In August 2020 the Ministry of Commerce issued the Master Plan for Comprehensively Deepening the Pilot Programme on the Innovative Development of Trade in Services. The plan covers 28 provinces and municipalities directly under the central government, including Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. The pilot programme, which concerns cross-border data transfer security management, will run for three years.
During a volatile 2020, China's legislature completed the overhaul of an amendment to patent and copyright law and promulgated varied judicial interpretations and policy documents projected to bring substantial changes to the nation's IP landscape from 2021. These well-coordinated legislative efforts ensure that parties will have detailed rules and criteria to follow and will improve the consistency, predictability and transparency of IP protection in China.
In 2020 the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the Guidelines on the Construction of a Data Security Standards System in the Telecoms and Internet Industries for public comment. According to the draft guidelines, the data security standards system for telecoms and internet industries comprises four categories: basic and general standards, critical technology standards, security management standards and critical field standards.
In August 2020 the National Information Security Standardisation Technical Committee issued the Information Security Technology – Method for Evaluating the Security Protection Capabilities of Critical Information Infrastructure (Draft for Comment) for public comment. According to the draft method, the evaluation of the security protection capabilities of critical information infrastructure will focus on capability domain level, graded protection and cryptography.
In August 2020 the National Information Security Standardisation Technical Committee released the Information Security Technology – Method of Boundary Identification for Critical Information Infrastructure (Draft for Comment) for public opinion. The draft provides six factors that should be considered when identifying the boundaries of critical information infrastructure: critical business, network facilities, information systems, critical business information, critical business information flows and basic operation environments.
The Standardisation Administration and four other government departments recently issued the Guide to the Building of a National Standard Framework for New Generation Artificial Intelligence. The guide requires that the top-level design of AI standardisation should be clarified by 2021 when more than 20 key standards in key general technologies, technologies in key fields and ethics have been preliminarily researched.
LPG Systems recently received an administrative decision from the Beijing Intellectual Property Office ordering an infringer to stop its design patent infringement. Previously, LPG had prevailed in an invalidation proceeding initiated by the infringer against its design patent in which the China National Intellectual Property Administration maintained the validity of this design.
In August 2020 the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and five other government agencies issued the Circular on Organising and Implementing the Recommendation of National Green Data Centres. According to the circular, all regions will recommend a batch of well-managed and representative data centres featuring high-energy efficiency and advanced technology in major application fields in accordance with the Evaluation Indicator System for Green Data Centres.
The China National Intellectual Property Administration recently released details of 10 exemplary patent administrative enforcement cases from 2019. One selected case concerned a patent infringement dispute relating to the anti-tumour drug sorafenib, which has been selected for its significance in respect of the application of the Bolar exemption.
Whether the use of a trademark in the title of a product sold online constitutes trademark infringement typically depends on whether such use is fair. When products are sold online, determining what constitutes fair use can be tricky. Two cases involving famous mobile phone manufacturers Xiaomi and Oppo illustrate this problem.
The consultation period for the Information Security Technology – Security Requirements for the Supply Chain of Information Technology Products (Draft for Comment) recently ended. The requirements, as a recommended national standard, will apply to the security management activities of the IT product supply chain for government information systems and critical information infrastructure. They will also provide a reference for the supply chain security management activities of other information systems.
In April 2020 the Beijing High Court published the Guidelines on the Determination of Damages and Statutory Damages in Disputes over Intellectual Property and Unfair Competition. These guidelines, which entered into effect on the date of issuance, are detailed, precise and even innovative. Even if they have binding force on only the Beijing courts, they should be influential throughout the rest of the country.
The Secretariat of National Information Security Standardisation Technical Committee recently released the Practical Guide to Cybersecurity Standards – Self-Assessment Guidelines for Apps to Collect and Use Personal Information to guide app operators to carry out self-assessments. The guidelines provide 28 self-assessment items.
Apart from securing damages from infringers in a time-efficient manner, IP rights holders could leverage settlement agreements to rein in repeated infringements, provided that a considerable amount of damages could be written into the agreement as an insurance policy in case of repeated infringement. The courts tend to validate such damages clauses as long as infringement is established.
In order to effectively strengthen the protection of users' personal information, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the Notice on Carrying out the Special Campaign to Promote Governance on Apps that Infringe Upon Users' Rights and Interests, requiring that a national app testing platform management system be launched before the end of August 2020. The testing platform management system is expected to complete testing for 400,000 mainstream apps before 10 December 2020.
The Beijing IP Court recently denied the inherent and acquired distinctiveness of Van Cleef & Arpels' four-leaf clover 3D trademark. Van Cleef & Arpels appealed before the Beijing High Court and the case is pending. The Beijing IP Court has set a high threshold in assessing the registrability of a 3D trademark which consists of a product shape. It remains to be seen whether this view is shared by the Beijing High Court.
The Supreme People's Court and the National Development and Reform Commission recently issued the Opinions on Providing Judicial Services and Supports to Accelerate the Improvement of the Socialist Market Economy System in the New Era. Among other things, the opinions emphasise that the state should strengthen the protection of data rights and personal information security.
In 2019 the IP Tribunal of the Supreme People's Court confirmed that a physical mobile phone was eligible prior art in assessing the novelty and inventiveness of a patent. The tribunal clarified that a party that asserts a physical object as prior art must specify the asserted prior technical solution, specify the corresponding relation between such prior technical solution and the physical object and prove or demonstrate that the public can intuitively obtain the technical solution from the physical object.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently instructed third-party testing agencies to examine certain mobile apps and issued the Second and Third Batches of Apps that Infringe Upon Users' Rights and Interests, requiring operators of said apps to make rectifications. Numerous apps did not complete their rectifications before the designated timelines. As a result, the MIIT may impose fines.
The exposure draft for the Implementation Measures for Early Resolution Mechanism of Pharmaceutical Patent Disputes (for Trial Implementation) was recently published to solicit public opinion. The measures are the first legal document explicitly addressing the pharmaceutical patent linkage system in China since the idea was first floated by the National Medical Products Administration in 2017. This article examines the measures' key takeaways.