Development and Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Chengdu 2015
In 2015, focusing on the development strategy highlighting reform, innovation, transformation and upgrade, Chengdu thoroughly implemented its intellectual property rights (IPR) strategy, intensified IPR protection, optimized IPR-related public service and accelerated IPR creation and application, thus facilitating a boom of innovation and entrepreneurship in the whole city. The construction of the Sichuan Patent Examination Cooperation Center of State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), the only one in western China, was pushed forward in an orderly manner. The year of 2015 saw 77538 patent applications, 44852 licensed patents and 19758 valid patents for inventions. In the same year, Chengdu also boasted up to 183,000 registered trademarks, among which there were 111 well-known trademarks nationwide, 14 trademarks with geographic indications, 636 famous Sichuan brands, 665 famous Chengdu brands, 21 Chinese time-honored brands, plus 11144 pieces of registration for computer software and other works’ copyright. Chengdu is being consciously built into an ecological environment conducive to stimulating and safeguarding innovation; it successfully passed the review and acceptance as a State Intellectual Property Demonstration City, and was approved as a Demonstration City for Small and Micro Businesses Entrepreneurship and Innovation Base; it was included by the Fortune in the “Top 10 cities to start business in Chinese Mainland in 2015”. Furthermore, the effort exerted in encouraging people to start business and make innovations was praised by the State Council.
I. Patent Management & Protection Mechanism Construction Deepened with New Achievements Made
The incentive mechanism was continuously improved to motivate innovation and entrepreneurship. The CPC Chengdu Committee and Chengdu City government issued The Decision on Systematic Implementation of Comprehensive Innovation and Reform, and Accelerating the Construction of Regional Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center with International Influence, and made the overall plan with regard to perfecting the IPR creation and application mechanism as well as reinforcing IPR protection and management. Chengdu’s Administrative Measures for Subsidies for R & D of Strategically Significant New Products and Key New Products was issued and executed, so as to strengthen policy guidance to spur IPR transformation of innovative achievements and intensify support to innovative products with proprietary IPR. 55 patent awards of 2014 were rated and commended, including 3 golden awards, 20 silver awards and 32 excellence awards. 9 patents including “near-infrared light absorptive glass, elements and light filter” won the excellence award of the 17th China Patent Award; “self-constriction infusion bottles and bags without generating negative pressure in the process of transfusion”, together with other 15 patents, were granted with the Patent Award of Sichuan Province. With the progress made in IPR pilot projects, the city passed the first-round review as a State Intellectual Property Demonstration City and launched a new round of demonstration city development. Xindu District and Xinjin County were approved as the National Leading County (District) in IPR of 2015. And Longquanyi District was included into the new batch of national experimental zone for patent-guided industry development. In Chengdu, there are already one National IPR Demonstration Park, one National IPR Demonstration and Cultivation City (county-level city), 5 National Leading Counties (Districts) in IPR, 2 Pilot Counties and 36 IPR pilot demonstration enterprises. The IPR-related public service was raised to a new level. Patent status analysis and the technology roadmap were exploited to navigate the development of relevant industries; 5 research reports on patent-guided industrial development were completed, covering such industries as civil aviation, automobile, rail transit, photovoltaic power system and high performance fiber; patent status analysis was conducted to cover a dozen trades like E-commerce, medicine, cloud computing and robot technology. The national standard Norms for Corporate Intellectual Property Management was thoroughly implemented, more than 20 IPR related service providers, including Chengdu Jiuding Tianyuan Intellectual Property Agency Co., Ltd. and Chengdu Tianjia Patent Office, were chosen as backbone consultants to help enterprises implement the Norms; over 20 enterprises, such as Sichuan Academy of Aerospace Technology, CDGM Glass Co., Ltd. and Chengdu Sobey Digital Technology Co., Ltd., had passed the conformity certification. The Action Plan “Entrepreneurship in Tianfu” supported by IPR was implemented across the board. Focusing on the “awareness, acquisition, utilization and protection” of patent rights for SMEs, the program of “Entrepreneurship in Tianfu·Jin Rong Hui” was run 15 times, coupled with other series of activities, such as “Jin Rong Entrepreneurship Sharing Session – UMKM’s Patent Mining and Trusteeship” and “IPR-related Financial Service – Banks and Enterprises Communicate Face to Face”; moreover, over 20 (plus) themed activities, including an IPR appraisal road show for “Chengdu Youth Entrepreneurship Competition” as well as IPR service entering “Incubators” and “Maker Space” were organized, and the number of participants exceeded 10,000 people.
Administrative law enforcement was intensified to reinforce patent protection. Three special campaigns were launched, namely, Campaign against IPR Infringement and Manufacturing & Selling Counterfeit and Shoddy products, Campaign “Escort” for IPR Law Enforcement and Rights Protection, as well as Campaign for Patent Law Enforcement and Rights Protection in E-commerce. Adopting the mode of joint law enforcement at province-city-county level or city-county (district) level, 15 patent-oriented administrative law enforcement campaigns were conducted, during which law enforcement officials engaged for 289 man hours，over 34,700 pieces of material were inspected, 186 patent logos were registered, 77 irregular patent logos were corrected, 34 counterfeit patents were investigated and punished, 47 cases involving patent infringement were handled, and the case settlement rate reached 96.3%. Administrative law enforcement was also intensified during exhibitions. During major exhibitions, such as the 18th Chengdu International Automobile Exhibition and the 92nd China Food & Drinks Fair, an IPR protection station was set up to receive reports and complains and provide an IPR consultation service. With more efforts paid to foster national-level standardized markets in terms of IPR protection, Jinhengde International Auto Parts Supplies City and Wanguan International Hardware & Electro-machinery Market established and streamlined the working mechanism and system concerning IPR protection. Chengdu Haining Leather City was approved as one of the second batch of standardized markets in terms of IPR protection. Assistance to IPR protection was also intensified. Around 400 man hours of “12330” telephonic counseling and on-the-spot counseling were provided in 2015, and 28 cases of IPR infringement report or complaint, or for right protection assistance were accepted and handled.
The number of patent applications and patents granted maintained a momentum of rapid growth. Through 2015 there were: 77538 patent applications including 29791 invention patent applications, an annual increase of 19.34% and 34.83% respectively; 44852 patents including 6206 invention patents granted, annual increase of 40.4% and 54.3% respectively. By the end of 2015, Chengdu held 19758 valid patents for invention, equivalent to 13.6 valid invention patents per 10,000 persons in Chengdu, which increased by 33.9% and 34.9% respectively when compared with the numbers of 2014.
II. Trademark Strategy Demonstration Project Advanced with New Breakthrough Achieved
A great deal of attention was paid to brand cultivation. The experiences of trademark strategy demonstration units in various industrial parks were promoted. Brand-related service was strengthened for small and micro-sized enterprises, and the mechanism covering brand guidance, motivating, support and protection was established and improved; 100 enterprises were selected as key enterprises to be cultivated; relying on the brand service expert panel, “one-to-one” and door-to-door guidance service was provided to help small and micro enterprises in solving problems encountered during brand establishment, utilization and management, rights protection and market expanding, so as to promote sound and sustainable development of these enterprises. Thanks to above efforts, small and micro enterprises with a yearly output value under CNY 30 million successfully had their 13 brands approved as famous Chengdu brands.
The “Tianfu Brand” was vigorously promoted. The Information Office under the municipal government issued the Report on Chengdu Brand Strategy and Brand Development of Industrial Parks in 2014, which highlighted the achievement and great potential of the “Chengdu Brand”. A special report on China’s reputed brand “Created in Chengdu” was organized to nurture local brands and support the development of small and micro enterprises. The positive influence of brand strategy in promoting industry upgrade was manifested in full through a series of themed publicity campaigns, such as “Experience Satisfactory Shopping in Chengdu”, “Jointly Constructing and Sharing International Shopping Paradise”. The municipal resources in Chunxi Road, Shuncheng Street, Yongfeng Flyover and other prime locations as brand showcase platform were fully exploited. A program of12 no-profit brand shows were organized, through which public popularity and influence of local brands were significantly boosted. The representative enterprises of well-known and famous brands were organized to participate in the 2015 China Trademark Festival, during which the achievements of Chengdu Trademark Strategy were exhibited and publicized; as a representative of “Tianfu Brand”, Sichuan Tianwei Food Co., Ltd. concluded a sales agreement of CNY 2 million with enterprises from Haikou City.
Law enforcement was intensified to safeguard trademarks. In 2015, 193 cases involving exclusive right infringement of using registered trademark were settled and a total amount of CNY 3,103,700 in fines was imposed. Symposiums attended by Chengdu enterprises with well-known brands were convened to identify the particular needs of enterprises for right protection, and certain enterprises were included in the catalogue of enterprises under emphasized protection. Law enforcement efforts against infringement and counterfeiting behaviors were strengthened. A special law enforcement campaign was launched to protect the exclusive right of using the Apple brand, so as to protect IPR with a foreign trademark involved and build a favorable market environment.
III. New Heights Achieved in Construction of Copyright Demonstration City
The city’s capability to spur the development of copyright service industry was further uplifted. The plan to construct Chengdu International Copyright Trading Center has just been made and finalized with agreement of 10 strategic cooperative partners and 21 cooperative projects being reached. The estimated annual output value will be CNY 70 million. The city also witnessed 66 pieces of registration for works copyright and 2158 pieces of transaction for copyright derivatives, as well as preliminary formation of 6C service system covering copyright registration, copyright incubation, copyright protection, copyright appraisal, copyright finance and copyright transaction. The unveiling ceremony of the Chengdu International Copyright Trading Center & the Copyright Wealth Summit was successfully held in this city. Over 400 domestic and foreign experts, scholars, entrepreneurs, lawyers and young designers in the domain of copyright attended this event, during which 17 paper presentations were delivered and 9 major targets were realized. The event has received high praise from the National Copyright Administration and the Office of World Intellectual Property Organization in China. In view of the market requirement for copyright value assessment, the National Cultural Market Survey and Assessment Center under the Ministry of Culture and the Authentication Filing Center of Artron Art Group were introduced, thus the copyright value assessment system was basically established and the foundation was laid for copyright transaction. The first case of copyright value assessment was China Realistic Picture of A Hundred Panda Scroll, whose value was assessed as CNY 7.5 million versus a market value of CNY 13 million. The first copyright financial platform in Chengdu was constructed, and relevant agreements were reached between Chengdu Keji Branch of the Bank of Communications and Chengdu Branch of Richland Equities. Thus the copyright financing channel was broadened for local creative cultural enterprises challenged by financing difficulties. Preparation was made to establish Chengdu Copyright Industry Alliance, in an effort to further integrate industrial resources such as publication, issuance, broadcast, film and television, culture and arts, applied arts, music, design and advertisement to motivate integrative development of copyright-related industries.
The city’s competence in copyright creation and management was further enhanced. The skill development plan was initiated for copyright agents; Chengdu took the lead nationwide in introducing the Copyright Protection Center of China and Education & Training Center of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and conducted trial dual-certificate training to foster copyright agents’ professional competence and cultural creativity personnels’ (copyright agents’) skill levels. About 50 trainees were awarded with dual certificates, filling the gaps in cross-domain talent(copyright agents), who can provide copyright service for either press and publications, or broadcast, film and television, or culture creativity and design service, in Chengdu and even the Southwest China. Along with the introduction of the Training Base for Chinese Cultural Creativity Personnel, a long-term training system was established for cultural creativity personnels and a practical training mode was initiated. More job opportunities were created through brand building pioneered by leading enterprises. Chengdu Aiminer Shoe Company, by inheriting and innovating featured Sichuan embroidery culture, provided jobs for 300 “moms”; tailored training was conducted for copyright protection of Sichuan embroidery crafts, aiming at cultivating Sichuan embroidery brands under copyright protection and building an industry chain of copyrighted Sichuan embroidery.
Chengdu unceasingly endeavored to enhance its capability for copyright protection as well. The city actively joined the special campaign against IPR violation as well as the manufacture and sale of shoddy & counterfeit commodities, the “Action Sword Net 2015” against cyberspace tort & piracy and other special campaigns were launched. Throughout the year, over 20,000 unit/times of inspection campaigns were operated, 188 cases involved in “pornography or illegal publications” were handled, over 90,000 pieces of illicit publications were confiscated, over 10,000 pieces of harmful information on internet were handled, more than 1,500 illegally operated accounts were cancelled, 36 websites spreading obscene and pornographic content were shut down, and 8 cases of copyright disputes were mediated. All of these actions had played a positive role in safeguarding the legitimate interests of copyright owners. Four cases handled by this city were included in the cases under supervision of the National Copyright Administration and the National Office against “pornography or illegal publications”: the infringement and piracy case charged against “imanhua” website, the private server case against “Fengyun Silu”, the case of Xinyu Book Store on suspicion of selling pirated publications as well as “7.16 case” concerning production and sale of illegal publications instigating Tibet issues. The settlement result was appreciated by the National Copyright Administration.
IV. Case Investigation Emphasized to Crack Down on IPR-related Violations & Crimes in An Effective Way
Public security organs of Chengdu spent more effort in the fight against IPR-related crimes. Giving full play to its leading role, they carried out special campaigns to crack down on the manufacturing and sale of shoddy & counterfeit commodities as well as IPR infringement and piracy, and placed a strong emphasis on “Action Safe Chengdu and Iron Fist” as well as “Action Sword Net 2015”. With a strong sense of political responsibility and sense of duty, despite other heavy tasks like safeguarding social stability, the public security organs acted to timely crack a number of IPR-related crimes, resulting in a sounder market in Chengdu and better protection of consumers’ legitimate rights and interests. Such achievement was praised by party committees and governments at different levels. Chengdu public security organs organ had filed and investigated 82 cases of this kind, seized 143 criminal suspects (among which 135 were processed for prosecution), destroyed 50 sites involved in counterfeiting and confiscated over 200,000 pieces of counterfeit packing materials and trademarks; the amount involved in these cases surpassed CNY 50 million.
V. Procuratorial Organs’ Function Fully Exploited to Fight against IPR-related Crimes
The working system of “Linking up administrative law enforcement and criminal law enforcement” was further improved. Chengdu procuratorial organs strengthened coordination with various departments with administrative functions of IPR, so as to integrate IPR law enforcement resources and realize multi-agency cooperation and efficient coordination linking IPR administrative protection and juridical protection; so as to rein the phenomena of replacing criminal punishment with administrative penalty and avoiding failed case filing, to standardize and guide law enforcement actions, and generate concerted efforts to protect intellectual property rights. To that end, an information sharing platform regarding “linking up administrative law enforcement and criminal law enforcement” was built for procuratorial organs, public security organs and administrative organization. By the end of 2015, it is able to offer basic and multiple functions including online sharing of administrative law enforcement information, online supervision of law enforcement, online handling of cases, online transmission of documents and online data statistics. Under such supervision, 24 pieces of evidence of IPR-related crimes were transferred to the public security organs from the organs of administrative law enforcement.
The fight against IPR-related crimes was strengthened. After investigation, Chengdu procuratorial organs approved the arrest of 43 persons for IPR infringement, among which 21were for counterfeiting registered trademarks, 12 for selling commodities with counterfeit registered trademarks, 8 for copyright infringement and 2 for business secret infringement. Moreover, the procuratorial organs instituted prosecution against 115 persons involved in IPR infringement crimes, including 89 for counterfeiting registered trademarks, 19 for selling commodities with counterfeit registered trademarks, 1 for illegally manufacturing and selling the illegally manufactured registered trademarks, and 6 for copyright infringement.
VI. IPR Case Hearing Strengthened to Safeguard Legitimate Interests of Obligees
The “three in one” trial pattern was fully implemented. Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court amended and improved the Detailed Rules for Implementation of the “Three in One” Pilot Work for IPR Case Hearing”, so as to suit the demand raised by stage II pilot work for relatively centralized jurisdiction of Chengdu’s administrative cases. In 2015, Chengdu courts accepted 2418 cases with IPR involved, including 2366 civil cases, 51 criminal cases and 1 administrative case; adopting the “three in one” trial pattern, Chengdu courts settled 2152 IPR cases, including 2104 civil cases, 47criminal cases and 1 administrative case.
Judicial protection was reinforced. In light of the large ratio of categorized IPR cases (the cases with same subject and same rights), Chengdu courts allocated special adjudicatory personnel and assistants for trial of such cases, in an effort to handle those cases according to complexity and priority, and enhance efficiency. Thus, Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court achieved an annual increase of 50% in terms of per capita case settlement quantity and an increase of 22% in efficiency (the time averagely spent to settle a case was reduced to 124 days from 159 days in 2014). A Chief Judges’ Joint Conference was held to consolidate the laws applicable in categorized IPR cases hearing and adjudication standards, so as to ensure “same adjudication standards adopted in settlement of the cases of the same category” and the quality of case hearing. The courts made the most of both civil remedy and criminal punishment measures to handle the IPR infringement cases involving maliciously manufacturing and selling counterfeit commodities. For instance, the case of counterfeiting registered trademark of “Space7” and the case of “Space7” trademark infringement were settled as follows: on account of manufacture and sale of fake and inferior hygienic products, which is treated as the case that has caused serious harm to people’s health, the four defendants were sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment ranging from one year and six months to three years and six months respectively, plus penalty totaling CNY 2.2 million; while in terms of civil remedy, the defendants were also sentenced to compensate the plaintiff for economic loss of CNY 1 million. With regard to the cases with famous brands, famous enterprises or large amounts involved, compensation measure was further employed. In the case of lawsuits against Mr. Li and some other defendants filed by Guizhou Maotai Co., Ltd., Yibin Wuliangye Co., Ltd. and Sichuan Gulin Langjiu Liquor Factory Co., Ltd. for sale of shoddy liquor as well as claim for compensation exceeding CNY 1 million, the court, in line with the judicial policy stressing “intensified protection as well as balanced consideration of severe punishment and mercy”, ordered the defendants to stop infringement actions and compensate the above-mentioned plaintiffs CNY 1.02 million, CNY 0.7 million and CNY 0.25 million respectively.
“Accompanying guidance” was thoroughly implemented to deal with IPR-related civil cases. During trials of such cases, the courts paid close attention to the deficiencies and risks existed among the parties involved in terms of IPR management and safeguard, pointed out the problems, analyzed the causes, explained legal provisions concerned and offered suggestion in a timely manner, so as to ensure that the parties can follow, beyond fair judgment, the professional suggestions from IPR judges. Following the judgment, the courts would offer guidance and issue early warning to the parties involved, in the form of opinion exchange and judicial suggestion, targeting at the problems and risks existing in creation, application, protection and management of intellectual property rights. In 2015, the courts gave individual guidance to nearly 300 cases, and received feedbacks from 15 businesses including HUASHI Group, Quanyou Furniture and some other well-known enterprises, proving that good social effect had been achieved to some extent.
VII. Port Supervision Intensified to Elevate Customs’ Protection of Intellectual Property Rights
Key ports were put under intensified supervision. Chengdu Customs reinforced the supervision of key ports, including airport customs as well as post office agencies and on-site offices of customs. Based on combination of early-stage risk analysis and field supervision, the customs redoubled efforts to crack down the infringing imports & exports in the form of “breaking up the whole into parts” or “ants’ moving”(meaning Many a little makes a mickle). Major efforts were made to crack down the infringing goods ) like luggage, watches, cosmetics, drugs, foods, electronic products and home appliances imported to or from Africa, USA, Europe, Hong Kong, Southeast Asian Countries (or regions). Relevant law enforcement mechanism were further improved, so as to maintain a tough stance against IPR violation and making & selling of fake and inferior commodities targeted at major goods such as goods for everyday consumption, cosmetics, electrical equipment through mail and express delivery from cross-border internet trading. Throughout the year, no large-scale infringement act was discovered along the Import & Export segment under the jurisdiction of Chengdu Customs.
Key points were highlighted during special campaigns. Chengdu Customs joined the “Action Cleaning” to safeguard the overseas images of the products made in China through which the law enforcement awareness of the parties concerned was enhanced, conducive to safeguarding the international image of the products “made in China”, or more specifically, “made in Sichuan”. For this purpose, Chengdu Customs established a special mechanism of leadership and coordination to strengthen coordination and strategic cooperation in independent IPR protection with other law-enforcing departments as well as the trade associations and export-oriented famous-brand enterprises, and to further regulate and improve the legal guidance and operational norms concerning law enforcement criteria and discretionary power. Through these efforts, the import & export enterprises and processing trade enterprises under the jurisdiction of Chengdu Customs further enhanced their awareness to seek IPR protection and do business legitimately.