Revised Patent Law Boosts Innovation and Development, Taking Effect on June 1, 2021
Why was the law amended?
Since the Chinese Patent Law went into effect on April 1, 1985, it has been amended four times, playing an important role in inspiring innovation. Evolving changes in the society throw new challenges at the patent law, such as low commercialization rate and restricted access to discovery and high cost in enforcing rights.
The revised patent law taking effect on June 1, 2021 aims to solve these nagging problems once for all, being of great significance in protecting legitimate interests of right holders, boosting innovators' confidence in patent protection and fully inspiring innovation in society.
What are the relevant measures to further strengthen IP protection?
In a bid to enhance protection over the legitimate interests of patent holders, the amendment has adopted a punitive damage system, allowing courts to award damages up to five times over the right holders' losses, or infringers' profits or reasonable patent royalties for malicious infringement. The upper limit of statutory damages is driven up to 5 million yuan and the lower limit to 30,000 yuan. The significant increase of the infringement cost reflects China's attitude and determination to enhance IP protection.
What are the changes on promoting patent commercialization and use?
An open license system, a service invention system and public services of patent information are added to promote patent commercialization, realize the value of patents and support innovation and development of the real economy. The open license system is an important legal system to promote the commercialization and implementation of patents, the core of which is to encourage the patentee to open the patent right to the society, promote the connection between supply and demand and patent implementation. The amended law installs provisions of the elements of open license statement and its being effective in an attempt to solve information asymmetry problems sourced from patent supply and demand parties and improve patent commercialization efficiency.
What are the changes on improving the design system?
Partial designs have become an important type of product designs. With an increasing number of Chinese companies are venturing out and more adept at designing, they have an actual need for acquiring protection for partial designs at oversea markets. Protection of partial designs aligns with such need and international practice, enabling Chinese companies to maneuver under different legislations, further expand global markets and position themselves better for competition.
The protection term of design patents is extended to 15 years, meeting innovators' diversified needs on protection term and paving way for China's accession to The Hague Agreement concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs. In addition, domestic priority is available for design patents. If a design application of the same subject is filed within six months from the date on which the initial application was filed, the applicant may claim priority of the initial application, thus lowering filing costs.
Revised Copyright Law Meets Demands of the Times, Taking Effect on June 1, 2021
What is behind the revision?
On June 1, 2021, the revised copyright law went into force. When the amendment was launched for the third time in 2011, the target was clarified to make a new law aligned with the digital economy and the reality and with an eye on the world and the future. The ten-year revision journey fully demonstrates the open and scientific legislative spirits, meets the needs of the digital age and appropriately connects with the civil code and the international copyright treaties.
What are the changes on adapting with the technological progress?
As changes in channels and approaches of content distribution happened following technological advancements, how to protect the newcomers has been a lingering challenge for the digital content industry. In this regard, the revised law tweaked the definition of works and their types in the Article 3. For example, the definition of works is changed to "intellectual achievements that are original in the fields of literature, art and science, and can be expressed in a certain form" and the expression of "cinematographic works and works created in a way similar to cinematography" is adjusted to "audiovisual works", all of which mean that the scope of copyright protection is further expanded.
In a bid to follow the technical development trend, the revision clarifies relevant rules and laws involving the application of digital technology. For example, provisions related to "digitized" reproduction of works are added.
What are the relevant measures to crack down on infringements?
In an effort to tackle the lingering problems in copyright protection, such as high-cost and time-consuming litigation, the new law adds punitive damages to improve the cost of infringement, raising the maximum of the statutory damages to 5 million yuan and the minimum to 500 yuan and allowing courts to award punitive damages equal to the amount of regular damages but no more than five times for intentional and malicious infringements.
How does the new law keep consistent with international treaties?
China has positively kept in line with international treaties, fulfilling international obligations and constructing its own identity as a great nation. The revision reinforces the link with international treaties likewise. For instance, the provision of performers' rental rights in Paragraph 8 of Article 52 is consistent with the relevant regulations in the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. According to the new law, the manner of "providing published works to a dyslexic person in a perceivable and accessible way" is regarded as reasonable use of copyright, laying a basis for China to approve Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.