapted.


Categories: China IPR

3 replies »

  1. While many official Chinese minds are dominated by the implications of the trade skirmish, it goes too far to suggest that it has resulted in an official litigation slowdown policy. No doubt the preoccupation with trade issues has caused the overcautious judge or official to avoid a
    high profile case confrontation, but subliminal caution does not amount to an official delay policy.


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