SPC President Zhou Qiang spelled out some key IPR judicial developments in report to the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Consultative Congress on March 10. A full text of the report is found on the excellent website of former SPC Chief IPR Judge Jiang Zhipei (picture below). Here are some excerpts:
As a general matter litigation of all types increased in China in 2013, with case filings at local courts increasing at 7.4% or 14,217,000 cases of first instance in China during 2013. By comparison, Zhou Qiang reported total IP cases at approximately 100,000. If this number reflects civil, criminal and administrative cases, as well as IPR-related cases, such as antimonopoly law or crimes involving fake and shoddy goods, it would suggest that there has been no significant increase in IP litigation. If this number is based on civil cases only, then there has been an increase in the civil IP docket, from about 83,350 in 2013.
Total foreign-related commercial cases numbered only 5,364, out of 3,957,000 commercial cases. It is humbling to think that in 2012, the last date for which we have comprehensive data, there were only 1,429 and 1,349 civil and administrative foreign related IPR cases, respectively. Foreign-related IPR cases of all types likely remain a small fraction of the Chinese court docket.
In terms of overall transparency, the court continues its effort to increase judicial transparency, as I have previously noted. In his report, SPC President Zhou Qiang noted that 3,858 SPC decisions have been placed on line, as have 1,646,000 local court decisions.
The court also notes that one of its goals for 2014 is to promote the establishment of IP court(s), and that it is looking at how to experiment in managing resources for courts below the provincial level, in order to create a degree of “suitable separation” from local administrative influence to improve the management system of judicial personnel. Such efforts, if successful, could reduce the amount of local protectionism.
Chief Judge Jiang Zhipei, Former USPTO Acting Director Teresa Rea, Mark Cohen (the author) and Shi Lan.