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Intellectual Property Protections


China has a sound legal system of intellectual property rights and protection, providing a wide range of relief and channels of enforcement. China is also a contracting party of most international intellectual property conventions.

China adopts a system of intellectual property protection covering both administrative and judicial channels. With the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy as the core, and support from the Outline of the Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property in China (2016-2020) currently in place, China's judicial protection system for intellectual property has seen continuous improvement. In 2014, special courts for intellectual property rights (IPR) cases in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou all conducted special trials on IPR. In 2019, the Intellectual Property Court of the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China began to hear intellectual property appeals from professional and technical IPR cases across the nation. Since then, these courts have gradually unified IPR cases’ standards of adjudication. The overall efficiency of the intellectual property examination and approval mechanism, as well as the level of judicial protection, is seeing continuous improvement in China.

In 2018, China reestablished the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), thus achieving the centralized and unified management of patents, trademarks, geographical indications, and layout designs of integrated circuits. The CNIPA is responsible for the protection, registration, and administrative adjudication of intellectual property rights; this includes the review and defeasance of patents, trademarks, and layout designs of integrated circuits. In terms of intellectual property protection, the administrative enforcement of trademark and patent law is under the jurisdiction of the Comprehensive Law Enforcement Team of Market Regulation. The CNIPA is responsible for the business guidance of trademark and patent law enforcement, while the State Administration for Market Regulation is responsible for the organization and guidance of trademark and patent law enforcement, further optimizing the mechanism of administrative law enforcement on IPR. According to the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China and other laws, regulations, and policies, the National Copyright Administration of the People's Republic of China, provincial copyright bureaus, and local cultural market comprehensive law enforcement agencies are responsible for administrative law enforcement of copyrights; thus together they constitute the national system of copyright administrative law enforcement.

Chinese law protects the following categories of IPR: patents (including inventions, utility models, and appearance designs), trademarks (including well-known trademarks), geographical indications, copyrights (including computer software) and neighboring rights, layout designs of integrated circuits, new varieties of plants, trade secrets, etc.

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