China Issues Guideline to Strengthen IPR Protection
Recently, the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council have jointly issued a directive titled "The Guideline on Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights Protection", raising the bar of IPR protection in the country by way of constantly improving the system and invoking all possible governing tools, legal, administrative, economic, technological, and social. "The document is the first paper on IP protection of its kind issued in the name of CPC Central Commiitee and the State Council, which provided the fundamental principle and guide on this field in the new era,”said an expert.
The document puts forward goals of two phases. As of 2022, China shall be able to effectively curb IPR infringement, and evidently overcome the difficulties met by right holders when enforcing their rights, namely limited access to discovery, burden of proof, protracted period of litigation, high costs, low damages; as of 2025, public satisfaction with IPR protection in China shall reach a high level and stay there, protection capacity and system will be further improved, business environment of appreciating the value of knowledge will be optimized and the role of IPR system to encourage innovation will be fully played.
The guideline consists of 99 Articles, and put forward some innovative measures on intensifying institutional constraints, strengthening social supervision and co-governance, optimizing coordination mechanism and improving foreign communication mechanism. As for the standard of compensation is still low, the guideline requires to set up punitive damage compensation system for IP infringement to further beef up IP protection and ensure the IP right is under stronger protection, so as a work system featuring comprehensive, rapid and equal protection is well established.
China will strengthen sanctions for infringements and counterfeiting, strictly regulate evidence standards, enhance enforcement measures and improve the protection system for emerging types of business. The document calls for speeding up the introduction of a punitive compensation system for infringements of patents and copyrights, strengthening the protection of trade secrets, confidential business information and their source codes, intensifying efforts to strike criminal misdeeds, studying to lower the incriminating threshold of IPR infringements and reinforcing the punishment for sentencing, exploring to set up pharmaceutical patent linkage system and pharmaceutical patent term compensation system and establishing the management standard to protect e-commerce platform.
The document requires enhancement of law enforcement and the supervision, establishment and improvement of social governance mode, beef up support for professional skills; optimize the connection procedure for authorization, confirmation and protection of rights, enhance cross-regional and cross-departmental cooperation in dealing with cases, promote quick handling of easy cases and disputes and intensify the establishment of IPR fast protection institutions; make greater efforts to step up international cooperation in IPR protection, facilitate communication between domestic and foreign rights holders, provide support in overseas IPR disputes and improve coordination and information access mechanisms.
The document clarifies that China will comprehensively strengthen the Party's leadership over IPR protection work. Local Party committees and people's governments at different levels need to fully implement the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and put into practice the territorial responsibility of IPR protection. All regions and departments should increase financial input into IPR protection. China will encourage regions with enough conditions to play a leading role in building demonstration zones and pilot areas for IPR protection and incorporate IPR performance into the performance assessment and business environment evaluation system of local Party committees and people's governments, ensuring the effective implementation of all works.