2.Case characteristics analysis
a. Overall characteristics of cases
In 2019, technology-related IP cases tried by the IP Court shared the following characteristics:
(i) The cases involved a wide range of technologies.
(ii) The cases have had a large social impact. One is the high market value of the intellectual property involved in the cases. Two is the high degree of attention from society when the cases involve cutting-edge technologies or have an impact on the national economy or people’s livelihood, such as standard essential patents (SEPs), pharmaceutical patents, etc.
(iii) The cases involve interconnected procedures. The IP Court accepted many mutually competitive litigation cases in which the parties filed multiple civil and administrative litigations against each other in different courts.
(iv) The trial period of the cases was short. The average trial period for substantive cases of second instance concluded by the IP Court in 2019 was only 73 days, which indicated that the trial period for cases involving the protection of technology-related intellectual property rights had been considerably shortened.
(v) The legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and foreign parties are equally protected. The IP Court continues to insist on equal treatment and equal protection of the intellectual property rights of both Chinese and foreign market entities of various types, according to law.
(vi) The tendency towards increasing judicial protection is clear. Among the cases concluded, cases supporting the obligee’s claims according to law accounted for 61.2% of the total.
b. Characteristics of civil patent cases
The civil patent cases heard by the IP Court have the following characteristics:
(i) There are many cases in which claim construction and the determination of equivalent infringement are the main disputes.
(ii) Legitimate source defense, prior art defense, and preemption defense are the most common types of defense.
(iii) Related cases with commercial rights protection account for a certain proportion.
c. Characteristics of administrative cases concerning patents
The administrative cases concerning patents heard by the IP Court have the following characteristics:
(i) There are many cases involving invention patents and high-tech fields.
(ii) Judgment of inventiveness is the main dispute in most cases. There were a total of 92 cases involving an inventiveness judgment, accounting for about 70% of patent administrative cases, and among the cases where the judgment of the first instance was reversed, 80% involve examination of inventiveness.
(iii) Among the cases sent back for retrial, many cases have natural persons as the applicants.
The Intellectual Property Court of the Supreme People’s Court has handled numerous intellectual property cases, as reported above. The court also released “Summary of the Supreme People’s Court Intellectual Property Court Judgement (2019)”, which features a selection of 36 typical cases from the cases closed in 2019, and details on the refined 40 adjudication rules. It can be said that these cases and adjudication rules are the guidelines and standards used in hearing difficult and complicated IP cases.