IP Protection in Two Sessions
The fourth meeting of the 13th National People’s Congress was held on March 5. The participants listened to Premier Li Keqiang’s government work report. In summarizing last year’s work, the report pointed out that as part of the continued push to reform and open China’s economy, a series of measures were taken to optimize business environment, a number of large trade shows were held, the signing of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership was in the final stretch, and negotiations for investment agreement between China and Europe was complete.
Taking a long-term view, 2021 will see continued drive for growth powered by innovation. During the 14th five-year plan, the national spending on research will see a 7% yearly growth rate. The reform to open China’s economy will continue, high standard market system will be established, and property rights system will be perfected. Government will continue to transform its function and let market decide the distribution of resources; all licensing items will now be clearly listed and managed that way. Market mechanism will be deployed to encourage companies to innovate. The policy for 75% additional deduction for research fees will continue, and rate of additional deduction for manufacturers will be increased to 100%.
In terms of enhancing multilateral, bilateral, and regional economic cooperation, the report states that the government will move partners to quickly ratify the RCEP and CAI; accelerate the negotiation process for the free trade agreement among China, Japan, and Korea. The government will also actively seek to join CPTPP. On the basis of mutual respect, the government will move the economic relationship between China and America forward.
On March 8, Chief Justice Zhou Qiang of Supreme People’s Court delivered the Court’s work report. In 2020, the Court published many judicial interpretations to ease the burden of proof, reduce trial period, lower cost for upholding one’s rights, increase damages, and further promote a legal environment that encourages innovation and technological improvements. As for the difficulties in enforcement that had long troubled the right holders, the Court had deepened reforms, making sure the winning party can enjoy its victory. In 2020, 10.592 million cases went into the enforcement stages, and 9.958 million cases were enforced, with damages up to 1900 billion yuan.
The Procurator-General Zhang Jun delivered the Supreme People’s Procuratorate’s work report. To solve the problem that right holders cannot effectively and timely protect their IPR in criminal cases, the SPP had started informing right holders’ their rights in criminal proceedings nationwide. SPP had also started creating IP offices in 9 provinces and cities, including Tianjin, Chongqing and Hainan. In 2020, SPP prosecuted 12,000 criminals in IP crimes, a 10.5% increase. The increase was due to a lowered criminal threshold, thus increasing the latitude against IP crimes. Facing new challenges, SPP asked all levels of procuratorates to strengthen protection of trade secret in key tech industries. The procuratorates would focus on fighting misappropriation of trade secrets in new and high-tech industries, involving key technologies or those that may affect the survival and development of a company. SPP would encourage, support and protect innovation.