According to a press release dated August 4, 2023 from the China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) 11,675 people were prosecuted for IP Crimes in the first half 2023, up 36.1% year-on-year. Criminal trademark infringement made up the majority of IP crimes with 10,384 people prosecuted accounting for 88.9% of the total. Copyright was second with 1,122 persons prosecuted. Trade secret misappropriation was third with 167 people prosecuted, up 89.8% year-on-year.
Among trademark cases, products included cigarettes, liquor, food and health care products, clothing, luggage and other cases that are closely related to daily life. In some cases, trademark infringement is intertwined with the crime of producing and selling counterfeit and inferior products, and the crime of endangering food and drug safety. Such crimes are gradually spreading to emerging industries, and criminal activities such as selling refurbished electronic products as new products and manufacturing and selling counterfeit auto parts have increased.
With respect to copyright, the electronic dissemination of literary works, audio-visual works, musical works, computer software and other works is rapid and easy and related infringement cases have increased. For example, in the copyright infringement case of Liu XX and others handled by the Shanghai Procuratorate, the defendant produced and sold a “dongle” for circumventing computer software technical measures without the permission of the copyright owner.
With respect to trade secret misappropriation, the SPP stated,
because it is difficult for outsiders to directly obtain corporate trade secrets, it is often the internal personnel of the company, especially technical personnel and senior management personnel in key positions, who resign and take trade secrets, or collude with internal and external parties to commit criminal acts. From the perspective of the fields involved, the victimized units include not only traditional manufacturing enterprises, but also high-tech companies such as information technology, biomedicine, and intelligent manufacturing. From the perspective of the types of trade secrets, cases of infringement of technical information such as software source codes, technical solutions, and equipment drawings are the main types, and cases of infringement of business information such as price information and personalized customer needs also occur from time to time. For example, in a trade secret infringement case handled by the Jiangsu procuratorate, employees illegally obtained technical information related to the company’s innovative drugs, involving a value of more than 900 million RMB.
The full text of the release is available here (Chinese only).