China: Intellectual Property Rights Protection In China: Trends In Litigation And Economic Damages - Part 1 of 2

Last Updated: 17 February 2009

Article by Kristina Sepetys and Alan Cox*

Please click here to read Part 2 of this article.


As a result of external pressures and to meet its own economic objectives, China has been moving its intellectual property rights (IPR) regime closer to those found in many more developed nations. As China's economy grows, its transition from manufacturing-based to knowledge-based production, more comprehensive laws, and more attention to enforcement have led to an increase in the number of IPR infringement cases being brought before the courts or taken up through China's administrative procedures. Allowing IP owners to recover their economic damages from infringers is an important component of a system for IPR protection. Properly determined, damage awards can serve as an effective deterrent to IPR violations and protect the incentives to innovate.

While problems of intellectual property infringement are widespread in many areas of the world,1 some Chinese and foreign observers continue to assert that more should be done to deter counterfeiting in China.2 According to many of these observers, IPR owners are generally compensated for only a small proportion of their losses under existing law.3 If these contentions are correct, such low damages discourage the filing of meritorious lawsuits and generally fail to adequately protect intellectual property.

This paper examines the pattern of damages awards by Chinese courts. To put this examination of damage awards in context, we first review the evolution of IPR protection as an economy becomes increasingly dependent on knowledge-based production. For readers who are not familiar with the remedies for IPR infractions in China, we then describe the laws and procedures in China for the protection of IPR, including both judicial and administrative procedures. Finally, we describe the results of a statistical analysis of a unique dataset that we have compiled on recent damage awards in IP cases in China.

We find that, under the administrative systems established in China, penalties and fines for IPR violations generally do not appear to provide adequate deterrence to would-be infringers. Fines are so low that they appear to allow infringers to earn an adequate profit, even if caught and fined. Consequently, most studies suggest that fines represent only a tiny fraction of the estimated sales revenue lost to IPR holders.4

Our review also suggests judicial damage awards for IPR violations in China are low compared to the United States and compared to the likely degree of harm caused. Furthermore, although the frequency of damage awards in IPR cases in China has increased, the average amount awarded has not increased. However, each year there appear to be a few cases which involve significant damages, and these high damage awards appear to be occurring more frequently each year. It also appears that, while damage awards tend to be low, IPR owners typically make low damages claims.

Balancing IPR Protection And Economic Growth In Evolving Economies

IPR protection typically proceeds through a predictable series of stages as a country moves from an economy based upon manufacturing to an economy dependent on the utilization and exploitation of information and advanced technology.5 In the early stages of development, with limited resources and limited capacity for research and development, there may be little or no IPR protection. Domestic industry will be characterized by imitation rather than innovation. Imitation allows for low-cost production, low prices for goods and services, and the stimulation of consumption and employment. A weak IPR regime may support technological growth and development through imitation in early stages of development. At subsequent stages of development, however, a weak IPR regime discourages domestic innovation. Innovation and technological development are drivers of economic growth. Economies that succeed in shifting into knowledge-based production are characterized by domestic innovation, typically supported with well-designed and adequately enforced IPR laws.

A country may face conflicts and challenges while making the transition to a more developed IPR regime. Achieving the benefits of a strong IPR regime may involve incurring short-run costs. These costs include short-term and regional unemployment as labor shifts from infringing activities, and higher prices for consumer goods.6 These costs may create short-term disincentives for enforcing and upholding IPR laws. They will also tend to create divergent interests among different sectors of the economy and among different regions of a country.

Effective IPR enforcement may improve the quality of goods over time and facilitate more effective dissemination of knowledge both domestically and internationally. In a highly developed economy, losses to consumers due to higher prices associated with IPR enforcement will be counterbalanced by the benefits of increased innovation and invention.

The Legal Framework For IPR Protection In China


Over the past two decades, China has steadily developed an infrastructure to protect IPR in pursuit of its own interests at its current stage of development and in order to meet its international commitments. China has joined several international agreements to protect intellectual property7 and drafted and promulgated domestic IPR laws. It has established specialized IP divisions in many courts,8 as well as enforcement processes, and training programs. In November 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since joining the WTO, China has further strengthened its legal framework and amended its IPR laws and regulations in compliance with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

The TRIPS Agreement is particularly significant, as it specifies strong minimum standards for the protection and enforcement of various types of IPR, including copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. The resulting IPR infrastructure in China has been described as an extensive, though not complete, alignment with the IPR regimes in other countries that are party to the WTO Agreement.9

IPR Law Enforcement

There are two primary ways in which an IP owner can seek to assert its IPR in China: through an administrative procedure or through a criminal or civil judicial procedure. The administrative procedure is an unusual approach to dealing with IPR issues and may be unique to China. The judicial course of action is similar to that found in the United States and other Western countries.

Administrative Enforcement: Injunctions, Fines And Penalties

The administrative procedure is the most commonly used method for asserting IPR in China, especially for trademark and copyright matters. It can provide an effective method for adjudicating IPR disputes, though it offers no financial compensation for an IP owner who prevails.

The exact course of action will vary depending on the type of IPR infraction. In general, an owner of intellectual property that suspects infringement may compile evidence to substantiate its claim and even some indication of the location of the facilities in which the alleged infringement of IPR is occurring (e.g., where illegal copies of movie DVDs are being manufactured). Private investigators will frequently be hired to assist in compiling such evidence.

This evidence will be taken to the local branch of the agency responsible for the protection of the relevant form of IPR.10 If the agency agrees to take on the case, it may conduct raids to confiscate illegal goods and equipment and to gather more evidence. It will also issue an order requiring the infringer to cease production. At some point, it will also require the parties to mediate the dispute.11

While administrative agencies cannot award compensation to an IPR holder, they do impose costs on the infringer for its acts of infringement. Administrative agencies may fine copyright infringers and those involved in passing off a patent owned by another entity (known as "passing off").12 They may also seize goods or equipment used in manufacturing products that infringe trademarks.13 Information regarding such administrative actions is usually not made public, making it difficult to assess their effectiveness.14 Some commentators have stated that the costs of seized inventory and machinery are often too small to deter would-be infringers or to put offenders out of business.15

Judicial Enforcement: Compensation And Damages

Parties may pursue civil judicial actions in the local people's court. Though small IP owners may continue to prefer administrative actions, the number of IPR cases pursued through the court system has been increasing.16 This increase appears to be due, in part, to changes to the laws which are designed to strengthen enforcement through court action and to provide more guidance and transparency to those pursuing such remedies. There has also been a successful effort to improve the qualifications of the judges presiding over cases involving IPR.17 Compensation is typically awarded in connection with an order to cease infringing activities and, in the case of copyright infringement, to make a public apology.18 While criminal prosecutions, including imprisonment, are possible under China's IPR law, they are not presently commonplace.19

Usually, cases are first brought to the intermediate people's courts at the municipal and provincial level or, if the case is large enough, to the high people's courts.20 Special divisions that have jurisdiction over intellectual property matters have been established in almost all intermediate courts. There are at least 69 intermediate people's courts with such divisions.21 In courts that do not have such divisions, there are dedicated panels in charge of intellectual property matters.22 Divisions with jurisdiction over intellectual property cases have been established within the high people's court in all provinces. In 1996, the Supreme People's Court also established an intellectual property division. Cases may be appealed to a higher court if a party is dissatisfied with the decision in the first instance. However, the second decision is final and no further appeals are permitted.

Compensation for infringement in China is usually determined with simple calculations. For example, the plaintiff may be awarded an amount large enough to replace profits under the apparently straightforward assumption that plaintiff's sales would have continued at the same rate as occurred before infringement began.

While such calculations may be easy to implement, they often take inadequate account of how the market would have evolved in the absence of the infringement. For instance, the IP owner's products may have been in an early stage of its life cycle at the time that a key patent was first infringed. In such a situation, the IP owner's sales and market share may likely have grown in the future in the absence of the infringement. However, the infringement might have disrupted this potential growth. Thus, the pre-infringement sales levels might be a poor predictor of the sales the IP owner would have achieved had there been no infringement. On the other hand, assuming that the entire loss is the result of infringement might be an overestimation. It could be the case that the infringer might have been able to compete effectively and take away some sales from the patent owner without infringing.23 Such issues of market responses to infringing activity often require expert economic, business, and market analyses to calculate accurate and appropriate damage awards.

In Chinese courts, damages are frequently computed based upon the infringer's unjust enrichment. Since infringers usually sell their illegal copies at a small fraction of the price charged by the IPR owner, damage awards based on unjust enrichment are often modest compared to damage awards based on the IP owner's lost profits from lost sales. Moreover, some infringers do not maintain complete transaction records and the full extent of their gain can be very difficult to determine.

Chinese courts will award legal fees, but review them for reasonableness. They will not award fees that they consider to be excessive.24

Discovery is limited compared to the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other common-law jurisdictions.25 In the United States, for instance, parties to a dispute are entitled to documents from the opposing party's records that may pertain to the dispute.26 By contrast, in China, as in other civil law jurisdictions, plaintiffs can simply petition the people's court to ensure that evidence is preserved. For instance, Article 50 of the Copyright Law allows an aggrieved copyright owner "before instituting proceedings, [to] apply to a people's court for evidence preservation where the evidence is likely to be missing, or to be difficult to obtain later." As is the case generally, in China, this situation may evolve to allow more comprehensive discovery.

In the meantime, new techniques and technologies may help parties in IPR litigation in China to develop more comprehensive and accurate damage estimates. For example, the increasing availability of retail scanner data may make it easier to collect information about past sales.27 In addition, surveys may also help to develop a more comprehensive estimate of infringer's gains due to IPR infringement. A simple survey may, for example, establish market share by randomly selecting the relevant population of consumers and asking which products they own or have recently purchased. A more complex survey may determine the value of a patented feature by asking consumers to select among alternatives with and without the feature at different price points. Such techniques may enable both plaintiffs and defendants to produce more precise and accurate damage estimates.28

As the situation currently stands, however, economic damages claimed and awarded are low compared to those found in the US and other industrialized countries. The relatively low amount of even the largest awards in China is discussed below. Since there are no limits on the damages that can be awarded by a Chinese court, it appears that plaintiffs have generally been unable to provide sufficient evidence to convince a judge that they have suffered extensive damages. Such caution has both economic benefits and costs. Low damage awards have the benefit of reducing the risk of IP owners receiving excessive damage awards unrelated to the actual economic harm suffered. Low damage awards can result in the wider use of a technology to the benefit of consumers since a company will expect that, even if convicted of infringement, it probably will not have a large judgment awarded against it. The expectation of lower damages will also encourage companies to attempt to design around a patent. Frequently such a design-around may be found to infringe, despite the defendant's attempt to avoid a legal dispute. With generally low damage awards, the costs of having attempted to innovate around a piece of IP are also low.29

But damage awards significantly below the actual economic harm suffered can impose real economic costs on the economy. If infringers are not adequately deterred from infringing, there tends to be insufficient protection for innovators and decreased incentives to invest in research and development. Low damages have been recognized as compromising the effectiveness of the IPR system in China. The challenge is to find the balance between providing adequate compensation to those who have suffered losses from infringement, and not imposing damages so high as to suppress innovation by companies trying to design around others' patents.

More detail regarding patent, trademark, and copyright infringement fine and penalty assessment and damage calculations in China is described in the table below.

Table 1. Damage Estimation In IPR Cases In China

Type of Action






Basis for Damage Award

Not more than 3×earnings from passing off only.33

3×volume of illegal business.34

3×volume of illegal business35 and an apology.36

Award When Illegal Earnings Cannot Be Determined

Fines may not exceed $6,000 for passing off only.

Fines may not exceed $12,000.

Fines may not exceed $12,000.



Basis for Damage Award

Plaintiff chooses damages based on losses suffered by the patentee, or the gain or profits which the infringer has earned through the infringement.37

Calculation of Damage Award

Calculated as patent owner's lost sales or infringer's sales multiplied by reasonable profit for each product, or one to three times a reasonable royalty.

Disgorgement: infringers' profits or, if they cannot be determined, the profit margin for the plaintiff may be used.
Lost profits: calculated as the sales amount of the infringing product times the profit margin of genuine product.

Actual loss of the right owner or, if that cannot be determined, unlawful income of the infringer. If neither can be determined, compensation of up to $60,000 depending on circumstances.39

If there is no reasonable license, If there is no reasonable license, $605 and $36,000, but not more than US$60,500.

Where neither the plaintiff's loss nor the infringer's profits may be determined, law permits payment of statutory damages up to $60,000.38


Recent IP Damage Awards In China

To investigate the trends in damage awards in IPR cases, we reviewed information on 179 cases filed in Chinese courts between 2002 and spring 2008. The main allegation in each of these cases was of patent, trademark, copyright, or trade dress infringement. These cases either settled, resulted in findings of guilt, or were unresolved at the time the data were compiled. Twenty of the cases primarily involved patents; 54 involved copyrights; 100 involved trademarks; two involved trade dress; two involved trade secrets; and one involved domain name disputes.

The information was drawn from more than 15 different sources, including Chinese government agencies, news stories in Chinese and international media, law firm newsletters, and other reports. We compiled data on all cases about which we could find information. The Chinese government and press have published information and data about most of these cases, several of which involve significant, record-setting damage awards.

However, our entire database represents a very small fraction of the IP cases decided in China during the period. By way of comparison, the number of IP cases filed in China grew from about 3,500 per year during the period from 1991 to 1996 to over 14,000 in 2006.40 The particular cases appearing in our sample are not a random sample of the entire universe of cases, and thus we caution against extrapolating precise conclusions from our sample to the entire universe. The thousands of other cases for which we do not have data may have involved low or no damages.41 Nevertheless, the information is helpful in suggesting broad trends regarding the companies involved in IP litigation and the range of damage awards.

All values are shown in US dollars at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of the award.

Summary Of Key Findings

  • More than 90 percent of all IPR damages awarded in China are under $100,000.
  • The median damage award across all IPR cases in China in 2006-2007 was approximately $15,000.
  • The median damages award is approximately 15 percent of the IP owner's damages claim.
  • In cases involving a Chinese plaintiff and a Chinese defendant, the plaintiff received a lower median award than when the plaintiff was foreign.
  • Companies based in the US, France, Japan, and Germany make up 50 percent of plaintiffs in the cases reviewed, but less than 5 percent of defendants.
  • Courts in Beijing and Shanghai hear the most IP cases tried in China.
  • The highest damage award in each of the last five calendar years are:
    • 2004: $50,000
    • 2005: $1,100,000
    • 2006: $210,226
    • 2007: $44,300,000
    • 2008: $2,780,000 (to date)

Plaintiffs And Defendants

As is shown in Table 2, in the large majority of the cases in our sample, the defendant is a company located in China. In the balance of cases, the defendant most frequently is a company based in the US, France, Japan, or Germany. Only 38 percent of plaintiffs are China-based entities; the others are located in the same countries as non-China-based defendants. One might expect that countries with the highest levels of foreign investment in China would also be the countries where companies bringing the most IPR cases are headquartered. However, it is interesting to note that the home countries associated with the countries bringing the largest percentage of IPR cases only roughly comport with the amount of direct foreign investment from these countries. Sources of the highest foreign direct investment in China include Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the US, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.42 There are no Singapore-based plaintiffs in our sample, only two plaintiffs from the United Kingdom and one from Taiwan. This pattern may be the result of the high proportion of trademark and copyright cases in our sample since the countries listed on Table 2 may be the source of many of the more valuable and sought-after copyrights and trademarks. Or it may simply be a function of the size of our dataset, relative to the total number of cases litigated.

Table 2. Top Five Home Countries As Plaintiff And Defendant




Percentage of Cases


Percentage of Cases





















* Includes litigants from Hong Kong.

That possibility is confirmed somewhat by noting that the most frequently appearing plaintiffs in our sample are large and well-known international companies, including Nike, Sanofi-Aventis, Warner Brothers Entertainment, and Yamaha. Some companies appear several times in our sample, particularly those in the sports clothing, music, and entertainment industries. Table 3 lists some of the plaintiffs most frequently encountered in the data.

Table 3. Companies That Appear Most Frequently In The Data

Number of Observations in Data

Company Name


Columbia Picture Corp.


Paramount Pictures; SONY; Walt Disney


Alfred Dunhill; Universal City Studios; 20th Century Fox; Puma; Warner Music




Adidas-Salomon AG; Parker Pen; Louis Vuitton


Nike; Levi Strauss & Co.

The cases we reviewed involve a variety of industries, with many related to consumer goods and electronics. Table 4 shows the industries in our sample in which IPR is litigated most frequently. Cases in the clothing industry primarily involved trademark issues. Of all of the clothing cases, 23 percent featured plaintiffs from France, while 17 percent included plaintiffs from Germany. Cases with a plaintiff from China constituted 20 percent of the clothing cases in our sample.

Table 4. Filings By Industry


Percentage of Cases

Median Award

Percentage of Cases Cases in Which Non-Chinese Company is Plaintiff





Computer Software
















Electronics without Chint/Schneider




Courts And Jurisdictions

Table 5 shows the courts that appear most frequently in our sample. The most frequent venue was Beijing, followed by Shanghai. The remaining cases were tried in other cities throughout China. This is consistent with what appears to be a general consensus about the relative quality of courts. Both Beijing and Shanghai courts are apparently held in relatively high regard, which contributes to the large number of cases brought there. Cases also tend to move more quickly in Shanghai courts.43 Among the cases in our sample, the Shanghai courts had a relatively higher proportion of non-Chinese plaintiffs.

Table 5. Filings By Court


Cases Reviewed Involving This Court**

Proportion Of Foreign Companies Filing

Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court



Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court



Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court



Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court



Beijing Higher People's Court



Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court






* Data included only for cases in which a court is specified.

** Cases tried or appealed in more than one court are counted as a "case reviewed" in each of those courts.


* Senior Consultant and Senior Vice President at NERA Economic Consulting.

We wish to acknowledge helpful reviews and editorial suggestions from Gregory Leonard, Lauren Stiroh, Fei Deng, Phil Beutel, Hao Ma, Guizeng Liu, and Mark Cohen. We are grateful for research and data support from Yanina Koval, Dan Shapiro and Tyler Pines. Any remaining errors are the responsibility of the authors.

1. For instance, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International surveyed its members and determined that, while 71 percent expressed serious to very serious concern about infringement in "Mainland China," 64 percent expressed the same concerns about North America. The Software & Information Industry Association estimates that the software industry loses $11 to $12 billion annually to software piracy. Of this, almost half comes from Asia, with China and Indonesia identified as the biggest offenders. Western Europe accounts for between $2.5 and $3 billion dollars in piracy. About $2 billion in piracy losses come from North America with one in every four copies of business application software being used illegally. See, accessed 27 October 2008. The 2008 Special 301 Report also places the following countries on its Priority Watch List: Russia, Argentina, Chile, India, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand, and Venezuela.

2. The 2008 Special 301 Report prepared by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (OUSTR) notes that "Despite anti-piracy campaigns in China and an increasing number of IPR cases in Chinese courts, overall piracy and counterfeiting levels in China remained unacceptably high in 2007." The OUSTR does not provide backup data for these statistics, so we cannot determine what other changes might have occurred to give context to these numbers. A report commissioned by the Business Software Alliance estimated that software piracy resulted in global losses of $34 billion in 2005. Of that, $3.9 billion was lost due to piracy in China, compared to $6.9 billion in the United States. However, the rate of piracy in China was estimated to be 86 percent in China compared to 21 percent in the United States. See Candace Lombardi, "Study: Software Piracy Costs $34 billion," CNET, 23 May 2006. The 22 September 2008 issue of China Daily quotes Ni Guangnan, of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who points out that piracy serves to reinforce the large market shares of companies like Microsoft at the expense of Chinese and other software, because with low penalties, it is presumably cheaper to imitate than to invent.

3. "Inadequate IPR enforcement is a key factor contributing to these shortcomings, with high criminal thresholds, as well as difficulties in initiating or transferring cases for criminal prosecution resulting in limited deterrence." Civil damages are also low, according to the 2008 Special 301 Report prepared by the OUSTR.

4. The costs associated with counterfeiting are difficult to calculate. For examples of some estimates see, for instance, OECD, "Counting the Costs: the Economic Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy" (January 2007), accessed 27 October 2008, and U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs, "Trade Official Urges China to Punish IPR Violators Forcefully," at, accessed 27 October 2008.

5. See, for example, Jesse David, Christian Dippon, Sourav Chatterjee, Fei Deng, and Mario Lopez, "Intellectual Property Rights in Developing Nations," Report for the Intellectual Property Institute, 20 February 2008.

6. One estimate from 2006 puts the number of people engaged in manufacturing, distributing, and selling of products that infringe copyrights and trademarks at 20 million. Harley I. Lewin, "The Future of Intellectual Property Rights in China," Portfolio Media. Inc., 16 March 2006.

7. China has joined nearly all major international IPR conventions, including the World Intellectual Property Organization, in 1980; the Paris Convention, in 1984; the Madrid Protocol and the Washington Convention, in 1989; the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, in 1992; the Geneva Phonograms Convention, in 1993; and the Patent Cooperation Treaty, in 1994. China also adheres to several other conventions governing specific industries or disciplines, such as the revised International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants.

8. China has established special IPR courts in several provinces and cities to ensure that experts familiar with IPR laws and regulations may hear and preside over cases. For more information, see

9. Sumner La Croix and Denise Eby Konan, "Intellectual Property Rights in China: The Changing Political Economy of Chinese-American Interests," East West Center Working Papers, No. 39 (January 2002): 19-20, available at, accessed 11 November 2008.

10. Article 57 of the Patent Law and Article 53 of the Trademark Law both call for the parties to attempt to settle a dispute through consultation before taking a complaint to the administrative authority for patent affairs.

11. Article 57 of the Patent Law explicitly calls for mediation, though mediation may also be encouraged for trademark and copyright matters under some circumstances.

12. Article 36 of the Regulations for Implementing the Copyright Law. The administrative authority for patent affairs may fine a company that passes off a non-patented product as a patented product or passes off a patent owned by another entity as its own. See Article 58, "Where any person passes off the patent of another person as his own, he shall, in addition to bearing his civil liability according to law, be ordered by the administrative authority for patent affairs to amend his act, and the order shall be announced. His illegal earnings shall be confiscated and, in addition, he may be imposed a fine of not more than three times his illegal earnings and, if there is no illegal earnings, a fine of not more than RMB 50,000 Yuan. Where the infringement constitutes a crime, he shall be prosecuted for his criminal liability." Passing off is the only offense that results in a fine imposed through the administrative procedure.

13. Article 45 of the Regulations for Implementing the Trademark Law.

14. At least one source describes administrative actions as not being effective. International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), 2004 Special 301 Report: People's Republic of China, 40.

15. "The trademark and copyright industries continue to point out that administrative fines are too low to provide a deterrent, and as a result, infringers continue to consider administrative seizures and fines as a cost of doing business. OUSTR, 2008 Special 301 Report.

16. "China's courts have seen a near 50 percent annual increase in the number of cases concerning Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations involving foreign firms since the country joined the World Trade Organization. From 2002 to 2006, China's courts settled 931 civil cases of IPR violation at first instance trials with an annual increase of 48 percent on average. In 2006, China's courts settled 353 civil cases of IPR violation at first instance trials, up 52 percent on the previous year, according the Supreme People's Court." China State Intellectual Property Office,, accessed 20 November 2008.

17. In its 2004 301 Report, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) remarks upon the growing sophistication and effectiveness of the IPR courts throughout China and the fact that Chinese and US rights holders are using the civil system more frequently. See OUSTR 2004 Special 301 Report: People's Republic of China, 43.

18. Articles 46 and 47 of the Copyright Law.

19. The 2008 Special 301 Report prepared by the OUSTR states: "Unfortunately, there has been no sign yet of a significant shift in emphasis toward criminal enforcement. The safe harbors from criminal liability created by China's high thresholds for criminal liability (i.e., minimum values or volumes required to initiate criminal prosecution, normally calculated on the basis of the infringer's actual or marked price) continue to be a major reason for the lack of an effective criminal deterrent."

20. "[A]bout 90 percent of intellectual property cases in China have been tried at first instance by courts at intermediate levels or above." Torremans, Paul, Hailing Shan, and Johan Erauw Intellectual Property and TRIPS Compliance in China: Chinese and European Perspectives Edward Elgar Publishing, 2007.

21. Deshan Li and Hao Zhang, "The Costs of Infringement," in Managing Intellectual Property, IP Focus, China, 6th Edition, 1 April 2008, p.51., accessed 10 November 2008.

22. Torremans et al. (cited above) count 170 intellectual property divisions and 140 dedicated intellectual property panels.

23. For a discussion of these points, see Grain Processing Corp. v. American Maize-Products Co., F.3d (Fed. Cir. 1999). For an economic critique of the decision, see Hausman, Jerry; Leonard, Gregory K. and Sidak, Gregory J., "Patent Damages and Real Options: How Judicial Characterization of Non-Infringing Alternatives Reduces Incentives to Innovate," Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Vol. 22, Fall 2007.

24. In a copyright case brought by Walt Disney Inc. against Beijing Publishing House, the Court ruled that it was unfair for compensation for legal fees to be calculated on the basis of fees negotiated between Disney and its attorneys. The court based its award for fees on the basis of "correspondent regulations by relevant government authorities." See, accessed 2 September 2008.

25. Pejovic, Caslav "Civil Law and Common Law: Two Different Paths Leading to the Same Goal," Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, Vol. 32, (2001) p. 832.

26. This often includes detailed cost accounting records, business plans, demand studies, and technical documents. The staff of companies on both sides of the dispute may be questioned by lawyers on the opposing side under oath. Lawyers for both sides have a professional responsibility to ensure that document requests from the other side are respected. Failure to comply with the rules of discovery can result in severe sanctions.

27. Scanner data may have already had an impact on proceedings arising from the newly enforced Anti-Monopoly Law.

28. For a discussion of these issues, see Eugene P. Eriksen and Sarah M. Butler, "The Use of Surveys in Intellectual Property Disputes" in Leonard, Gregory K, and Lauren J. Stiroh (eds.) Economic Approaches to Intellectual Property; Policy, Litigation, and Management, NERA Economic Consulting, 2005.

29. 5 Nw. J. of Tech. & Intell. Prop. 449 at, accessed 11 November 2008.

30. Patent Law of the People's Republic of China. See, accessed 27 October 2008.

31. Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China. See, accessed 20 November 2008.

32. Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China. See, accessed 20 November 2008.

33. Article 58.

34. Administrative fines for infringement the Trademark Law are from Article 52 of the Regulations for Implementation of the Trademark Law.

35. Administrative fines for infringement the Copyright Law are from Article 36 of the Regulations for Implementation of the Copyright Law.

36. Article 47 of the Copyright Law.

37. See, for instance, Article 60 of Patent Law of the People's Republic of China.

38. Articles 14–16 of the Interpretation by the Supreme People's Court of Several Issues Relating to Application of Law to Trial of Cases of Civil Disputes over Trademarks.

39. Article 48 of the Copyright Law.

40. According to the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO), in 2006, "14,056 first-instance civil cases concluded." An article by Former Judge Cheng Yong-Shun in the Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law (9 Duke J. of Comp. & Int'l L. 26) published in 1998 reported that "from 1991 to 1996, Chinese courts accepted 19,404 cases of intellectual property civil disputes (of which 17,588 cases were decided). These cases included 4,138 patent dispute cases (of which 3,687 cases were decided); 3,036 copyright dispute cases (of which 2,892 cases were decided); 1,227 trademark dispute cases (of which 1,095 cases were decided); 8,162 technology contract dispute cases (of which 7,208 cases were decided); and 2,841 other cases, including infringement of trade secrets (of which 2,706 cases were decided)." This suggests roughly 3500 cases a year were decided between 1991-96. As the more recent figures from SIPO suggest, it is reasonable to assume this number has grown considerably, as the number of cases filed has grown exponentially since the early 1990s.

41. Our data probably does not reflect the proportion of IP cases between Chinese companies.

42. China Statistical Data, "Foreign Direct Investment by Country or Territory," (January-February 2007),, accessed 27 October 2008. Also, "FDI up 10.87% in first 9 months." Xinhua News Agency, 13 October 2007. These figures do not include other sources that appear to be important contributors to foreign direct investment into China but which appear to be conduits for Chinese companies to invest back into mainland China. These include Hong Kong, Macao, the British Virgin Islands, and Samoa. Companies from other countries will also use these jurisdictions as places from which to invest into China.

43. 2008 Special 301 prepared by the OUSTR states: "Beijing courts enjoy a generally good reputation, which contributes to Beijing having the nation's highest number of civil IPR cases. Shanghai is also increasingly becoming the venue of choice for foreign companies filing IP-related cases because of the expertise and competency of Shanghai judicial officials."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.