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:
- US and possibly other foreign IP case are affected.
- The courts may not be accepting cases.
- The courts may not be deciding cases.
- Patent and/or trademark cases are affected.
- Cases can be decided but only upon approval from the Supreme People’s Court.
- 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 email@example.com. 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.