China has come a long way in intellectual property rights protection in recent years, but there are still many problems in legal practices, according to Liu Xiaoyun, president of the Shanghai Higher People’s Court and a deputy to the National People’s Congress from Shanghai.
Due to deficiencies in legislation, evidence can be hard to collect, legal procedures prolonged and compensation unsatisfactory, Liu said in a proposal he filed with the NPC.
The General Provisions of the Civil Law of China, which came into force on October 1, 2017, explicitly stipulated intellectual property rights protection in seven areas, but their legislation levels differ, Liu said.
The seven areas are traditional works, trademarks, geographical indications, commercial secrets, layout designs of integrated circuits, new varieties of plants as well as inventions, utility models and designs.
“A unified intellectual property rights code is necessary to unify legal applications in cases involving those objects together with approaches to the cases,” Liu proposed.
He added that the regulations and rules in the protection of intellectual property rights for layout designs of integrated circuits, new varieties of plants and geographical indications among others should be lifted to the level of laws.
As for commercial secrets, while China’s Law against Unfair Competition and Criminal Law have provisions for their protection, Liu said it’s necessary to have a law specifically ruling on the matter to ensure better protection.
Meanwhile, different stipulations for compensation in intellectual property rights cases are not helpful in deterring violations.
“The current ceilings for compensation in China’s Patent Law and Copyright Law are too low, and the choices of means and calculation methods for compensation are not scientific enough,” Liu said. He called for unified compensation methods which would increase penalties.
Another problem is that the procedure for invalidation of patent rights could easily be abused and prolonged to delay the filing of a lawsuit, Liu said.
A procedure law in dealing with intellectual property rights cases which reflect the characteristics of such cases could facilitate the process and win time for the plaintiffs, he said.