Just came across an interesting post with a not so interesting title on the China IPR Blog: IP Developments in Beijing. The post starts out discussing how “due to the rapid increase in IP cases in the Beijing Number 1 Intermediate Court, particularly IP cases involving patent and trademark validity, the Beijing Intermediate Court will split its Intellectual Property Tribunal in two” with the number one IP Tribunal hearing mostly trademark and unfair competition cases and the number two IP tribunal hearing mostly patent and copyright cases.
The post then notes that the Beijing court (which hears about 10% of all China IP cases) has seen its case load increase from “4,748 cases in 2008 to 11,305 in 2012, an increase of nearly 150%,” with copyright cases representing about half the total.
This is important for foreign companies doing business in China and here’s why.
- Rational human beings do not generally spend money on something that is not going to bring them any benefit.
- Bringing a lawsuit in China always costs money (China court filing fees tend to be fairly high), oftentimes a relatively large amount of money.
- Chinese businesses tend to be made up of rational human beings who understand the value of an RMB.
- Chinese businesses must believe that they can get the Beijing IP court to give them redress for alleged IP infringements or they would not pursue the lawsuits.
- Chinese businesses must, in increasingly large numbers, believe that they can get the Beijing IP court to give them redress for alleged IP infringements or they would not be increasing the number of IP lawsuits they are pursuing.
- Chinese businesses are almost certainly correct in their belief that suing before the Beijing IP court will give them redress.
- If Chinese businesses are correct in their belief (and they almost certainly are, see number 6 above), that means that IP enforcement, at least through China’s courts is improving.
Independently of the above, you would have a tough time finding a China lawyer who does not also believe that IP enforcement in China is improving, particularly with respect to trademarks.
IP enforcement/IP protection is improving in China for two main reasons. First, Chinese companies and foreign companies alike are now realizing that it makes sense for them to register their trademarks, copyrights and patents in China so that they have an opportunity at being able to protect them (in the courts, among other places). And two, China’s courts are increasingly realizing the importance of protecting IP in China, largely because Chinese companies increasingly want them to grant IP protections.
What this all means for those of you doing business in China is that you too should be jumping on the IP registration bandwagon. For more on protecting your IP in China, check out the following:
- How To Protect Your IP From China. Part 1. The risks China poses to intellectual property and how companies can determine how those risks should influence their actions.
- How To Protect Your IP From China. Part 2. What we, as China lawyers, look at in trying to protect our clients’ IP from China and what you, the company, should be looking at and doing to protect your own IP.
- How To Protect Your IP From China. Part 3. Negotiating tactics Chinese companies often employ in an effort to take advantage of your intellectual property.
- How To Protect Your IP From China. Part 4. The basics of what goes into Chinese contracts, particularly those related to protecting your intellectual property.
- How To Protect Your IP From China. Part 5. The most common situations companies face where they must focus on protecting their IP.
What are you seeing out there?