A draft amendment to China's patent law has been approved at a State Council executive meeting, presided over by premier Li Keqiang, and will now be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to become law.
A statement released after the meeting said the move will protect the legal rights of patent holders and improve the mechanism for encouraging innovation. The amendment aims to strengthen the crackdown on intellectual property rights infringement by substantially raising compensation for victims, targeting violators with increasing fines and compensation, and, clarifies the responsibilities of online service providers. For example, the draft raises the fine range for violators from a minimum of 100,000 yuan ($14,490) to 5 million yuan when the loss to patent holders, and the benefits gained by violators, cannot be determined. The current fines range from 10,000 yuan to 1 million yuan. Inventors and designers will receive a reasonable share of profits brought by patents they made when serving employers.
This is the fourth amendment to China's patent law since 1984, with the latest revision in 2008. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, China ranked first in the number of applications of patents, trademarks and industrial designs this year. Meanwhile, the country moved up by two places to rank 25th in the International IP Index 2018, according to the US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center. Since joining the WTO in 2001, China has amended the laws related to IPR, including those on patents in 2008, trademarks in 2013 and obstructing fair competition in 2017, to boost protection of such rights.