New China Opinion Announces Strong IP Protections
We’ve blogged about the importance of Chinese translation services for trade secrets litigation. When it comes to China’s record on intellectual property, China appears to be making a marked transition from a net importer of ideas to a net innovator itself. As that transition is moving forward, China is discovering that strengthening its intellectual property protections is quite important for its own economic progress, and for its standing in the international community. Not long ago, the general perception of China was that it was aggressively acquiring the innovations of other countries to drive its own economic progress. “Trademark squatting” and other types of intellectual property acquisitions characterized China’s international reputation. However, that reputation has been changing over the last decade. Indeed, China appears to be getting higher and higher marks from other industrialized nations on its intellectual property rights record. Not so long ago China’s government put forward a strong statement about its desire to further strengthen its intellectual property framework so that ideas vulnerable to theft will be appropriately protected. The statement, published on November 24, 2019, is titled The General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issued the Opinions on Strengthening the Protection of Intellectual Property. This article will discuss China’s Opinion and will forecast what this statement on intellectual property means for the increased need for English to Chinese legal translation services.
The Purpose of China’s Opinion
The opening of China’s Opinion has rather lofty, admirable goals. Indeed, the Chinese government goes so far as to say that “strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights is the most important part of improving the property rights protection system.” The government also noted that intellectual property protection is the “biggest” incentive for improving China’s competitiveness in the international community. Some of the basic goals the Chinese government sets out for itself include curbing acts of patent and intellectual property infringement by 2022, and forming a culture that respects intellectual property rights by 2025.
The Steps by which China will Strengthen IP Protections
China’s Opinion provides a list of four main ways in which China will broaden intellectual property protections. 1. Increased Punishment for Infringers The first step contemplates tuning up and improving China’s patent law, trademark law, and copyright law. China is prepared to “significantly” increase the damages that an infringer may have to pay. Some of those damages will include: • Confiscating illegal income; • Destroying infringing and counterfeit goods; • Launching law enforcement actions in key areas; • Regulating malicious registration of trademarks, abnormal patent applications, and malicious litigation; • Strengthening trade secret protections; • Increasing criminal prosecution of intellectual property infringers, and lowering the standard of what can be considered criminal infringement; and • Improving the mechanisms of data-based anti-counterfeiting intelligence. 2. Stronger “Social Supervision” While China contemplates stronger law enforcement protections – and even criminal actions – against infringers and counterfeiters, it also seeks to normalize the administrative framework around intellectual property protection. That framework includes a robust administrative structure allowing for intellectual property arbitration, mediation, and notarization. The notion of “social supervision” also includes self-regulatory institutions like industry associations and chambers of commerce. China’s government, thus, hopes that on some level various industries will be able to self-police against infringers. 3. International Cooperation China proposes, in its Opinion, to demonstrate its commitment to intellectual property protection by carrying the message of its own increased protection to the international community. Specifically, the government seeks to “carry out overseas tours of China’s intellectual property protection achievements.” It will also seek to “improve communication channels with domestic and foreign rights holders”. Seeming to understand its prior reputation, China plans to “organize a briefing meeting on the protection of intellectual property rights, timely inform the news media,” and “increase trust and dispel doubts” as well as “actively respond to the concerns of domestic and foreign rights holders.” 4. Improve Monitoring Networks The final major category of change proposed by China’s Opinion, is in an effort to “establish and improve the national intellectual property big data center” and to protect a “monitoring information network.” Stated differently, China seeks to keep better track, and thus ensure better protection of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other property for which protection is sought.
Chinese Legal Translation Services IP Claims
There are two things that seem to jump out of China’s Opinion. First, the Opinion is purely aspirational. As they say, “the devil is in the details.” So, while China’s intentions seem to be firmly placed in making major improvements on intellectual property protection, it remains to be seen what actual changes will be forthcoming. All the same, it is very encouraging for all innovators in the world that China is expressing a desire to have stronger intellectual property laws. Second, the kinds of changes suggested by China’s Opinion, if implemented, will result in a fair forum in which to litigate intellectual property infringement claims. What that means for lawyers representing multinational companies and companies that do business with China, is that there may be a possible flood of disputes that can now be adjudicated in China. That means, of course, that legal documents, pleadings, and depositions will need to be translated from English to Simplified Chinese. There should also be an increased need for remote Mandarin deposition interpreters for virtual depositions via Zoom, onsite in-person Mandarin deposition interpreters, Mandarin arbitration interpreters, and Mandarin remote and in-person interpreters for deposition preparation meetings. That type of technical, legal translation should be done by professional legal translators and interpreters. We welcome you to contact the experienced, reliable legal translators and interpreters for lawyers at All Language Alliance, Inc. for assistance with your organization’s intellectual property case. Get in touch with our legal translation and Apostille services company to obtain Chinese to English translation of office actions issued by the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).
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