Elgar Intellectual Property Law and Practice series
Edited by Stefan Luginbuehl and Peter Ganea
Chapter 15: CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS OF CLAIM INTERPRETATION BY COURTS
China’s patent law has been in effect since 1984. Until 2008, it has undergone three amendments, inter alia, to adapt it to the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement and to encourage innovation. The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) has issued two judicial interpretations on patent infringement cases, the Interpretation of Several Issues Relating to Application of Law to Trial of Patent Cases (‘2001 Judicial Interpretation’) and the Interpretation of Several Issues Relating to Application of Law to Trial of Cases of Disputes Arising from Patent Infringement (‘2009 Judicial Interpretation’). Both Interpretations are binding and can be cited by lower courts as a legal resource. As far as patent jurisdiction is concerned, the SPC has designated 64 Intermediate People’s Courts which are competent to deal with patent cases in the first instance. The second instance is the Higher People’s Courts at the provincial or autonomous region level, and the third and last instance is the SPC. Due to the vast volume of IP litigation coming through the courts, many judges have gained profound experience in the patent field. Moreover, an increasing number of judges look back on studies abroad or on specialized IP training in law schools. As a consequence of the ongoing improvement of judicial intellectual property protection and enforcement (Luginbuehl, Chapter 1) as well as of the revision of the Civil Procedures Law in 2009, the courts’ workload from patent infringement litigation has increased over the past years and reached 7,130 suits filedthroughout the country in 2012. It is generally understood within China’s
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