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Liguo Zhang

Both China and the European Union released their intellectual property strategies in 2008 and 2010, in order to achieve their respective visions on the future development of intellectual property in their territory. In the last few years, both the European Commission and the Chinese government have taken measures to implement their strategies. This chapter examines how the implementation of IP strategies in China and the EU have led to the reform of IP laws in their jurisdictions respectively, and identifies significant differences and diverging perspectives regarding the implementation of the IPR strategies in China and the EU. It then analyses the achievements and deficiencies of these measures in the implementation of the IP strategies. This chapter finds that that the EU’s approach is to realize its political purpose by a legal method, whereas China’s approach is to improve its IP legal system and performance by political methods. Although the focus of IP reforms in each jurisdiction is different, there are some common areas and points that both sides can cooperate on.

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Zhang Liguo and Nari Lee

This article examines the establishment of specialized intellectual property (IP) courts in China in 2014. It explores these courts in the context of the IP strategy driven by the national administration, with the aim of highlighting their Chinese characteristics. The article notes that the motivation for establishing these courts was to improve judicial protection of IP rights, a goal aligning with the major target set in the National Intellectual Property Strategy. The establishment of these IP courts was pushed forward by the highest authority to overcome procedural and political obstacles. It was conceived as a pilot scheme for carrying out judicial reform. As such, it is expected that the new measures adopted in these IP courts could later be extended to all other courts in China. One real and compelling reason for establishing specialized IP courts is the rapidly growing volume of IP disputes, which demands coherent and efficient rulings from courts with technologically competent judges. Although this move has yet to provide forum concentration at the appellate level, the specialized IP courts in China have integrated judicial resources and harmonized the interpretation of IP law. In the interim, they have given a clear signal that IP rights are private rights to be adjudicated by courts and implied that IP governance in China has become more market-oriented.

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Niklas Bruun and Liguo Zhang

China’s current IPR system has resulted from developments initiated during the 1970s. The process of establishing a Chinese IP regime demonstrates a vivid model of legal transplant. Nonetheless, there is a viewpoint that considers legal transplantation impossible because legal rules cannot be divorced from their culture or political context. This chapter examines how the legal transplant of IP laws has been interacting with the norms building in Chinese society. The central hypothesis is that IP legal transplant and IP norm building in China is not a passive process of accepting western rules, rather it is a dynamic process. The chapter demonstrates the interaction between governmental institutions and authorities, political and academic elites, state-owned and private companies, governments and international organizations and consumers in this process. The interaction among these groups also illustrates the actual evolution of Chinese IP norms. In this process, China is not only a norm taker, but also a norm maker. The rapid transplant of IP laws in China, in such a brief period of time, has led to a divergence between formal IP rules and actual IP norms as followed in practice. This divergence can explain the difficulty of enforcing IPRs in China.

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Liguo Zhang and Max Oker-Blom

Trademark laws in China and Europe are currently going through major reforms. This chapter documents the current parallel trademark law reforms in China and the EU. The reforms are substantive as well as procedural; including broad institutional reforms on the institutional governance of OHIM in the EU, as well as procedural efficiencies for the Trademark Office (TMO) and the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board in China. The motivation and reasons are not the same because China, as a nation state, cannot be compared substantively with EU-wide trademark protection, such as the CTMR. However, focusing on the similarities in the reform proposals that focus on trademark use, this chapter observes that the reforms in China seem to be converging with the European system to a certain extent. The chapter concludes by noting that despite the absence of formal legal instruments between China and the EU, commonly faced problems may informally direct the attention of Chinese legislation towards the solutions used and adopted elsewhere, in this case Europe.