State Council Issues ‘2023 Outline for Building an Intellectual Powerhouse and the Implementation and Promotion Plan for the 14th Five-Year Plan'
Release Date: 27 July 2023
The Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference Office of the State Council for the Implementation of National Intellectual Property Strategy has issued a ‘2023 Outline for Building an Intellectual Powerhouse and the Implementation and Promotion Plan for the 14th Five-Year Plan' (the Plan). The Plan sets out seven key tasks for 2023: improving the intellectual property system; strengthening intellectual property protection; enhancing the operation mechanism of the intellectual property market; improving the quality of public intellectual property services; creating a favourable cultural and social environment for intellectual property innovation; actively participating in global intellectual property governance; and strengthening organizational security. The Plan includes 135 specific measures.
Taking the improvement of the intellectual property system as an example, the Plan calls for improving intellectual property laws, regulations, and rules; reforming and improving major policies on intellectual property; and refining intellectual property rules in emerging and specific areas. It specifically proposes measures such as completing the amendment of relevant laws and regulations, including Regulations for the Implementation of the Patent Law of the People's Republic of China; implementing the establishment of first-class patent and trademark examination institutions; and accelerating the establishment of intellectual property protection rules for data.
In terms of strengthening intellectual property protection, the Plan emphasizes the need to strengthen judicial protection of intellectual property rights; enhance administrative protection of intellectual property rights; and improve the collaborative protection framework. It puts forward specific measures such as advancing reform of the national-level trial mechanism for intellectual property appeal cases; strengthening professional guidance for trademark and patent enforcement; and constructing national intellectual property protection demonstration zones with high standards.
Source: The State Council of the People's Republic of China
The Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council Jointly Released ‘Guidelines on Promoting the Development and Growth of the Private Economy'
Release Date: 19 July 2023
The jointly released guidelines aim generally to improve conditions in the private sector and promote the growth and development of the private economy. The fourth part of the Opinions emphasizes the need to strengthen the rule of law to protect the interests of private businesses to assist in the development and growth of the private economy. Article 12 in this fourth part sets out the objective of “Continuously Improving the Intellectual Property Protection System,” which includes the following specific requirements:
- Increase the protection of original innovation for small and medium-sized private enterprises.
- Strictly implement rules relating to punitive damages and the grant of interlocutory relief in intellectual property infringement actions.
- Establish a rapid handling mechanism for intellectual property infringement and administrative non-litigation enforcement, and improve the cross-regional jurisdiction system of intellectual property courts.
- Research and improve intellectual property protection measures to encourage business improvement, cultural creativity, and other innovative achievements.
- Severely crack down on unfair competition acts such as infringement of trade secrets, counterfeiting, and trademark squatting.
- Increase the punishment for criminal intellectual property infringement.
- Improve the guidance mechanism for Chinese companies dealing with overseas intellectual property disputes.
Source: The State Council of the People's Republic of China
China's Cyberspace Administration (CAC) and Six Other Departments Jointly Issue Interim Measures for the Management of Generative Artificial Intelligence Services
Release Date: 13 July 2023
The Interim Measures for the Management of Generative Artificial Intelligence Services (the Measures), which regulate the provision of artificial intelligence generated content (AIGC) services, include compliance requirements of AIGC technology and its training data, the accountability of AIGC service providers, as well as rules for manual data labelling, complaints handling mechanisms, and legal consequences.
According to the Measures, all activities related to the provision, use, and training of AIGC must comply with laws and regulations, respect social morality and ethics, and not infringe upon other's intellectual property rights and trade secrets or engage in any monopolistic or unfair competition acts. In addition, it also must not infringe upon other's legitimate rights and interests such as personal information and privacy. In terms of liability, the Measures clarify that AIGC service providers who process personal information bear the same responsibilities as network information content producers and personal information processors. If an AIGC service provider finds that users are misusing AIGC, it shall take appropriate measures such as sending warnings, imposing restrictions on the user's functions, suspending or terminating its services, and reporting the misuse to the competent authorities. Providers who violate the Measures may face administrative penalties or bear criminal liability.
Source: The Cyberspace Administration of China
JDB Group Ordered to Pay Compensation of 317 Million Yuan (Approx. US$ 44 Million) for Infringement of WongLoKat Trademark
Date: 10 July 2023
Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Corporation is the owner of the registered trademark ‘WongLoKat'. In 1995, Hongdao Group (HK), the parent company of Jiaduobao (JDB) Group, obtained an exclusive licence to use the ‘WongLoKat' trademark and invested in extensive formula research and advertising, which increased the trademark's value to over 100 billion yuan (approx. US$ 14 billion). The licence was originally set to expire in 2010, but subsequently extended by two supplementary agreements to 2023. In 2012, these supplementary agreements were held to be invalid by China's International Economic and Trader Arbitration Commission. The Hongdao Group then rebranded its herbal tea as ‘Jiaduobao' and in 2014, Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Corporation filed a trademark infringement action against six JDB companies, including JDB (China) Beverage Co., Ltd., seeking compensation of 2.93 billion yuan (approx. US$ 405 million) for economic loss caused by the infringement of its registered ‘WongLoKat' trademark for the period 2010 to 2012. This initiated a legal battle between Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Corporation and JDB Group that has lasted nearly a decade.
In 2018, the Guangdong High People's Court (Guangdong High Court) ruled at first instance that the JDB Group had infringed and should pay compensation of 1.44 billion yuan (approx. US$ 199 million) to Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Corporation. Both parties appealed to the Supreme People's Court (the SPC). On 17 June 2019, the SPC returned the case to the Guangdong High Court for retrial, citing significant deficiencies in the main evidence provided by Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Corporation. On 10 July 2023, the result of the retrial was announced, with the Guangdong High Court confirming that the six JDB companies had jointly infringed Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Corporation's exclusive rights to use the ‘WongLoKat' trademark and ordering the JDB Group to pay compensation of 317 million yuan (approx. US$ 44 million). The JDB Group has expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment and intends to appeal to the SPC.
Source: The Official Website of JDB Group
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