China is prosecuting, deciding more intellectual property cases, says chief justice

China’s top judge, Zhou Qiang, says that the country’s courts handled more intellectual property cases last year, from the previous year. The report in the South China Morning Post notes that IP has been a key area of trade tension between China and the United States.

Qiang, the chief justice of the Supreme People’s Court, said that 288,000 IP cases were decided in 2018, an increase of nearly 42 percent over the previous year. And 2017’s total of 213,480 showed a rise of 40 percent over 2016. In terms of prosecutions and people, more than 8,300 people were charged with such acts as patent and trademark infringement and trade secret violations, which was 16.3 percent hight than in 2017.

The report quoted Fang Jianwei, a Beijing lawyer of Zhong Lun Law Firm, as saying the increased numbers reflect a growing awareness of the importance of intellectual property in China. The country’s companies and leaders have long been a target of criticism by Americans and others, who point to the sale of pirated luxury goods and movies in Chinese cities.

To combat the perception, China in 2014 opened specialized IP courts in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. Zhou told legislators that there were plans to open 19 more IP courts.

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