On November 17, 2008, the Supreme People’s Court (“SPC”) released the “100 Typical Cases of Intellectual Property Right (‘IPR’) Protection” (the “100 Cases”).  The SPC hopes that these cases reflect improvement in China’s judicial protection of China IPR.  The SPC deems these "100 Cases" as “model cases”.  The "100 Cases" consist of 50 SPC cases (45 civil and 5 administrative cases) and 50 District Court cases (30 civil, 10 administrative and 10 criminal cases).

Justice Kong Xiangjun from SPC said, "IPR cases are steadily increasing.  From 2001 to 2007, the number of IPR civil lawsuits of first hearing that were accepted and concluded by nationwide district courts was 77,463 and 74,200, respectively."  From January to September of this year, the number of IPR civil lawsuits of first hearing accepted by nationwide district courts was 18,545, a 38.96% increase from last year.

Throughout the years, the scope of IPR cases has gradually evolved.  Prior to the mid 90’s, most of the cases involved disputes regarding technology transfer agreements.  From ’95 to ’02 the court witnessed an influx of patent cases.  After 2002, copyright disputes took the lead.  Justice Kong mentioned that “judicial protection of IPR expands to new arenas such as Internet copyright, new varieties of plants, geographical indications, domain names, anti-monopoly, franchising, and well-known trademarks.”

As reported, each of the "100 Cases" were chosen for their unique significance and nation wide influence.  Although China is not a case law country,  the SPC signaled that the "100 Cases" should be used as guidance for future IPR cases.

Click here for a link to the "100 Typical Cases."  (English version is currently unavailable.)

Authored by:

Julie Yu