On the afternoon of April 26th, QBPC 2022-2023 Annual Top Ten Cases Announcement was successfully held in Beijing. There were more than 200 participants including leaders from State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), Hong Kong Customs, China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment (CAEFI),representatives from recommended agencies of Top Ten Cases, foreign embassies, international organizations, IPR research institutions, e-commerce platforms, media and QBPC members.
Firstly, Cao Hongying, Executive Vice President of CAEFI, delivered opening remarks for the event. He said that the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China vowed to "strengthen the legal protection of intellectual property rights and form a basic system to support comprehensive innovation", which clarified the direction for the development of intellectual property in the new era. In the context of the Chinese government's clear intention to attract and utilize foreign investment to a greater extent in the future, relevant departments would adopt a series of measures to encourage foreign investment and protect intellectual property rights so as to provide foreign-invested enterprises with a more market-oriented, legalized, and internationalized business environment. In addition, Cao spoke highly of the event and the achievements of QBPC over the past twenty-three years. He expected to see QBPC’s greater contributions to IPR protection and the improvement of business environment in China.
Tao Yang (QBPC Vice Chair) and Wang Yi (QBPC Best Practices/Enforcement Committee Vice Chair) co-hosted the event and announced a total of 31 selected cases for this year, including 11 cases (including two tied cases for the tenth place) in the category of Criminal Case and/or Criminal Procedure, 10 cases in the category of Civil Case and/or Civil Procedure and 10 Cases of Administrative Case and/or Administrative Procedure. QBPC Chair Michael Ding, Vice Chair Ji Ying and Tao Yang presented plaques of appreciation to the representatives of relevant enforcement agencies and presented medals to QBPC member who nominated the selected cases.
Finally, Michael Ding once again congratulated the representatives of the selected Top Ten Case handling agencies and relevant member companies, and expressed his sincere gratitude to colleagues from all walks of life for their support and assistance over the years. He said that QBPC Top Ten Cases had expanded from traditional trademark and copyright protection to patent litigation, anti-unfair competition litigation, determination of trademark right and other multi-dimensional intellectual property protection. QBPC looked forwarded to strengthening communication and cooperation with all parties, exploring new ideas and methods for promoting intellectual property protection, and jointly promoting high-quality and sustainable development of economy.
This is the 22nd Top Ten Cases Selection and Announcement. Since 2002, we have seen the continuous improvement of the organization of the event, members’ engagement, the number and quality of nominated cases. Its reputation and influence in both domestic and international IP community grew with the passage of time. The activity had now become an indicator of China’s investment and IP environment for international society. The cases to be selected were nominated by QBPC member companies and voted by QBPC members with voting rights.
The 31 selected cases for 2022-2023 involved a wide range of regions, with relevant handling agencies from 13 provinces, municipalities or special administrative regions including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shandong, Guangdong, Heilongjiang, Guangxi, Jiangsu, Fujian, Hebei, Sichuan, Zhejiang, Hunan, etc. The cases came from various industries or fields related to the national economy and the people's livelihood, such as medicine, food, beverage and alcohol industry, daily use, pesticide and agricultural machinery, garment, electricity, service industry and toys, which touched upon significant hot and difficult issues, for example, second-hand refurbishment, package and trade dress, cross-border infringement, bad-faith right protection, bad-faith trademark registration, cross-category trademark protection, conflict between naming right and trademark right, the burden of proof in infringement profits and unfair competition, etc.
The handling and judgments of the above cases were mostly typical and had made breakthroughs in particular aspects, which would set good examples for future enforcement and judicial judgment. Meanwhile right holders could also learn a lot from the experience. For example, the Invalidation Action against Registration 11157214 for 奔富酒园 （Penfolds Vinery） in Class 33 was a success accomplished through combination of civil and administrative procedures, litigation and non-litigation procedures. The Supreme People’s Court clarified that the registration of the concerned trademark could not be justified as legitimate by extensive use of it.
The Cross-border Trademark Infringement Case of Guangzhou Xunli Trading Limited marked the first instance of successful coordination between the mainland and Hong Kong enforcement authorities to successfully trace and punish the mainland-based manufacturer and distributor of counterfeit products, which was a significant reference for handling cross-border intellectual property infringement cases.
In the Criminal Case against Wu’s Cross-regional Sale of Refurbished “ABB” and “SIEMENS” Counterfeits, the court made proper fact determination and law application regarding the defendant’s illegal behavior of selling refurbished counterfeits. In the case of Copyright Infringement and Unfair Competition (Universal against Guangzhou Cailin Daily Chemical Co., Ltd. and other entities), the court had explored an outstanding and effective way to crack down on prior bad-faith trademark registration.The case of FMC v. Yongtai: Pre-suit Injunction to Stop Patent Infringement was an unprecedented case in which a Chinese court had ruled on pre-suit injunction for patent infringement.
In addition, many of the selected cases had wide social impact and created huge deterrence to IPR offenders. For example, in the case of Suihua “4.11” Big Operation against Large-scale Production and Sale of Counterfeit Drugs, the Ministry of Public Security initiated a nationwide cluster operation to destroy a huge trans-regional supply chain of counterfeit drugs across 28 provinces and with case value over 200 million RMB. The prime culprit was sentenced to life imprisonment, which showed the firm determination of judicial departments to crack down drug crimes.The Case of “5•10” Jing et al. Committing the Crime of Counterfeiting Registered Trademark in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang was awarded as one of the 9 exemplary cases of “Kunlun 2021” No. 3 Operation of Ministry of Public Security. Relevant offenders received serious punishment and high fines, which effectively deterred other potential criminals in agricultural machinery industry and protected the vital interests of farmers.
Meanwhile Shandong Qingdao “4.12” Case of Manufacturing and Selling Counterfeit Luxury Goods fully reflected the accomplishment of regular exchanges and close cooperation between QBPC and Food, Drug and Environmental Crime Investigation Department of Shandong Public Security Bureau and its local detachments.
Through the Top Ten Cases of QBPC in recent years, intellectual property right holders could learn that the effectiveness of China's intellectual property protection system has been significantly improved in all aspects. In terms of judicial protection, a professional trial pattern has been formed; In terms of law enforcement, more resources have been invested, and special investigation and prosecution actions intensified, communication and cooperation with right holders closer and information sharing more efficient; Cross-regional and cross-departmental coordination has become smoother while cross-border international law enforcement cooperation constantly strengthened.