China To Impose New Patent Law Amendment in 2021

Chinese legislators and authorities have amended the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China in 1992, 2000, and 2008 after it was originally conceived in 1985. Now, a new amendment seeks to modernize the code of laws and is set to take effect on June 1, 2021. One country’s patent law tends to reverberate to other countries and the citizens of each, so it’s important to be aware of what these changes might portend if you have patents or intellectual property of your own.

First and foremost, statutory damages for related infractions to patent law will be increased. In addition, a person can now sue for punitive damages as well — which means that a judge can slam a person with additional (and steep) fines if this individual knowingly caused financial harm to the other party or did so through gross negligence. 

Organizations found guilty of violating Chinese patent laws have more to worry about because the China National Intellectual Property Administration can become involved with lawsuits or disputes impact national interests. Chinese intellectual properties are now protected for longer under the law. There are a few other details that won’t likely impact American individuals or companies, but a lawyer can help you sort them out if you feel you might be targeted by Chinese authorities for violating their laws, new or old.

Please take note: statutory damages and punitive damages are still made at the discretion of the courts, but statutory damages have been raised to about $750 U.S. per infraction. That can add up fast if multiple infractions are alleged by the accuser. Also, punitive damages can result in five times the amount of direct damages.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is this: the burden of proof has been lowered by the strengthening of these Chinese laws, which means an accuser won’t have to try as hard to take someone to court — or win once they get there.

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