Update: 2022 China Intellectual Property Protection Status White Paper
On June 30, 2023, CNIPA (China National Intellectual Property Administration) released the White Paper on China’s Intellectual Property Protection Status in 2022. This White Paper, spanning 42 pages, is divided into five sections: “Protection Achievements,” “Institutional Construction,” “Examination and Registration,” “Cultural Development,” and “International Collaboration.”
I. IPR Protection Achievements
I.1 – Judicial Protection
In 2022, local people’s courts at all levels across the country received a total of 438,480 first-instance civil cases related to intellectual property, with 457,805 cases concluded (including ongoing cases). Among them, there were 5,241 new foreign-related first-instance civil cases related to intellectual property, with 5,547 cases concluded.
In the same year, local people’s courts at all levels nationwide received a total of 206,340 first-instance administrative cases related to intellectual property, concluding 176,300 cases. Among these, there were 3,798 new foreign-related first-instance administrative cases related to intellectual property, with 3,177 cases concluded.
In 2022, local people’s courts at all levels received 5,336 first-instance criminal cases related to intellectual property infringement, concluding 5,456 cases. Among them, there were 4,971 new criminal cases involving infringement of registered trademarks, with 5,099 cases concluded.
I.2 Administrative Protection
In 2022, the administrative efforts to protect patents (including invention patents, utility models, and design patents) continued to increase. At the municipal-level administrative departments across the country, over 5,700 cases of patent infringements were investigated, involving a total amount of CNY 185 million. Fines totaling CNY 14 million yuan were imposed, and 9 cases suspected of criminal activities were transferred to judicial authorities. The national intellectual property management departments handled over 58,000 administrative patent dispute cases, reflecting a year-on-year growth of 16.8%.
In 2022, the administrative protection for trademarks also intensified. Municipal-level administrative departments across the country investigated and dealt with over 37,500 cases of trademark infringements, involving an amount of CNY 1.448 billion. Fines amounted to CNY 594 million. Among these cases, 1,041 were referred to judicial authorities for suspected criminal activities. In the same year, the State Administration for Market Regulation investigated and dealt with 9,069 cases of various types of unfair competition, imposing fines totaling CNY 620 million.
I.3 Protection Mechanism Enhancement
As of 2022, a total of 27 intellectual property courts, 4 intellectual property tribunals, 97 national intellectual property protection centers, and rapid rights protection centers have been established nationwide.
II. Institutional Construction
II.1 Legal Regulations
On January 1, 2022, the second revision of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Science and Technology Progress came into effect.
On March 1, 2022, the fourth revision of the Seed Law of the People’s Republic of China officially became effective.
On August 1, 2022, the first revision of the Anti-Monopoly Law of the People’s Republic of China officially came into effect.
Apart from the aforementioned enacted legal revisions, other laws such as the E-commerce Law of the People’s Republic of China, Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China, Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China, Implementing Regulations of the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China, Implementing Regulations of the Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China, and Regulations on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of the People’s Republic of China are also under revision or being studied for revision.
II.2 Amendments have been made to internal regulations of various administrative departments, including revisions to the Regulations on Naming of Agricultural Plant Varieties and the Regulations on Supervision and Management of Trademark Agents. Concerns about “abuse of intellectual property to exclude or restrict competition” have been addressed.
II.3 A judicial interpretation titled Interpretation on Several Issues Concerning the Application of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law of the People’s Republic of China was adopted by the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People’s Court on January 29, 2022, and it became effective on March 20, 2022. The Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate are soliciting opinions on the Interpretation on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Laws in Handling Criminal Cases of Intellectual Property Infringement.
III. Examination and Registration
A summary of the number of applications and corresponding changes for various forms of intellectual property rights was provided. Among the significant data, the following is presented.
- By the end of 2022, the effective number of granted Chinese invention patents was 4.212 million, a year-on-year growth of 17.1%.
- By the end of 2022, the effective number of granted Chinese utility model patents was 10.835 million, a year-on-year growth of 17.2%.
- By the end of 2022, the effective number of granted Chinese design patents was 2.832 million, a year-on-year growth of 9.7%.
- By the end of 2022, the effective number of registered trademarks in China was 42.672 million, a year-on-year growth of 14.6%.
- By the end of 2022, the total annual copyright registrations in China reached 6.353 million, a year-on-year growth of 1.4%.
A total of 2,495 geographical indication products were approved for protection, and 7,076 collective and certification trademark registrations using geographical indications were approved. A total of 23,500 market entities were approved to use special signs for geographical indications.
Throughout the year, 11,000 applications for new agricultural plant variety rights were accepted, a year-on-year growth of 15.2%, resulting in 3,375 authorizations.
A total of 8,836 applications for new forestry and grass plant variety rights were accepted, and 4,055 authorizations were granted.
IV. Cultural Development
IV.1 Promotion and Dissemination
Efforts were made to promote awareness and understanding of intellectual property protection through various means, including:
- Publishing white papers such as the “2021 Report on the Protection of Intellectual Property in China” and showcasing exemplary cases in the “First Batch of Exemplary Cases for Building an Intellectual Property Strong Nation.”
- Conducting awareness campaigns such as Intellectual Property Protection Weeks.
Regularly disseminating information through news and media outlets to increase public understanding and engagement.
IV.2 Education and Training
Continuous progress was achieved in the field of intellectual property education and training, including:
- Advancing intellectual property education initiatives to raise awareness and understanding among the public, businesses, and professionals.
- Strengthening training programs focused on intellectual property protection to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to safeguard their intellectual property rights.
These efforts in promotion, education, and training contribute to building a strong foundation for intellectual property protection and creating a culture that values and respects intellectual property rights.
V. International Collaboration
V.1 International Intellectual Property Conventions
- China became a party to international intellectual property conventions, including joining the “Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (Geneva Act)” to facilitate protection of industrial designs.
- China also acceded to the “Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled,” contributing to better accessibility for individuals with print disabilities.
V.2 International Cooperation
- China actively engaged in cooperation with other BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) to enhance collaboration on intellectual property matters.
- The country also strengthened strategic partnerships with Europe and the United States to foster international cooperation and address global intellectual property challenges.
By participating in international intellectual property agreements, fostering regional collaborations, and strengthening global partnerships, China contributes to the development of a more harmonized and effective framework for intellectual property protection and cooperation on the international stage.