In the protection of intellectual property rights, China is an importer of international norms. On the basis of the international intellectual property norms, China enacted its modern Trademark Law, Patent Law, Copyright Law, and Unfair Competition Law, and amended the laws thereafter. However, China is not a rigid importer of international norms, and has always tried to accommodate the norms into its special political, economic, and social structures. Due to this accommodation, some of the international norms have been transformed, misunderstood, and not functioned well in China. China is currently undergoing its third round revision of its intellectual property laws. This revision is an opportunity for China to reinterpret some of these intellectual property norms on the basis of its current social and economic development. It is also an opportunity to correct some of the misunderstandings that have arisen; such as removing the protection for video recordings, emphasizing the use of registered trademarks, and to provide the ‘likelihood of confusion doctrine’ as an objective standard for trademark infringement. The development of the Chinese intellectual property system is modelled primarily on continental European systems. However, it is not so difficult for China to accept intellectual property norms from the Anglo-American system either. In this respect, it is even possible for China to conceive some new norms, if necessary, for the country's social and economic development. In turn, it is possible that these new Chinese norms may contribute to international intellectual property rights standards
China’s modern intellectual property system has been developing since 1978, and has followed a trend that incorporates special trials for cases involving intellectual property. In this respect, China established special intellectual property tribunals initially in the Beijing intermediate court and high court in 1993, and then in all levels of the judicial system; including the Supreme Court, the high courts, the intermediate courts, and the basic courts. Following this trend, China even adopted another practice, where cases concerning patents, plant varieties, and layout-designs of integrated circuits could be heard by courts of first instance with special IP tribunals at the level of intermediate or basic courts. On the basis of the special trial of intellectual property cases, particularly the special trail of cases concerning patents, plant varieties, and layout-designs, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed a decision in August 2014, to establish three intellectual property courts in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The intellectual property courts are intermediate courts and have trans-regional jurisdiction on first instance cases concerning patents, plant varieties, layout-designs, technical secrets, and computer programs. In light of this decision, it is an experiment to establish the three intellectual property courts, and it is planned that more intellectual property courts will be set up in the near future. It is apparent that the purpose of the establishment of special intellectual property courts is to promote the judicial protection of intellectual property rights, encourage innovation and creation, and promote China’s social and economic development.
In China, to enact or amend an intellectual property law, such as the Copyright Law, the Patent Law, the Trademark Law or the Unfair Competition Law is a complicated process, involving a number of competent administrations, the State Council, and the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. Generally speaking, there are three steps to enacting or amending an intellectual property law. First, a competent administration, such as the National Copyright Administration (in charge of the Copyright Law), the State Intellectual Property Office (in charge of the Patent Law), or the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (in charge of the Trademark Law and the Unfair Competition Law), shall draft a law or amendment on the basis of their views. Secondly, the State Council shall develop its law or amendment on the basis of the drafting submitted by a competent agency and the suggestions or opinions of other administrative agencies. Thirdly, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress shall review the drafted law or amendment by the State Council three times, making some necessary changes on the basis of its views, and then pass the law or amendment. Although the consensuses will be gathered by these three steps, it is time-consuming to pass or amend a law, taking about eight to ten years.