Civil, Criminal and Administrative IP Litigation Continued in Climb in 2014

China’s Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate released a summary of their IP-related activities as part of their annual work report to the National People’s Congress.

As reported by the Beijing Intellectual Property Institute (www.bipi.org), here’s a quick summary of the numbers:

The total numbers of cases adjudicated by the SPC in 2014 was 9,882,000, an increase of 1.7% over 2013.  Amongst those cases there were 5,228,000 civil cases, with an overall increase of 5.7% from 2013.  There were also 131,000 administrative cases, with an increase of 8.3%.  The total number of IP cases of all types adjudicated by the SPC was about 110,000, an increase of 10 percent.

In a separate 2014 annual report, the SPC noted that there were 94,501 civil IP cases adjudicated in 2014 (about 1.8% of the civil case docket).  In addition, there were 10,303 IP adjudicated criminal cases (about .2% of the criminal docket), and 4,887 administrative cases (3.7% of the administrative docket).

The relatively low numbers of IP cases compared to China’s overall dockets and the changes that the IP system has brought to China’s judicial system in areas such as specialized IP courts and preliminary injunctions, demonstrates the out-sized influence on China’s judicial system.

The SPP’s report indicated that total prosecutions for trademark, patent, copyright, and trade secrets involved 9,427 people, an increase of 7.1% over last year.

More details should be available by the end of April, when numerous Chinese agencies release reports on their IP work for the year.

New Service Invention Draft Regulation…And Web page

SIPO released its latest draft for public comment of its proposed service invention regulations 职务发明条例草案 (送审稿), including a very useful Chinese language webpage on April 1.  The website contains additional reference materials including summaries of comments on prior drafts (August 2012, November 2012 and December 2013), a comparison of these drafts as well as a report on the Japanese service invention system and summaries of meetings and surveys.

The draft is the product of several ministries and agencies, including SIPO, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and Technology, MIIT, Ministry of Labor and Social Security, Ministry of Agriculture, NCAC, Forestry Bureau, China Patent Protection Association and the Chinese Inventors Association.   There is no stated deadline for submitting comments, rather the draft appears to have been published on a more open-ended basis to solicit public comments, including considering the viewpoints of comments previously submitted by others.  SIPO has once again done an admirable job of making its policy considerations public available.

The proposed rules appear to adhere to the principle that gives priority to contracts or agreements between employers and employees.  However, the drafters rejected proposals to place freedom of contract in the chapeau language of the draft regulation.  The drafters also believe that there are minimal compensation standards that should apply to employee compensation claims.  The draft removes prior references to employee compensation for software based on service invention standards, while maintaining compensation for plant variety protection employee contributions.  It also maintains protections for inventors when a patent disclosure is not filed for a patent and maintained as a trade secret, but the enterprise has benefited from the invention.  The employee inventor also retains a right to know about the circumstances of his/her invention being licensed to others which now is based upon circumstances where it has a need to know.

The survey of Chinese enterprises also provides useful background concerning SIPO’s motivations.  The data shows that enterprises recognized the need to provide service invention compensation.  However, there was concern about compensation for trade secrets, and interference in the management of enterprises to compensate inventors.  SME’s were particularly concerned about interference in their enterprise’s autonomy.

When I first blogged about this draft regs, I reached a high of 426 hits – an education for me about how important this issue is to readers of this blog.

Judicial Trends in Beijing … and Countercyclical Trends

The Beijing Intellectual Property Institute, which is run by former Judge Cheng Yongshun (www.bipi.org)  reports the following data on the Beijing IP litigation for the first half of 2012: Continue reading