(This is the Part II of the Annul Report, you can check the Part I at: http://www.chinaiptoday.com/post.html?id=797 )
Ⅱ. Deepen institutional reform, promote intelligent case handling, and further improve the quality and effectiveness of technology-related IP case trials
As the first specialized judicial institution established at the highest court level in the world to handle nationwide patent and other technology-related IP appeals, the IP Court is determined to forge ahead, act as a pioneer and explorer for reform, innovate systems and mechanisms, promote informatization, strengthen team capabilities, and take comprehensive and multiple measures to improve the quality and effectiveness of technology-related IP case trials.
1. Leverage institutional strengths and innovate the trial mechanism
The IP Court aims to protect innovations in an innovative manner and promotes reform with a reform mindset. Over the past year, it has achieved several breakthroughs and innovations in the litigation system for technology-related IP cases.
Implement a centralized and unified jurisdiction system and a “Leapfrog Appeal” system with Chinese characteristics. According to the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Several Issues concerning Judicial Procedures for Patent and Other Intellectual Property Cases, nationwide civil and administrative appeals involving technology-related intellectual property are tried under the unified jurisdiction of the IP Court. Whether the first-instance judgment of a technology-related IP case is made by an Intermediate People’s Court or a High People’s Court, all appeals are handled by the IP Court. In terms of the technology-related IP appeals against the first instance judgment made by an Intermediate People’s Court, a “Leapfrog Appeal” system with Chinese characteristics has been created. The appeals leapfrog a High People’s Court from an Intermediate People’s Court to the Supreme People’s Court. This not only helps to unify judicial standards and shorten the duration of dispute resolution, but also highlights the judicial policy and adjudication rules for technology-related IP cases at the highest judicial level in China.
Explore a collaborative trial mechanism for civil and administrative cases involving the same patent. China’s patent system adopts a dual system for civil infringement procedures and administrative invalidation procedures. Problems arising from the implementation of this system are: on the one hand, civil infringement procedures concerning patents are often affected and constrained by the administrative invalidation procedures, and the overlapping procedures results in longer time required for patent protection and relapsed results; on the other hand, patentees can use separate procedures to make different claim constructions by arguing for a limited scope of protection in administrative invalidation procedures to obtain affirmation and an expanded scope of protection in civil infringement proceedings to obtain an advantage in the determination of infringement, thus the patentee can “profit from both sides.” With the support of Beijing Intellectual Property Court and other local courts, the IP Court has taken full advantage of its centralized jurisdiction, and established a collaborative advancement mechanism for civil and administrative cases involving the same patent, to synergize the determination of the patent validity and the determination of infringement, thus resolving the problem of long period for patent litigation and the plaintiff’s inconsistent claim constructions for the same patent in different cases at the mechanism level. The specific approach is that the IP Court collects the information of the cases involving the same patent and forwards it to the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, to coordinate the trial process and to unify the judicial standard. For cases that have entered the second-instance stage, the IP Court actively utilizes the trial mechanism to solve the problems arising from the dual system under the current legal framework, on the basis of “front-end sorting.” For example, the patent invalidation administrative dispute and infringement dispute of Lejin Electronics (Tianjin) Electrical Appliance Co., Ltd. v. Xiamen Power Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. involved the same patent. The IP Court established the same collegial panel and appointed the same technical investigators to convene a pre-trial meeting, focused on the claim construction issues involved in both cases, and recorded them in the judgment document. By doing so, a bridge of communication between the administrative litigation and the civil litigation is built, which enabled coordination of judicial standards for the civil litigation concerning patent infringement and the administrative litigation concerning patent invalidation.
Develop a “1+76” model for technology-related IP case trials and establish an integrated coordination mechanism. There are 32 High People’s Courts and 44 Intermediate People’s Courts in China that have jurisdiction over technology-related IP cases of first instance. A preliminary “1 + 76” model for technology-related IP case trials with the IP Court as the appellate body has been developed to ensure overall planning and nationwide concerted efforts, and to gradually exert the advantages and overall effectiveness of an integrated coordination mechanism. Over the past year, the IP Court has utilized the integrated coordination mechanism to expand dispute resolution channels and mediate 80 patent infringement cases across regions, and has achieved satisfactory results by “closing cases before the court session begins and resolving disputes before the relevant parties depart.” For example, in the invention patent infringement case of Tong Yonghua and Ningbo Zhaohua Environmental Technology Co., Ltd. (Appellants) v. Yuyao Pude Water Equipment Factory, et al. (Respondents), the IP Court found out that the parties involved had other outstanding cases in different regions and courts with respect to the same patent and other relevant patents; the IP Court then contacted Hangzhou IP Tribunal and Ningbo IP Tribunal. These three courts at three regions and two levels coordinated, cooperated, and jointly participated in the mediation and settled eight cases with one package solution. In the invention patent infringement case of Jiangsu Baodiao Motor Vehicle Co., Ltd. (Appellant) v. Chongqing Yingang Technology (Group) Co., Ltd. et al. (Respondents), with the support of the High People’s Courts in Jiangsu, Sichuan, Chongqing, etc., the IP Court achieved a resolution of 7 cases of first-instance, second-instance and retrial, across regions and procedures.
Implement a nationwide circuit trial system. Insisting on putting the people at the center, supported by the 6 Circuit Courts of the Supreme People’s Court and the local courts, the IP Court has explored the circuit trial model of “the IP Court + Circuit Courts”, established a case trial mechanism of “Investigation + Court Hearing”, and arranged circuit trials of the case at the place where the dispute occurred or where the People’s Court of first instance is located, so as to facilitate litigation and promote prompt and on-spot resolution of disputes. Over the past year, the IP Court visited Nanjing, Shenzhen, Jinan, Zhengzhou, Golmud, and other places to conduct onsite investigations on submersible pumps, large screen printing machines, and other large mechanical equipment that are difficult to transport. A total of 23 cases’ onsite investigations and circuit trials were completed, which facilitated the litigation by the public and enriched the intellectual property protection practice of “Fengqiao Experience”. For example, in the case of infringement of utility model patent rights of Dongguan City Topfly Packaging and Printing Co., Ltd. (Appellant) v. Haoda Screen Printing Machinery (Respondent), and Zhuhai Hongsen Circuit Board Co., Ltd. (defendant in the first instance), since it was inconvenient to transport the alleged infringer’s large screen printing machine, and as the alleged infringer had appealed that the court of first instance did not separately compare the 50 technical features included in the patent claim 1 involved, the collegial panel decided to visit the factory in Zhuhai to compare the suspected infringements. The case was heard in public at the First Circuit Court of the Supreme People’s Court in Shenzhen. Finally, the Appellant’s appeal was supported on the basis of ascertained technical facts.
Improve the technical fact finding mechanism. First, the IP Court has led the preparation of the “Database of Technical Investigators and Technical Consulting Experts for Chinese Courts,” bringing together more than 360 technical investigators and technical consulting experts from all over the country, covering more than 30 technical fields. These include technical investigators employed by the People’s Courts, as well as technical investigators and technical consulting experts from China National Intellectual Property Administration, scientific and technological enterprises, universities, research institutes working as exchange personnel, part-timers, volunteers, etc., which has helped effectively solve the problems of single source, unbalanced distribution in fields, and insufficient talent supply. Second, the IP Court has established a “Technical Investigation Resource Sharing Mechanism for Chinese Courts,” adopted the Several Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Technical Investigators’ Participation in Legal Proceedings of Intellectual Property Cases, and has promoted the on-demand deployment of technical investigators nationwide or dispatching of technical consulting experts based on the Several Provisions. The sharing mechanism and the database work together to enable technical investigation talents to be dispatched on demand throughout China based on unified deployment, maximizing the effectiveness of existing resources. In July 2019, the IP Court deployed a technical investigator in the mechanical field, at the request of the Intermediate People’s Court of Yinchuan of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, to participate in the trial of a patent infringement case of a “no-tillage double-furrow all-plastic-film mulching and earthing combined machine”. In November 2019, the IP Court, at the request of the Tianjin IP Tribunal, took into account the overall situation with respect to the region, field, personnel, etc., and deployed a technical investigator in the field of biomedicine from the Beijing Intellectual Property Court through the “Database of Technical Investigators and Technical Consulting Experts for Chinese Courts”, to participate in the patent infringement case trial for “1L1RL-1 as a cardiovascular disease marker and therapeutic target”. In December 2019, Nanjing IP Tribunal proactively arranged its technical investigator in the computer software field to facilitate the IP Court in handling of a computer software copyright infringement case, in which the complicated source-code-related facts were correctly ascertained, and hence the parties settled their dispute through mediation in a sound way on the basis of the newly ascertained technical facts. Third, to solve the practical problems that exist, such as the difference in work and knowledge cognition habits of technical investigators, inconsistency in litigation details, and other issues, the IP Court took the lead in organizing three Intellectual Property Courts in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, and the IP Tribunals in Tianjin, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Suzhou, and other places, to jointly compile and publish the Work Manual of Technical Investigators (2019). The manual provides work guidelines and standards for technical investigators of Chinese courts, with respect to ascertaining technical facts.
2. Strengthen informatization development and promote intelligent case handling
Information technology is an important means to improve the quality and effectiveness of judicial trials. The IP Court attaches immense importance to the development of information technology and explores the application of new generation of information technology such as big data and artificial intelligence in trial work. Positive progress has been made in terms of database of adjudication rules, technology IP Court, remote cross-examination, etc., and overall planning has been made for future informatization development.
First, establish a new database of adjudication rules focused on specific rules for the application of law. The first batch of adjudication rules that came online have come from the guiding cases of the Supreme People’s Court, the annual reports on intellectual property of the Supreme People’s Court, the typical cases of Chinese courts, and the guiding cases concluded in 2019 by the IP Court that were extracted and written by the judges of the IP Court. These were then systematically sorted out and classified. Users can input keywords in the database to obtain related adjudication rules in the form of “mind map of rules” and “list of rules.” These two formats are constructed according to the legal logic and the characteristics of the types and fields of the cases, presenting a systematic knowledge structure that differs from the usual simple enumeration format, and can guide users to actively learn and master related rules. The database can be used not only to assist judges in hearing similar cases, but also to test the quality of trials. At present, the trial version of the adjudication rules database has been completed and will be formally made operational soon, providing strong support for intelligent trial of technology-related IP cases by Chinese courts.
Second, build a technology IP Court that combines the use of information terminals, synchronized marking technology, AR technology, voice recognition technology, electronic signature technology, etc.
During the court’s session, the information terminal of the bench is connected to the case handling system, so that judges can access the electronic files. The terminal has an embedded synchronized marking technology. During the cross-examination process, both the judges and the relevant parties can simultaneously mark the evidence with different colored lines and highlights, using their respective terminals. The technology IP Court can also use AR technology. Using AR glasses, the circuit layout and other small and high precision evidence can be projected on the large screen, making it easy to view minute structures. The voice recognition technology and electronic signature technology of the technology IP Court can convert voice into text to generate court records in real time, and replace traditional signatures with e-signatures, respectively. Each page of the court records is signed with just one e-signature.
Third, use remote high-definition video transmission technology for remote cross-examination. For evidence that cannot be easily transported, the IP Court conducts remote cross-examination using remote high-definition video transmission technology. In the case of infringement of invention patent rights of Beijing Reci Laser Technology Co., Ltd. and Shanghai Rongdong Laser Technology Co., Ltd. (Appellants) v. Shanghai Jiading Malu Dongfang Laser Tube Factory (Respondent), the alleged infringing product was a fragile glass product, which could not be easily transported over a long distance. The IP Court communicated and collaborated with the court of first instance, i.e., Shanghai Intellectual Property Court, to remotely display and conduct remote cross-examination of evidence in real time.
Fourth, prepare overall plans for future informatization development work. The IP Court formulated the Three-year Development Plan for the Intelligent Construction of the IP Court (2019-2021), which clarified the goals and ideas of informatization development. The Plan proposed the concept of “one platform”, “two services”, “three scenarios”, “four connections”, and “five key projects”, to create an intelligent case handling system for the IP Court that is safe and controllable, supports comprehensive coverage, interconnection, cross-border integration, in-depth application, and is transparent and convenient. “One platform” refers to the IP Court’s electronic litigation platform, which provides a full range of intelligent services for judges, litigants, and the public. “Two services” refers to insisting on serving the people and serving the trial work. “Three scenarios” indicates that the results of informatization development are reflected in three scenarios: litigation service, the technology IP Court, and the big data analysis platform. “Four connections” refer to connecting the relevant lower courts, external units, parties, and the public. “Five key projects” include the adjudication rules database, the big data analysis platform, the external data interaction platform, the two-level collaboration platform & remote court hearing system, and the IP Court cloud.
3. Strengthen team building and enhance judicial capacity
Team building is the foundation and guarantee for stable and long-term development of the judiciary. Technology-related intellectual property case trials have the characteristics of professionalism, cutting-edge technology, and international scope. The judges must have a firm political position, exceptional professional capabilities, and be prudent and honest, to effectively improve judicial capacity and become the talent guarantee for improving the quality and effectiveness of trials.
The IP Court has 8 collegiate panels, a litigation service center, and a general office. The IP Court has totally 140 staff members, 42 of whom are judges, all of them possessing a master’s or above degree. Among them, 37.5% have doctoral degrees, 22.5% have a background in science and engineering, and 17.5% have overseas study experience. Some judges are selected from the Supreme People’s Court, most of the judges are seconded from local courts across the country that have mature experiences in patent trials, and three other judges are exchange judges from China National Intellectual Property Administration. After several rounds of selection, the IP Court’s trial team consists of elite judges, selected in a way like “screening an army on the battleground” across the country. The IP Court takes full advantage of its talents and has further strengthened team building while maintaining high standards and strict requirements, by utilizing multiple channels. It has strived to forge a trial team possessing a firm political position, with members who are upright and honest, proficient in the law, familiar with technology, possess knowledge of China’s national conditions, and have an international perspective.
First, strengthen political development and enhance team cohesion. Guided by the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the IP Court has enhanced the “Four Consciousnesses”, fostered the “Four Matters of Confidence”, and ensured “Two Upholds”, to insist on absolute leadership of the CPC over the people’s courts, to ensure that the Central Committee’s decisions and plans in the IP Court are carried out without compromise, and ensure the right political direction of the intellectual property trial work. The IP Court has implemented the general requirements for Party building in the new era, comprehensively improved the team’s quality and capabilities, chosen the right direction for the selection and employment of personnel, promoted righteousness and strived for excellence, and has fully mobilized the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of all staff members, and encouraged the staff members of the IP Court to take on new roles and new actions in the new era and new environment.
Second, strengthen professional capabilities and enhance the team’s ability to perform duties. Based on active thinking, fast knowledge update, and high degree of internationalization in the field of intellectual property, the IP Court has actively created conditions to specifically strengthen the trainings in intellectual property and foreign language to enhance the team’s ability to perform its duties. Over the past year, two national trial practice training courses were held to provide in-depth explanation of the judicial policy and adjudication rules and promote harmonization in thoughts and coordination in pace among the IP courts and tribunals across the country. The IP Court also held multi-level professional trainings, built high-quality standardized learning platforms such as the “The New Knowledge Lecture Hall” and “The IP Court Forum,” to invite well-known experts and scholars from across the country to give lectures to the IP Court, and broadcast live to the local courts, to improve the trial team’s professional quality. It established a foreign language working group, carried out daily online and offline foreign language training, and translated foreign court decisions and academic papers on frontier issues. The IP Court has given full play to the pioneering role of its national trial experts, who as the trendsetters can thus be followed by the other staff members of the IP Court, and is striving to become an education base for the IP courts and tribunals across the country to forge the professional technical trial team of Chinese courts.
Third, strengthen integrity and forge a team with excellent work style. On the one hand, based on the actual trial work, the IP Court has managed to explore and establish the Party building work method of “full online and offline coverage, and round-the-clock education and management” with the help of new media. By utilizing interactive online micro-platforms for information dissemination on different themes such as “House of Party Members”, “Learning, Thinking, Practicing and Comprehending”, “Do You Know?”, and offline learning & education platforms such as the “Party Building” promotion gallery, and based on multichannel coverage approach, youthfulness, and interactivity, the IP Court has successfully built a Party building learning platform. It has made the learning content close to the actual work, utilized interactive Q&A and mutual teaching and sharing methods to evaluate the learning result, and has created a well-accepted Party building brand that was listed among the “One Hundred Excellent Cases” at the 2nd Party Building Innovation Achievement Selection Activity organized by Flag of the State Organs Work Committee of CPC Central Committee. On the other hand, it has established the “1 + N” system with the Opinions of the IP Court on Strict Governance of the IP Court to Prevent Risks, as the guiding principle, and established more than 50 regulations. The IP Court adopts innovative forms, such as sending “Intellectual Property Letters to Homes of All Staff Members”, to enhance the execution and binding power of the aforesaid regulations and promote the formation of a clean and honest governance ecosystem.
Ⅲ. Promote judicial openness and carry out international exchanges to further promote judicial trustworthiness and international influence
Against the background of comprehensively building a society governed by law and advancing the modernization of the judicial system and judicial capacity, society has extremely high requirements for judicial openness in terms of both the breadth and depth. The establishment of the IP Court has attracted the attention of the society and the world. It needs to uphold a high degree of consciousness and a noble sense of mission, to actively promote judicial openness and participate in international exchanges, so that the IP Court’s system and practices in judicial protection of technology-related intellectual property can be comprehensively and objectively understood both home and abroad.
1. Deepen judicial openness and enhance judicial trustworthiness
Focusing on the goal “to make people feel fairness and justice in every judicial case”, the IP Court takes judicial openness as the core and judicial publicity as the primary measure, to constantly enhance the transparency of judicial information, and promote improvement of judicial trustworthiness.
With judicial openness as the core, trial information is fully disclosed in accordance with the law. The IP Court utilizes four public platforms built by the Supreme People’s Court, i.e. the China Judicial Process Information Online, tingshen.court.gov.cn, China Judgments Online, and zxgk.court.gov.cn, to realize the full openness of the trial process. In terms of openness of court hearings, the IP Court adheres to the principles of openness and live broadcasting, and considers non-openness as an exception to the rule. Live court hearings can be viewed online in real time, and people can also log in to the tingshen.court.gov.cn website to view the court hearing videos after the court session. Major cases are tried with openness through whole process in order to promote justice with such openness. In terms of the openness of judgments, the IP Court promptly publishes judgments that should be disclosed according to law on China Judgments Online, and regularly counts and reports the status of documents that it has published online. As an effort to boost the public’s awareness of the IP Court’s adjudicative work, all of the adjudicative documents (either written judgments or decisions) as rendered by the IP Court contain the main points of such judgments or decisions, and concisely explain the legal issues involved in the case, plus the opinions and results of the adjudications, so that the relevant parties and the public can clearly understand the results and the basis of the judgments. By doing so, the IP Court gives a clear and rational interpretation of the law, enabling justice to be seen and explained clearly, and highlights judicial civilization and justice.
Comprehensively show the work of the IP Court while focusing on judicial publicity. On March 27th, 2019, after the gavel was struck for the first time at the IP Court, the IP Court opened a court session. Through full-media live broadcasts and extensive reporting by dozens of media including CCTV, the online live broadcast of court hearings received more than 18 million views for the first time. In late April, the IP Court held several activities such as “Public Open Week,” “Court Hearing Week of IPR Protection,” and “Judges to Campus,” inviting people from all walks of life and journalists to visit the IP Court, to experience the intelligent systems such as submission of electronic litigation materials, online search for typical cases, and to attend public court hearings. Judges were invited to visit universities such as Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China, North China University of Technology, etc., to introduce the basic situation of the IP Court and the development of judicial protection of intellectual property in China. From December 9th to 13th, the IP Court carried out the “Judgment Week” activity and pronounced judgments on 6 cases that are of demonstration significance. People from industry who attended said: “Through the hearing, I felt the professionalism and objectivity of the trials conducted by the IP Tribunal.” The IP Court also made full use of its Chinese and English official websites and the WeChat public account to publish all kinds of judicial information in a timely manner. A total of 390 manuscripts were published, which were viewed 16.012 million times.
2. Carry out international exchanges and enhance international influence
The IP Court learns from successful international practices in protecting intellectual property rights through international exchanges, and at the same time tells the world the story of China’s efforts in protecting intellectual property by law, thereby contributing Chinese wisdom to the world’s rule of law and civilization. During the year, the IP Court conducted a total of 32 foreign exchange activities, including 18 incoming exchange visits, 8 outgoing exchange visits, and 6 foreign-related activities in China.
First, strengthen exchanges, mutual learning, and “bringing in,” to comprehensively showcase the national goal of strict protection of intellectual property rights. Since its establishment, the IP Court has insisted on deepening international exchanges and cooperation in intellectual property. It has hosted visits by a number of organizations and has held intensive discussions with their delegates, such as from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI), the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), the US-China Business Council (USCBS), and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Francis Gurry, the Director General of WIPO sent a video message congratulating the IP Court on its inauguration, and stated that the establishment of the IP Court “embodies China’s solemn commitment to intellectual property protection and expresses China’s strong determination in the provision of more just and efficient judicial protection for intellectual property.” Craig Allen, President of USCBC said during his visit that the establishment of the IP Court “is of great significance for creating an international, market-oriented and rule-of-law business environment.” Lisa Jorgenson, Executive Director of AIPLA said during her visit that, “The IP Court has very high-quality judges, so the trial of cases will be very effective and comprehensive, and this will have a great impact on the consistency of future judgments.” Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, President of ICJ said during his visit, “International intellectual property experts and lawyers will pay close attention to the judgments made by the IP Court…Surely, the IP Court will have its own judgments on hot controversial issues in intellectual property, such as accessibility of pharmaceuticals and compulsory licensing, relevant market definition in monopoly cases, the balance between the patentee, the patent users, and social public interest, etc. I believe that developing countries will pay particular attention to China’s role in the above-mentioned issues and the approach it has taken.” Rubén Remigio Ferro, President of People’s Supreme Court of Cuba said during his visit, “Each division of the Supreme People’s Court conducts special data processing of various types of cases for summarizing and retrieval, which is worthy of learning. It is commendable that with the use of information technology, these high-tech technologies are used by the IP Court to help judges make more proper judgments in high-tech cases. This is a very good application.”
Second, have an international perspective and “go out” to tell the world the story of China’s efforts in protecting intellectual property based on law. The IP Court actively participates in international exchange activities, demonstrates China’s achievements in the judicial protection of technology-related intellectual property, promotes China’s concept of judicial protection of technology-related intellectual property, and strives to raise international awareness, understanding and recognition of China’s intellectual property protection. It also contributes Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions to the formulation of international rules on intellectual property rights. In May 2019, a delegation of 8 Chinese patent judges led by Wang Chuang, Deputy Chief Judge of the IP Court, visited France, Luxembourg, and Germany for theme-based exchanges on technology-related IP case trials. They introduced the establishment of the IP Court and the innovative development of China’s judicial system with respect to technology-related intellectual property, to the European intellectual property judicial circles, sending a strong message that China will continue to vigorously strengthen judicial protection of intellectual property rights. In June 2019, Zhou Xiang, Deputy Chief Judge of the IP Court participated in the 2019 AIPPI Trilateral Meeting – AIPPI China, AIPPI Japan, and AIPPI Korea, co-sponsored by AIPPI China, AIPPI Japan, and AIPPI Korea, and gave a keynote speech in English that comprehensively introduced the IP Court’s institutional settings and innovative working mechanisms, as well as the latest developments in judicial protection of intellectual property in China. Over the last year, the IP Court also had a number of judges “going out” to tell the world the story of China’s efforts in protecting intellectual property based on law, including giving presentations at Harvard University and Yale University in the United States, participating in moot court event at the 2019 AIPPI World Congress in the United Kingdom, joining the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee Meeting of WIPO in Switzerland; attending the “Intellectual Property Mediation Conference” organized by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Spain, participating in the IP Week Global Forum in Singapore, going to South Africa for participation in the “International Community of Breeders of Asexually Reproduced Horticultural Plant Varieties (CIOPORA)” Annual Meeting, and taking part in the WIPO Academy Education and Training Programs in South Korea, etc.
Ⅳ. Strengthen investigation and research, plan and promote cooperation as a whole, and further enhance national strategic judicial guarantees
Judicial protection of technology-related intellectual property is related to the implementation of innovation-driven development strategies and high-quality economic, social, and cultural development. It is also of immense significance in enhancing national strategic strength. The IP Court comprehensively leverages its advantages of hearing a large number of cases and extensive research in technical fields, carries out in-depth investigation and research related to judicial trials, supports policy-making and proposes legislative proposals. At the same time, the IP Court actively motivates building the intellectual property protection community and forming a joint force for protection, and promotes firm implementation of Central Committee’s decisions and national strategies.
1. Strengthen investigation and research to serve national overall development situation
First, the IP Court drafted and prepared the Three-year Development Plan for the IP Court (2019-2021), to provide an overall plan on the guiding ideology, development principles, development goals, main tasks, basic guarantees, organization, and implementation of the IP Court’s development. The aim is to promote the long-term development of the IP Court and ensure that the Central Committee’s deployment goals are implemented.
Second, promote various special investigations and studies. Numerous cases from various regions and technical fields across the country are high-quality resources for investigation. Keeping in mind the trial team, the IP Court considers the needs of trial work and the research interests of the judges, and has established several research groups for strategic areas and key issues such as patent law revision, anti-monopoly, technical secrets, integrated circuit layout design, 5G technology, new plant varieties, etc. to conduct special research. Nine research results have been formed, including the Legislative Proposal on Drug Patent Linkage System, Analysis Report on the Judgments of Cases of New Plant Variety Rights, Empirical Research on Trial Period of Patent Infringement and ‘Loop Suit’ in Patent Invalidity Litigation.” In the fourth revision of the Patent Law, the Recommendations on Reforming and Perfecting the Legislation of Patent Invalidation Procedures were submitted to the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee to the National People’s Congress. The IP Court also communicated and cooperated with the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court to conduct research on issues such as SEPs so as to study trial rules that are compatible with industry development.
Third, the research on new plant varieties has achieved gratifying results. The IP Court was rated as the National Advanced Group for the Protection of New Varieties of Agricultural Plants in 2019 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. In order to improve the independent innovation capability of China’s seed industry and provide judicial guarantee for the development of the seed industry and national food security, the IP Court has carried out several investigations based on handling of new plant varieties cases. It sorted out cases over new plant varieties heard by the courts throughout the country over the past decade, and formed a ten-year review of the judgments by Chinese courts on new plant varieties. It carried out a joint research on the protection of new plant varieties with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs by conducting on-the-spot investigations in Hunan and Hainan provinces, and provided suggestions for the development of Hunan Seed Industry Silicon Valley, Hainan Free Trade Pilot Zone, and Free Trade Port. Based on the agriculture conditions, seed conditions, and current situations of rights protection found by the survey, the IP Court drafted a special investigation report on the judicial protection of new plant varieties, involving issues of expanding the scope of protection of variety rights and the urgency of protecting substantial derived varieties.
2. Promote development of a protection community and establish a joint protection force
First, strengthen communication and cooperation with the administrative departments to establish a joint force for judicial and administrative protection of technology-related intellectual properties. Since its establishment, the IP Court has actively communicated and cooperated with China National Intellectual Property Administration, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the anti-monopoly law-enforcing departments of the State Council, etc. to promote multi-party synergy, and actively serve and guarantee an innovation-driven development strategy. Strengthen cooperation with China National Intellectual Property Administration. The two parties basically agreed on electronic services, remote exchange of evidence, data sharing and other works, and determined the data exchange method. In order to ensure that the data provided by each party can be exchanged stably and quickly, the two sides will further study the special line connection scheme for exchanging data. Strengthen cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. The IP Court and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs carried out joint research on the protection of new plant varieties. At the invitation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the IP Court participated in a seminar on the protection of new varieties of agricultural plants, a seminar on the revision of Regulations on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, and the top ten typical cases review session for the protection of new varieties of agricultural plants. The IP Court also invited experts from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to give lectures on the protection of new plant varieties. The two sides conducted extensive studies on how to establish a long-term mechanism for communication and cooperation to jointly protect national food security. Strengthen cooperation with the anti-monopoly law-enforcing departments of the State Council. With respect to formulating regulations on prohibiting monopoly agreements and anti-monopoly enforcement, the IP Court is actively providing suggestions and views on amendments to State Administration for Market Regulation. The IP Court’s judges are invited as members of the expert advisory group of the Anti-Monopoly Committee of the State Council, and regularly participate in China Competition Policy Forum, Big Data and Antitrust Conferences and so on, to provide advisory opinions on antitrust competition policies and other legal issues.
Second, strengthen communication with the professional legal community such as lawyers’ associations and academia to form a joint force for protecting intellectual property rights based on law. On May 29th, 2019, the All China Lawyers’ Association Intellectual Property Committee visited the IP Court. They held in-depth discussions with the IP Court’s judges on issues such as the development of the IP Court, improvement of relevant legislation, and optimization of litigation experience. On November 23rd, 2019, Chief Judge Luo Dongchuan was invited to attend the China Intellectual Property Law Practice Seminar and the 2019 Annual Meeting of the All China Lawyers Association Intellectual Property Committee to introduce the status quo of the IP Court, where he also gave a speech focusing on the cultivation of intellectual property legal talents and the development of the professional legal community. The IP Court also invited experts and scholars including member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to give lecture to the staff of the IP Court and discuss legal and technical issues regarding technology-related IP case trials. The IP Court also explores the establishment of a long-term cooperation mechanism with colleges and universities, and provides practical judicial resources to support the colleges and universities in their talent training.
Third, strengthen exchanges with people from all sectors of society and ensure joint effort by the whole society to protect intellectual property rights. The IP Court aims to bring together smart resources and professionals from all sectors of society of life through communication, to jointly improve the quality and efficiency of judicial protection of intellectual property rights and the overall business environment in China. The IP Court conducts various judicial publicity activities, to welcome people from all walks of life to observe the trials and to have discussions. During the last year, the IP Court hosted 63 groups of a total of more than 970 visitors, including 29 specially appointed supervisors, specially invited consultants, representatives of national and local People’s Congresses and members of the national and local People’s Political Consultative Conference. The IP Court’s research team has held discussions with several scientific and technological innovation companies, and patent and legal service agencies on issues such as the jurisdiction and choice of law in foreign-related patent cases, patent infringement damages, and protection of new plant varieties, and aims to work with all sectors of society to build a great model of intellectual property protection.
The year 2020 marks the closing year of China’s efforts to build moderately prosperous society in an all-round way and achieve the first of the “Two Centennial Goals.” While in the process of achieving the national innovation-driven development goals, it is also the year that China will enter the ranks of the innovation powerhouses, basically build a national innovation system with Chinese characteristics, and strongly support the realization of the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way. As a basic guarantee and important support for innovation and development, intellectual property rights bear an important historical mission, and thus impose higher demands for judicial protection. At this new historical point, the IP Court will adhere to the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as a guide, being fearless of hardship and embracing challenges, give full play to its judicial functions and increase judicial protection to serve the innovation-driven development strategy, stimulate the entire society’s passion on creativity and release the vitality of innovation and entrepreneurship through powerful judicial means, strive to create a rule-of-law, international, convenient and world-class business environment, provide more powerful judicial services and guarantees for realizing the “Two Centennial Goals” and building China into an IP power and a science and technology power in the world, and make new and greater contributions towards the realization of the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation!