Laws and Regulations Update in March 2017

1.The National People’s Congress Votes to Adopt the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China

On 15th March 2017 the National People’s Congress voted to adopt the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China which will take effect on 1st October 2017.

The new General Principles of the Civil Law includes new provisions on inheritance rights of a fetus, boundaries of limitation on capacity for civil conduct, legal entities, statutes of limitations, etc.

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Laws and Regulations Update in February 2017

1.The State Council Issues the Notice on Active Measures to Expand Opening Up and Use Foreign Funds

On 17th January 2017 the State Council issued the Notice on Active Measures to Expand Opening Up and Use Foreign Funds in order to clarify opening up and foreign fund use policies and create a fair and favorable market environment.

(Source: Website of the Central Government)

http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2017-01/17/content_5160624.htm

2.The State Administration for Industry and Commerce Publishes the Opinions on Comprehensive Promotion of the Simplified Registration Cancellation Policy

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Shall Quantities of Malicious Registration Be Improper Means in China Trademark Law?

(By Wang Ting) In China, the Trademark Law applies the Principle of First Filing and when the Trademark Office reviews these applications, they usually examine whether there are prior applications or registrations existed, but not the intentions of filing such prior registrations. It means they don’t consider the bad faith during trademark registration procedure. Many foreign companies have applied and obtained the trademarks for their own products and services at the beginning. However, as so-called villains can always outsmart, besides the malicious registrations of others’ un-registered trademarks, there are lots of cases in which the trademark squatters register the well-known or popular trademarks on different goods or services. Thus foreign companies suffered from such consequences. Today, in our introduced case, we are going to discuss about the situations that the acts of malicious registrations under different classes are finally determined as improper means as stipulated in the Trademark Law.

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Laws and Regulations Update in January 2017

1.The State Council Issues the Administrative Rules on the Approval and Filing of Enterprise Investment Projects

On 14th December 2015 Li Keqiang, the Premier of the State Council signed an order of the State Council to promulgate the Rules on the Approval and Filing of Enterprise Investment Projects which will take effect from 1st February 2017. The Rules further standardize the government acts of approving and filing of enterprise investment projects.

(Source: Website of the Central Government)

http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2016-12/14/content_5147959.htm

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Beijing IPR Court First Supports Time-Based Billing for Attorney Fees in IPR Cases

(By Wang Ting)Recently the court has approved of the attorney fee up to 1 million RMB in an IPR case, and it is the first time that the court has applied time-based billing to calculate such attorney fee. Meanwhile in this case, the court has also confirmed the principles of determining the attorney fee on three items. Today, we are going to go through this case and discuss about the reasons why the court has fully approved of the attorney fee this time.

Case Introduction

Plaintiff: Beijing Watchdata Technologies Co., Ltd (the “Watchdata”)

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Does MOC’s Prohibition on Item Sweepstakes Decrease the Profits for Game Companies in China?

(By You Yunting) Recently, the Ministry of Culture has issued the Notice of Ministry of Culture on Regulating Online Game Operation and Strengthening Interim and Ex Post Supervision (Referred to as “Notice”), which will be put into effect as of May, 2017. The Notice contains lots of specific policies, including the restrictive policy on providing virtual props and value-added services of an online game by sweepstakes (Referred to as “Item Sweepstakes”), which are the significant sources of profits for game companies. In this article, we’ll discuss whether this policy would affect the incomes of these game companies or not.

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Why Does Shanghai Court Dismiss a Non-use-Oriented Trademark Register in Malicious Lawsuit?

(By Yue Mengyan) There are many applicants who register a tremendous number of trademarks without the use-oriented purpose. Moreover, they register trademarks on obvious malicious purpose. In such situation, their enforcement for trademark protection shall be limited and their claims for compensation against trademark infringement may not be favored by the court.

Case Introduction

Appellant (Plaintiff at the first instance): Guangzhou Zhinanzhen Exhibition Service Co., Ltd. (the “ZHINANZHEN”)

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Could Coexistence Agreement Be Accepted in Trademark Application in China?

(By Yue Mengyan) Pursuant to China trademark laws and regulations, if certain trademarks have been already registered for certain goods, applicants cannot apply for such same or similar trademarks for any same or similar products. However, if the trademark coexistence agreement is made by the right holder of prior registered trademark and applicant of an identical or similar trademark without interfering in each other’s interests, then it is possible for the applicant to successfully obtain the approval of such application.

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Laws and Regulations Update in December 2016

1. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Promulgates the Cyber Security Law of the People’s Republic of China

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the Cyber Security Law of the People’s Republic of China on 7th November 2016 to clarify duties and power of regulatory authorities about cyber security and legal responsibilities for personal information protection, strengthen individual’s control of private information and take tougher actions against infringement on personal information.  [Full Text]

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Why It Is Difficult to Protect Copyrights in Live-Show Platforms in China?

(By You Yunting) Some users of ZHIHU.com (One of the most well-organized community for sharing knowledges online) asked: Would the network host infringe any right while singing at his or her own live-show room? If one host receives the user contributions from the audiences for his or her singing at such live-broadcast room, would such behavior infringe any right? Here come my answers:

The biggest problem of the hosts’ singing at their own live-show rooms is not about whether such behaviors infringe any right or not. Instead, the right holders of such songs have tremendous difficulties in protecting their rights.

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How to Determine Joint Liabilities of shareholder for IPR Infringement in China?

(By Wang Ting and You Yunting)The limited liability of the shareholders means that the liability of the shareholder to the company are limited to its capital contribution, and the independent personality of corporation means that the Company shall fulfill its external liabilities by all of its properties. Therefore, the shareholders usually do not take personal responsibility in IPR infringement cases even when the long-term business of the company is infringement of the intellectual property rights (“IPR”) in most cases. However, today we will introduce a recent case, in which the shareholders were determined to take such joint liabilities for the IPR infringements.

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Does Engaging Employee liable for Non-Competition Constitute Infringement in China?

(By Yue Mengyan) An employee violates non-competition clause in his previous labor contract with his former employer, and works for a new employer, which has a competitive relationship with his former one. Could the former employer claim the new employer to be liable for such infringement, in addition to the employee’s liability for breach of contract? Pursuant to relevant laws and regulations in China, we will introduce a case and make our analysis in the following.

Case Introduction:

Appellant (defendant of first instance): Liu Guoqing

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Laws and Regulations Update in November 2016

1.The Ministry of Commerce Publishes the Provisional Rules on the Establishment and Change of Registered Records of Foreign Invested Enterprises

Published on 8th October 2016, the Rules consists of clauses on the application scope, registration process, supervision and inspection procedures, legal responsibilities, etc. relating to the registration policy for the foreign invested businesses applying for establishment or a change of registered records not involving special access rules of PRC, set out in the revised versions of four foreign investment related laws including the Law of Foreign-funded Enterprises, issued by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.   [Full Text]

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Does the “GAP Underwear” Trademark Have Adverse Effect by Its Name?  

(By Luo Yanjie) Trademark Office (the “CTMO”) has been increasingly tightened its standards on trademark reviewing and claiming that the trademark itself may cause “adverse effect”. Competent authorities are more than inclined to use such grounds indiscriminately by treating it as an all-purpose shield to deal with distinct situations. Recently, the Supreme People’s Court remedied such phenomenon by making its decision on the GAP Underwear’s cases. The following is our detailed introduction:

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Laws and Regulations Update in October 2016

1. Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Amending Four Laws including the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises

Published on 5th September 2016 and coming into effect on 1st October 2016, the Decision involves the amendment of Law of the PRC on Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises, Law of the PRC on Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures, Law of the PRC on Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures and Law of the PRC on the Protection of Investments of Taiwan Compatriots. According to the amended laws, the registration system applies to foreign invested companies, joint ventures, Chinese-Foreign cooperative companies, which are not required by national laws to follow special market access administration rules promulgated by or with approval of the State Council, when they are being established or undergoing a change. The decrees issued by the State Council ordering a temporary change of laws and rules for the free trade zone as authorized by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will no longer continue in effect.   [Full Text]

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