As a city with a history of 3,000 years featuring the culture of applying knowledge to the service of the nation and the pioneering spirit, today's Changsha is a city of innovation and a demonstration city of IP protection. It is the only provincial capital city nationwide that has set up professional agencies for IP protection in an all-round way, as it has set up the Changsha Intellectual Property Office, Changsha Intellectual Property Court, the Intellectual Property Criminal Investigation Division under Changsha Public Security Bureau, the Intellectual Property Procuratorial Bureau under the People's Procuratorate of Changsha City, the Changsha Arbitration Court of Intellectual Property under Changsha Arbitration Commission, the People's Mediation Committee for Intellectual Property Disputes and Intellectual Property Protection Committee. Today, Changsha has built a protection network covering the whole IP chain.
"Changsha's efforts in comprehensive IP protection are very impressive and commendable." From December 17 to 18, CNIPA organized 10 news outlets including People's Daily and Xinhua News Agency to visit Changsha Intellectual Property Court, the Intellectual Property Criminal Investigation Division under Changsha Public Security Bureau and Changsha Intellectual Property Office, and reporters all spoke highly of Changsha's efforts in IP protection.
Centralized judicial trials
To protect intellectual property rights is to protect innovation. In January 2018, Changsha took the lead in setting up a city-level leading group for IP protection, with secretary of Changsha Municipal Party Committee as the group leader and secretary of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Changsha Municipal Committee as the executive deputy leader, to be in charge of coordinating and scheduling the IP protection work of functional departments citywide.
Changsha Intellectual Property Court, established in March 2018, is the only cross-regional judicial organ specialized in patent and other technical cases within Hunan Province. "Changsha Intellectual Property Court has a cross-regional jurisdiction over patent and other technical cases within Hunan Province and common IP-related cases on appeal within the jurisdiction of Changsha City." Fan Dengfeng, Vice President of Changsha Intermediate People's Court and President of Changsha Intellectual Property Court, told reporters that the court has deepened reform in trials, innovated the operation mechanism for IP trials and established a specialized trial system to handle complex and simple cases in different ways, and implemented the technical fact-finding mechanism and litigation-mediation connecting mechanism to resolve disputes in a diversified manner.
Since it began cross-regional jurisdiction, the court has accepted a large number of cases and tried more than 19,000 civil cases over the past three years after establishment, including 1,708 patent cases, Fan added. High-tech cases like Sanyi automobile patented technology have been tried to strengthen the protection of technological achievements in core technologies and frontier fields; 3,982 trademark-related cases have been tried and a number of domestic and foreign trademarks have been protected as famous trademarks. Efforts have also been made to crack down on trademark infringements such as counterfeiting, stealing and imitation and promote the implementation of brand strategy, thus creating a good business environment and enhancing the public credibility and influence of juridical protection of IP.
Intelligent criminal crackdown
Changsha has a special team for IP protection. "In March 2019, Changsha Public Security Bureau took the lead in setting up a professional team for cracking down on IP-related crimes in middle and east China. Since 2019, public security organs of Changsha have thoroughly conducted special actions including "Two Crackdowns", "Kunlun" and "Sword Net", detected a number of influential IP-related criminal cases and protected the legitimate interests of more than 80 enterprises," said Li Chao, the political commissar of the Intellectual Property Criminal Investigation Division.
This is an energetic and highly skilled team with members at the average age of 35. The Intellectual Property Criminal Investigation Division is mainly in charge of leading, coordinating and guiding the investigation, prevention and control work of city-wide IP-related criminal cases, carrying out study and analysis on city-wide IP-related crimes, and providing legal consultation and publicity and education services for enterprises and the masses. According to Li Chao, this division has adopted an innovative work mode featuring"examination-consultation-treatment" to build a targeted prevention and control system, guarantee the sound development of enterprises and help optimize the business environment of the city. Over the two years since establishment, it has received banners and letters of appreciation from 14 institutions and individuals.
In front of the IP-related challenges brought by technical development, Changsha's public security organs have strengthened themselves through technology. Equipped with big data, they have forged a professional information platform and created a new model for IP protection. At the Monitoring and Early Warning Center of IP Crimes, Li Chao showed reporters how they have made use of technology to facilitate their work. He said that the investigation division could share information with Changsha Intellectual Property Office and other functional departments through access to the government affairs platforms and the information platform of relevant functional department by integrating Government Affairs Cloud, Police Affairs Cloud and relevant social data, so as to jointly build a comprehensive IP protection framework.
"The Intellectual Property Criminal Investigation Division under Changsha Public Security Bureau will spare no effort to provide IP protection for enterprises and crack down on IP-related crimes. We sincerely welcome enterprises to invest in Changsha, and we promise you a first-class business environment,"said Zheng Zhi, leader of the investigation division.
Strengthened administrative protection in key fields
Strengthening administrative protection in key fields is another highlight of Changsha's efforts in IP protection. "In 2019, Changsha promoted comprehensive reform of administrative law enforcement in the field of IP, managed the administrative law enforcement of trademarks, patents and geographical indications in a centralized manner, and organized administrative law enforcement teams at the frontlines in various districts and counties. We adopted the work mode of combining daily patrol and special actions. In key industries and fields with a high incidence of infringements, we carried out special actions like "Escort" and "Iron Fist", which effectively curbed violations of IPRs. We investigated a series of major trademark infringements, such as famous trademarks including'Moutai' and 'Xiangjiao', foreign trademarks including 'Volkswagen', 'Porsche' and 'Benz', registered trademark 'Huogongdian', and geographical indication 'Zhangshugang Pepper',"said Sun Jin, Director of Changsha Intellectual Property Office, adding that the geographical indication infringement case of "Zhangshugang Pepper" and the registered trademark infringement case of "Weichai Power Dedicated Accessories" were rated as "Hunan Top 10 IP Protection Cases in 2019", and Toyota's China IP director Tomohiro Oda once presented a banner to a local relevant department to appreciate their impartial law enforcement and high efficiency in handling cases.
In addition, The People's Procuratorate of Changsha City took the lead among provincial capital cities nationwide to establish the Intellectual Property Procuratorial Bureau and initiated the case handling model that integrates criminal, civil and administrative prosecution as well as such four functions as approval of arrest, lawsuit filing, supervision and prevention; Changsha has also achieved preliminary results in solving IP-related disputes in non-litigation institutions in recent years. Sun Jin told reporters that Changsha Intellectual Property Office aims to provide one-stop service. Over the two years since establishment, it has totally handled 85 cases of right protection assistance and issued 53 position papers on intelligence assistance. It has also established and administrative and juridical litigation-mediation connecting mechanism for IP, and the non-litigation institutions cover all the industrial parks and more than 100 sub-districts (towns) of the city, medicating 488 IP dispute cases. Through a series of measures, joint efforts in IP protection have been formed among administrative departments, justice departments and the society, which has intensified crackdown on infringement of IPRs and improved the efficiency of legal right protection and IP protection, Sun said.
Changsha Intellectual Property Court, the Intellectual Property Criminal Investigation Division under Changsha Public Security Bureau and Changsha Intellectual Property Office are the three key links in Changsha’s whole-chain IP protection. In recent years, Changsha has set up various professional agencies in examination authorization, administrative law enforcement, juridical protection, arbitration and mediation, industry self-regulation and citizen integrity, as well as specialized organs to implement the IP legal system. Changsha has explored a unique path worth spreading to other areas.