Pudong court sees surge in intellectual property cases

Ke Jiayun
Civil IPR cases have jumped over 45 percent annually over the last five years, according to a white paper.
Ke Jiayun

Civil intellectual property cases in the Pudong New Area have seen an average annual increase of more than 45 percent over the past five years, the Pudong New Area People’s Court said in a white paper released on Wednesday.

The jump was attributed in large part to the development of the Shanghai free trade zone, the improvement of the local commercial environment and a growing awareness of safeguarding intellectual property rights.

Over 40 percent of the cases were brought forward by enterprises based in the free trade zone. These businesses cover a range of industries, including information technology, manufacturing, culture, e-commerce, information service and financial service.

Between the end of last year and the establishment of the free trade zone in 2013, the court accepted nearly 20,000 intellectual property cases, more than 17,000 of which pertained to copyright issues.

Many of these cases involved foreign plaintiffs or defendants, including well-known brands such as LV, Burberry, New Balance and Uber.

In one case handled last year, American video game publisher Activision Publishing, Inc, which publishes the popular first-person shooter franchise "Call of Duty," brought three domestic companies to court for using the game's Chinese name "Shimingzhaohuan."

The game "Call of Duty" was released in the United States in 2003 and entered the Chinese market in 2012. Activision later registered the game's Chinese name, "Shimingzhaohuan," as a trademark.

In one case from 2015, the American games publisher accused Huaxia Films, a Beijing-based film distributor, for misusing "Shimingzhaohuan" to market a film by the same name. Activision took its case to court, claiming that its rights were infringed upon by the film company.

The court eventually ordered Huaxia Film to compensate Activision 600,000 yuan (US$90,000) and its appeal was later rejected by a higher court.

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