"Status of Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Chinese Courts (2022)" is the new Report released by China's Supreme People's Court ("SPC") on April 20, 2023.

After the Annual report of the SPC's IP Court published in March 2022 and only relating to technology disputes dealt by the SPC in appeal instance (see our article here), this new document focuses on IP litigations heard by all courts around China. Therefore, it also includes trademarks, copyright and unfair competition cases.

According to the new Report, in 2022 the courts newly docketed 526,165 IP cases in total (first instance, second instance, and retrial), marking a year-on-year decrease of 18.17%. Also, the courts concluded in total 543,379 cases (including carried over cases) which means -9.67% comparing to the previous year.

Herein some additional data extracted from the Report.

Civil cases

In 2022, local people's courts newly docketed 438,480 civil IP cases of first instance and concluded 457,805, a year-on-year decrease of 0.31% and 11.25%, respectively. In these newly accepted cases, the number of patent cases increased by 23.25%; trademark cases dropped by 9.82%; copyright cases decreased by 29.07%; technology contract cases grew by 5.55%; competition cases increased by 11.51%; other cases of civil IP disputes fell by 15.66%.

Fabio Giacopello, senior partner with HFG, notes that "the overall decrease of cases shall not much worry Chinese or foreign stakeholders. 2022 was a very difficult year for Chinese economy and therefore it is understandable temporary a drop in cases. Also, it is worth highlighting that the decrease concerns the non-technological fields of IP. Copyright cases are almost -30%, anti-unfair competition cases -15%, trademark cases mark -10%, while patents disputes are growing (+23%) and so do the technology contracts disputes (+5%)".

Administrative cases

Local courts newly docketed 20,634 administrative IP cases of first instance and concluded 17,630, a year-on-year increase of 0.35% and decrease of 8.85%, respectively. Among those newly accepted cases, the number of patent cases increased by 3.65%, trademark cases grew by 4%, and copyright cases fell by 7%.

Criminal cases

Local courts newly docketed 5,336 criminal IP cases of first instance and concluded 5,456, down 14.98% and 9.76% respectively.

In particular, 4,971 trademark infringement criminal cases were newly accepted, and 5,099 were concluded, a year-on-year drop of 15.3% and 9.86%, respectively; 304 copyright infringement criminal cases were newly accepted, and 302 were concluded, down 8.71% and 7.93%.

As a final - Fabio Giacopello noted that "Among all the information contained in the report the most relevant is most probably not actually a data. Chinese leadership is repeating again and again that the key the future development of the country is not quantitative but qualitative. The incipit of the report itself contains this IP mantra: IP and technological innovation are essential to the modernization of the country".

You can find the full report here (Chinese and English).

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