Courts increase penalties for offenders in high-tech areas
Innovators in China have been given stronger protection over the past five years, thanks to greater judicial efforts in the intellectual property rights field, the country's top court and top procuratorate said.
From 2018 to 2022, Chinese judicial authorities strengthened protection of IP rights to facilitate innovation-driven development, with harsher punishments for IP infringements, according to work reports of the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Court.
The reports were submitted on Tuesday to the ongoing first session of the 14th National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, for deliberation.
In terms of improving legal services for innovation-driven development, courts across the country intensified IP protection of key technologies and emerging and major industries, Zhou Qiang, president of the SPC, said while briefing national lawmakers on the SPC report.
According to the report, judges heard a number of cases involving high-tech areas such as 5G communication, new energies, new materials and high-end equipment manufacturing.
Data showed that courts across the country concluded more than 2.19 million IP cases between 2018 and 2022, up 221.1 percent compared with the previous five-year period.
Given frequent public complaints that penalties for IP infringements were too low, courts nationwide increased punitive damages against violators. The amount of compensation awarded for IP infringement cases in 2022 rose by 153 percent compared with 2018, the report said.
Over the past five years, an IP court was established at the Hainan Free Trade Port in Hainan province, adding to three such courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province. The four courts were set up to handle the rising number of IP cases.
Procuratorate organs nationwide also attached great importance to IP protection. Offices specializing in tackling IP cases have been established in procuratorial agencies in 29 provincial-level regions, according to the SPP work report delivered by Procurator-General Zhang Jun.
Prosecutors also worked with the China National Intellectual Property Administration and the National Copyright Administration to jointly solve major or influential IP cases, the SPP report said.
Data showed that 13,000 offenders were prosecuted in 2022 over breaches of trademarks, patents, copyrights and business secrets, a 51.2 percent rise from 2018.
Chinese judicial authorities have also improved the capacity of the justice system to handle cases involving foreign entities over the past five years, to better serve the country's high-level opening-up.
According to the SPC report, courts nationwide concluded 95,000 foreign-related commercial cases and 76,000 maritime cases from 2018 to 2022, with a total of 10 special courts established to handle international commercial disputes.
With an impartial, efficient and transparent maritime justice system, more foreign entities have chosen Chinese courts to settle their disputes, it said.
During the same period, Chinese prosecutors also endeavored to protect the legitimate rights of litigants from home and abroad while handling more than 20,000 foreign-related criminal cases, the SPP report added.