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Beijing court sees surge in unfair competition cases

By CAO YIN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-08 16:35

Disputes involving unfair competition on the internet have risen sharply, creating new challenges for judges, a Beijing court said on Monday.

Haidian District People's Court said the number of intellectual property cases it handles has increased on average by 30 percent each year since 2012.

"The rise in IP disputes are caused by unfair competition — last year we accepted 259 related cases," said Cao Liping, a judge with the court's No 5 civil tribunal. He added that about 65 percent of unfair competition cases occur online.

Some individuals and companies use the internet to illegally obtain information from competitors, while others use brand names without permission, Cao said.

In June, a major life insurance company demand 500,000 yuan ($72,430) in compensation from a rival that illegally used its trademarks online to mislead customers into thinking the companies were linked.

"We found the defendant had put the plaintiff's information on its website without permission," said Cao, adding that such action constitutes unfair competition.

Zhang Xuan, another tribunal judge, said the increase in disputes has also brought challenges for litigants, "as they must collect and provide strong evidence".

She said it is more difficult for people to collect evidence and prove an IP infringement due to the rapid development in online technology, and added that litigants should hire experts to help collect evidence.

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