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Multi-party patent infringement litigation in China

You-hua Liu, Min Xu and Bin-wu Qin

Keywords: direct infringement; indirect infringement; joint torts; multi-party infringement; patent

Recently, parties have begun to implement patents separately to avoid legal liability in China. Multi-party infringing behaviours are more complicated to legally characterize than single-party patent infringement. Before the recently proposed legislative reform, the Patent Law of China did not clearly define indirect infringement. Chinese courts usually apply the joint torts rules to deal with those cases. However, by mixing the rule of joint injurious act with the rule of indirect patent infringement, the courts tend to confuse the two. Moreover, the newly drafted Revision of Patent Law, though it proposes adopting the indirect infringement concept, still borrows the joint torts rules to allocate liabilities. In these circumstances, it is necessary to clarify the relationship between joint torts and indirect infringement, and thus to clarify the rules for multi-party patent infringement.

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