China's protection of intellectual property was strengthened last year as there was a rapid growth in IP applications, registrations and approvals, according to a white paper released on Friday.
The paper, issued by the China National Intellectual Property Administration, said the country's efforts, capabilities and systems to protect IP rights and handle relevant lawsuits were all improved in 2022.
"A number of campaigns against infringements of patents, trademarks, copyrights, Olympic symbols and new varieties of plants were launched by government organs last year, and civil, administrative and criminal trials of IP-related cases were also further advanced," Zhang Zhicheng, spokesman for the administration, said at a news conference regarding the white paper on Friday.
Tong Bo, an official from the State Administration for Market Regulation, said that market supervision departments nationwide strongly protected the legitimate rights of IP owners and effectively offered a sound environment for innovators in 2022 by solving some 43,500 cases of patent and trademark violations.
"We severely punished violators of patents and trademarks, with tightened supervision on counterfeit goods, especially health and safety products," she said.
Ding Guangyu, deputy chief judge of the No 3 Civil Adjudication Tribunal with the Supreme People's Court, the country's top court, said that the number of lawsuits relating to patents and technical contracts had seen a constant rise.
Data in the paper showed Chinese courts received more than 526,000 IP-related disputes last year, he said.
"Courts at all levels have fully protected the legitimate rights of patent owners and inventors, with stronger legal support for business secrets, so as to promote development of core technologies and emerging industries as well as to serve and motivate economic growth," he said.
In addition, Chinese courts have intensified the battle against IP crimes related to seeds, "and attached greater importance to fighting those infringing upon IP rights by taking advantage of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things," Ding added.
Last year, China also saw more individuals and enterprises applying for or registering patents, trademarks and copyrights. "The efficiency of reviewing such applications made a steady improvement," said Zhang, from the top IP regulator.
In 2022, the number of valid invention patents exceeded 4.21 million, up 17.1 percent year-on-year, and utility model patents were over 10.83 million, up 17.2 percent year-on-year, said the paper.
It also said that trademarks registered in China reached 42.67 million by the end of last year, up 14.6 percent year-on-year, and copyright registrations in 2022 also increased 1.4 percent compared with 2021.
The paper also said patent applications and trademark registrations were both streamlined.