While pledging to give stronger legal support to well-known works, Chinese courts are also determined to maintain the order of registered trademarks, so as to reduce the protection costs for IP rights' owners, an official from China's top court said.
"We'll make greater efforts to protect the legitimate rights and interests of names and characters in popular works, so as to improve the quality and effectiveness of IP protection," Lin Guanghai, chief judge of No 3 Civil Adjudication Tribunal, a division that specializes in handling IP cases with the Supreme People's Court, said on Thursday.
He said that the move is to implement an IP cooperative protection guideline jointly issued by the top court and the China National Intellectual Property Administration in February, calling for all courts to strictly abide by the Trademark Law and the Anti-Unfair Competition Law to help innovators reduce their costs in protecting IP rights.
Two days before the judge made the remark, the country's prolific fairytale writer Zheng Yuanjie announced that he will no longer claim the intellectual property rights of the 673 trademarks that he considered have been used without his authorization.
"I'll keep writing, but I'll no longer publish new works, because it's difficult to protect the IP rights," the 68-year-old author said in a "farewell letter" posted on his account on microblogging site Sina Weibo.
He claimed that his characters' names were improperly registered by companies for trademarks, and in the past 21 years, he's only won a few cases.
The letter quickly went viral online, arousing a heated discussion on IP protection among the public. As of press time, a topic with the hashtag "Zheng Yuanjie Farewell Letter" on Weibo had been viewed more than 16.5 million times.
To help reduce the cost of protecting IP rights and improve the efficiency of handling IP-related cases, Beijing courts have taken action.
"We've worked with IP government agencies, industrial associations and professionals since last year to jointly deal with IP disputes through mediation, in a bid to strengthen IP protection and focus on solving complicated problems in this regard," said Kou Fang, president of the Beijing High People's Court.
A total of 56,803 IP-related disputes were successfully resolved last year under the joint mediation working pattern, he added.
Data released on Thursday by the country's top court showed that Chinese courts accepted more than 520,000 IP-related lawsuits last year.
Also last year, courts nationwide took the initiative to serve the country's strategies and promote innovation-driven development, with stronger IP protection given to major sectors and emerging industries, including new technologies, according to Tao Kaiyuan, vice-president of the top court.