Public satisfaction over China's IP protection in 2020, the last year of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), scored 80.05 out of 100, up 1.07 points from 2019 and 11.33 points higher than the last year of the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), according to the second-quarter press conference of China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) on April 26.
"The results demonstrated the country's efforts in IP protection have gained wide recognition," Zhang Zhicheng, Director General of CNIPA's Intellectual Property Protection Department, gave the gist of the report.
The year 2020 marks the ninth year that CNIPA performs such nationwide survey (not in the regions of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan), inviting the public to grade an array of IP issues including law and policy protection, enforcement, administration and services, publicity and education. Over 12,000 valid samples were collected in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.
Public gave the highest score to law and policy protection at 82.77. The Chinese IP system, in the eyes of 96.94% of those surveyed, is getting better. "The facts that the revised Patent Law and the Copyright Law were passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in 2020 and the revised Trademark law took effect in 2019 reflect the Chinese IP system is constantly improving and has been widely acknowledged by the public," Zhang said.
Satisfaction over enforcement leapt up the most, reaching 78.93 - 1.60 points higher than that in 2019. Curbing IP infringements is moving in the right direction, as believed by 85.46% of those surveyed. Several CNIPA enforcement guidelines, including the Criteria on Determining Trademark Infringement and the Guidelines for Cracking Down on Patent Counterfeiting and Handling Patent Marking Nonconformity Cases, may have played a role in this, clarifying enforcement protocols and upgrading case-handling quality.
Since issuance of the Guideline on Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights Protection jointly by the general offices of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council in 2019, government agencies nationwide have been drafting their own measures to ensure concrete implementation of the above Guideline. As of now, 30 provinces, autonomous regions and cities in China have done so. The survey reports the first-ever 80 rated for IP administration and services - 80.22. Government agencies' growing efforts in IP protection are recognized by 94.11% of those surveyed.
The score on publicity and education of IP protection is also on the rise, hitting 77.81, 0.44 point higher than the previous year, as 90.18% of those surveyed thought that publicity and education of IP protection is more visible in the society. This may benefit from activities such as annual weeklong IP publicity campaign and constant media coverage, leading to uptick of the public's IP awareness.
Three groups of surveyed subjects - right owners, professionals and the public, are more satisfied with the system than 2019, grading 80.71, 80.44 and 76.99 respectively. In another category, four types of companies including joint venture ones, as main users of the IP system, all gave scores above 80. Joint venture companies are the most generous with 82.41, followed by foreign-invested ones (81.70), state-owned (81.47) and domestic private (80.17). The results indicated that companies think highly of the law and policy protection and the implementation of the laws and regulations and policy documents related to IP protection have gained positive recognition from right owners.
Industry wise, power/heating and wholesale/retail are among the most contented with the former scoring 4.42 more points (biggest growth) to 82.86. According to the China Power Industry Development Annual Report 2020 issued by the China Electricity Council, major power companies' investment in science and technology was 74.67 billion yuan in 2019, while filing 40,108 patent applications at home. Evidently IP users from power/heating and the energy industry in general acknowledge the country's achievements in IP protection.
In a bid to provide a policy guidance for strict IP protection, China has promulgated the Civil Code, completed the amendments of the Patent Law, the Copyright Law and the Criminal Law and established the system on punitive damages over willful infringements, dramatically driving up statutory damages and criminal punishments. In order to help construct a comprehensive protection work system, the revision of the Provisions on the Transfer of Suspected Criminal Cases by Administrative Authorities was finished, lubricating the connection between administrative enforcement agencies and criminal justice authorities. Centering on reinforcing rapid protection in key links, a new batch of IP protection centers and rapid right enforcement centers were established in 2020, assisting law enforcement agencies in handling 17,000 cases, concluding 98.3% of the cases, finishing each case within an average 11.6 days. Some actions were taken to advance equal protection and build a sound business environment, such as the signing of the China-EU GI agreement, the implementation of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances and the establishment of WIPO's Shanghai Center for Arbitration and Mediation. In the meantime, local branches of the national oversea IP dispute and guidance center were built and operated effectively, having dealt with more than 300 foreign-related cases.
The survey corroborates the achievements of the development of the Chinese IP system, and also lays down the next steps. "We find that there are general expectations for the fight against IP infringements and improvement of the promptness and adequacy of monetary damages," Zhang concluded, adding that CNIPA will further analyze the survey results to make according adjustments in policies for better IP protection throughout the entire IP system.