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More foreign companies involved in IPR cases

China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-15 07:28

Global competition, protectionism contribute to increase in lawsuits

The top court has seen an increase in intellectual property lawsuits involving overseas companies in the first five months of the year amid economic globalization and rising domestic awareness.

From January to May, judges nationwide announced verdicts in 24,544 intellectual property rights cases, up by 36.6 percent year-on-year, according to the Supreme People's Court.

About 2 percent of those cases, or 504 lawsuits, involved overseas litigants. Last year, 1.7 percent of 83,850 such lawsuits nationwide were foreign-related, according to the top court.

"With fiercer global competition, as well as a tendency for trade protectionism in certain countries, we have seen a remarkable increase in cross-border IPR conflicts," said Kong Xiangjun, president of the top court's intellectual property tribunal.

Most of the IPR lawsuits that involve overseas companies are related to infringement of trademarks, patents or copyrights, Kong said.

The foreign parties involved are mainly from the United States, major European countries such as Britain, France and Germany, and Japan, he said.

For example, multinational giants such as Microsoft, Apple, General Electric and Abbott Laboratories from the US, Michelin from France, BMW from Germany and Honda from Japan have all appeared as litigants in IPR lawsuits in China in recent years, according to the top court.

Rising awareness of IPR protection of domestic companies, particularly some IT companies, and intensified efforts of judicial departments to combat copyright infringement, have also contributed to the high incidence of such law cases, Kong said.

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