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SPC Listed the Jordan Trademark Case as A Guidance Case

China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) has listed the trademark dispute case between former US basketball star Michael Jordan and Chinese sportswear maker Qiaodan Sports as a guiding case, the court announced on Tuesday.

The listing shows that China has paid more attention to the protection of foreigners' legal rights including name rights, which are part of the country's efforts to strengthen intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, Zhao Zhanling, a legal counsel of the Beijing-based Internet Society of China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The country's highest court in December 2016 overturned earlier rulings in favor of Fujian Province-based Qiaodan Sports using the characters for the US athlete's name. The Chinese characters for Jordan's name are pronounced as "Qiaodan."

China has made new progress on IPR-related judicial work in recent years with more unified applicable legal IPR standards, and the IPR judicial service has provided a favorable legal and business environment, said Wu Zhaoxiang, a deputy head of the research office at the SPC.

Two other IPR-related cases were also listed as guiding cases.

"Some Western countries have criticized China's work on IPR, so the country's latest move is telling the world that China in recent years has obviously reinforced its efforts on IPR protection in aspects including legislation, law enforcement and administrative protection," Zhao said.

According to figures released by the National Intellectual Property Administration on Tuesday, China granted 453,000 invention patents out of 1.4 million applications in 2019, up 4.8 percent year-on-year.

Huawei Technologies, Sinopec and Oppo ranked the top three in terms of the number of granted patents last year.

Notably, the number of foreign invention patent applications in China reached 157,000 last year, up 6 percent, while foreign trademark applications were up 4.7 percent, reaching 255,000, according to the administration.

Japan, the US and Germany topped the 186 countries and regions in terms of invention patent applications.

"Under the current economic situation, China's efforts on strengthening IPR protection can also boost foreign brands' or investors' confidence in doing business in China by providing them with the same legal rights as domestic companies, and a better business environment, which helps stabilize foreign investment in the country," Zhao noted.

As of the end of 2019, China held 1.86 million invention patents, equal to 13.3 invention patents per 10,000 people, the administration said.

The country achieved total import and export of IPR fees of $37 billion last year.

Source: Global Times

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