China will step up the trials of intellectual property rights (IPR) cases this year to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, a work report of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said Sunday.
In 2016, China improved IPR protection rules by making judiciary interpretations on the trials of certain kinds of cases, including patent right cases, according to the report delivered by Chief Justice Zhou Qiang to the National People's Congress.
Last year, China tried a series of trademark cases lodged by U.S. basketball icon Michael Jordan, demonstrating the country's stance and determination to reinforce judicial protection for IPR, the report said.
Michael Jordan sued Qiaodan Sports, a Chinese sportswear and shoe maker, for unauthorized uses of his name and identity in 2012.
The SPC in December 2016 ruled in favor of Jordan, saying that the company's use of Chinese characters translated from "Jordan" as a trademark violated Michael Jordan's right to his name and broke the Trademark Law.
The court also ruled that Jordan has no exclusive rights to the use of the word "Qiaodan," which is the pinyin (phonetic spelling) of the Chinese characters for Jordan, and rejected his claims in this regard.
Three IPR courts in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou explored the application of punitive damages to solve problems including low infringement costs and high costs for safeguarding rights, the report said.
Four IPR tribunals, in charge of trans-regional IPR cases, opened in the cities of Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu last year, it said.
Chinese courts at different levels concluded some 147,000 IPR cases in 2016, boosting mass entrepreneurship and innovation, according to the work report.
Last year, China prosecuted 21,505 people for crimes in this regard, including IPR infringements, according to a work report of the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) delivered by Procurator-General Cao Jianming.
Last year, 29 provincial-level regions set up information sharing platforms for law enforcement and criminal justice to crack down on IPR infringement and fake products.
This year, the SPP will prioritize the punishment of IPR-related criminal cases, among others, the report said.
Shen Changyu, head of the State Intellectual Property Office, told the press on Sunday that the country will coordinate efforts of different government departments and industries for IPR protection this year.
The country will also create IPR protection centers, reinforce law enforcement and nurture IPR-intensive industries, Shen said.