Systems established to ensure rights remain safe in changing landscape
Procuratorates have intensified the comprehensive judicial protection of intellectual property rights via specialized case handling, with about 13,000 people being prosecuted for IP infringements last year, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP).
They also intensified the supervision of civil administration litigation, which refers to a citizen or organization initiating a lawsuit against administration departments for violations. Procuratorates handled 937 cases of IP civil administration litigation last year, up 72.2 percent year-on-year.
Liu Taizong, director of the SPP's IPR Procuratorial Office, said that IPR cases often involve cutting-edge and professional problems, especially technical cases involving patents and trade secrets, requiring a team of prosecutors with professional knowledge and skills.
To meet those needs, in November 2020, the SPP set up the IPR Procuratorial Office to coordinate resources from the criminal, civil, administrative and public interest litigation departments to carry out IP protection.
By the end of last year, 29 provincial-level procuratorates had set up IPR procuratorial departments with professional personnel. In 2022, the SPP also issued a guideline to clarify the principles, tasks, specific measures and case-handling procedures for IPR procuratorial work.
As a basic system for protecting scientific and technological innovation, the IPR protection system plays an irreplaceable role in promoting scientific and technological progress and high-quality economic and social development, said Liu.
"The protection of IPR is a systematic project, while strengthening the legal protection of IPR, procuratorial organs actively integrate into the national IPR protection system, and their work is not limited to handling cases, but to put forward timely suggestions on social governance problems found to make up for the loopholes in governance," he said.
In the process of case handling, the procuratorates have focused on the key national innovation sectors, highlighting the protection in emerging technologies and in areas such as information technology, artificial intelligence and biomedicine, he said.
"We are severely cracking down on activities that infringe on companies' core technologies and strengthening the protection of trade secrets to stimulate innovation. Measures have also been taken to prevent secondary secret leaks during prosecution. About 220 people have been prosecuted for infringing on trade secrets in the past two years," he said.
Liu said that IPR procuratorial departments are actively carrying out legal supervision over big data and expanding data sources for IPR protection, and making full use of local platforms to obtain judicial judgment and administrative punishment data in accordance with the law, so as to make an in-depth analysis to get evidence.
The SPP is encouraging procuratorial organs to set up IPR departments or specialized case-handling organizations in light of local conditions to integrate the resources from different procuratorial departments. Meanwhile, it will promote the system of assisting case handling by technical investigators and expert approval to ensure the quality of case handling.
Procuratorial organs will also pay close attention to frontier IP issues in the fields of metaverse, non-fungible tokens, databases and short videos, and strengthen in-depth research on different types of IPR, protection methods and legal risks, he said.