China’s IP Tribunal of the Supreme People’s Court Releases Annual Report for 2021

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On February 28, 2022, the Intellectual Property Tribunal of the Supreme People’s Court of China released its Annual Report for 2021. The report discloses statistics about Tribunal including average length of case, number of cases per judge, total number of cases heard, etc. The report also references accomplishments of the Tribunal.

Highlights of the report include:

  • All 42 judges of the Tribunal have master’s degrees or above with 34% having PhDs. 34% of judges have a combined academic background in science and law while 25% have overseas education. 
  • In 2021, the Tribunal accepted 5,238 intellectual property and antitrust cases and closed 3,460 cases. Accepted cases increased by 1,158 (36.4% increase) with closed cases increased by 673 (24.1%) versus 2020.
  • The IP Tribunal accepted 17.8% of all cases accepted by the Supreme People’s Court and concluded 13.5% of total cases, which was the highest of any department of the Supreme People’s Court.
  • In 2021, each judge closed an average of 83.5 cases (compared to about 80 cases per term at the U.S. Supreme Court).
  • The average trial period until closure is 134 days. This is an unspecified increase over 2020.
  • Among the 2,569 newly received substantive civil appeals, there were
    • 576 disputes over infringement upon invention patent rights,
    • 806 disputes over infringement upon utility model patent rights,
    • 213 disputes over the right to apply for a patent and the ownership of a patent,
    • 68 disputes over new varieties of plants,
    • 2 disputes over layout design of integrated circuits,
    • 79 disputes over trade secrets, 593 disputes over computer software,
    • 153 disputes over contracts for technical intellectual property rights,
    • 25 disputes involving antitrust and
    • 54 disputes over other types.
  • Of the 1,290 administrative appeal cases newly received,
    • 457 were disputes over the review of the rejection of invention patent applications,
    • 36 were disputes over the review of the rejection of utility model patent applications,
    • 3 were disputes over the review of the rejection of design patent applications,
    • 283 were disputes over the invalidation of invention patents,
    • 234 were disputes over the invalidation of utility model patents,
    • 102 were disputes over the rejection of design patent applications, one was dispute over the review of the rejection of an application for new varieties of plants,
    • 2 were disputes over administrative monopoly,
    • 172 were other administrative cases involving administrative punishment and administrative adjudication. 
  • 280 foreign-related, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan-related cases were concluded, accounting for 8.1% of the total number of closed cases, which was the same as the previous year.
  • More than half of the cases accepted by the courts are from the three intellectual property courts in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. However, there are also some central and western regions (such as Zhengzhou, Chengdu, and Wuhan) where the number of cases is growing rapidly.

The full report is available here (Chinese only).

 

 

Author: Aaron Wininger

Aaron Wininger is a Senior Attorney and Director of China Intellectual Property at Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.

Author: Aaron Wininger

Aaron Wininger is a Senior Attorney and Director of China Intellectual Property at Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.