2021 Statistics from IP Division of China’s Supreme Court- Part I

[ 2022-04-20 ]

Source: IP updates public WeChat account=Continuous increasing number of cases=

1. Basic Statistics

In 2021, the IP division received a total of 4,335 new technical intellectual property and monopoly cases, and concluded 3,460 cases, with a concluding ratio of 79.8%.



Growth rate compared with 2020







Concluding Rate: 79.8%



2. Closed cases per judge and average trial cycle per case


In 2021, judges closed 83.5 cases per capita, an increase of 1.2% per year. The average trial period for all types of cases was 134 natural days.


Trial Time

Average for all cases

134 days

Civil 2nd instance

129.4 days




3. Breakdown of cases



Of the 2,569 new civil second instance cases, 576 were disputes over infringement of patent rights, 806 were disputes over infringement of utility models, 213 were disputes over ownership of patent rights, 68 were disputes over new plant varieties, 2 were disputes over layout designs for integrated circuits, 79 were disputes over trade secrets, 593 were disputes over computer software, 153 were disputes over technology-based intellectual property contracts, 25 were disputes over monopoly, and 54 other types of disputes.


Among the 1,290 new administrative second instance substantive cases, 457 cases are disputes over the rejection of invention patent applications, 36 cases are disputes over the rejection of utility model patent applications, 3 cases are disputes over the rejection of design patent applications, 283 cases are disputes over the invalidation of invention patent rights, 234 cases are disputes over the invalidation of utility model patent rights, 102 cases are disputes over the invalidation of design patent rights, 1 case is dispute over the rejection of a new plant variety application and 2 cases are disputes over monopoly administrative disputes, and 172 cases are administrative cases including administrative penalties and administrative rulings. Compared with the previous year, there was a significant increase in all types of administrative disputes, with the largest increase in the number of disputes including the rejection of reexamination of patent applications for inventions and invalidation of patent rights for inventions.


4. Data on decision results


Among the 2,023 civil second instance substantive cases concluded, 1,004 cases were concluded by upholding the original decision, with a maintenance rate of 49.6%; 381 cases were concluded by remanding or retrial, with a remanding rate of 18.8%. The remand rate in civil cases was 4.8%.


Civil 2nd Instance cases concluded



1,004, 49.6%


381, 18.8%

Remand rate



Of the 971 administrative cases of second instance concluded, 862 cases were upheld, representing an upholding rate of 88.8%; 64 cases were remanded for retrial or remand, representing a remand rate of 6.6%, and 2 cases were concluded in other ways.


Administrative 2nd Instance cases



862, 88.8%


64, 6.6%


5. Foreign-related cases


In 2021, the Division received 437 new foreign-related cases, accounting for 10.1% of the total number of cases received, representing a year-on-year increase of 16.2%. Among them, 176 cases were civil cases of second instance and 261 cases were administrative cases of second instance.



Characteristics of various types of cases


Civil patent cases:

(1) Claim interpretation remains the main difficulty in such cases. The court further clarified the standards for adjudication of issues related to claim interpretation, such as the division of technical features, determination of equivalent features, identification of functional features and use of environmental features, to ensure that the scope and strength of patent protection matched the inventive contribution made by the patentee based on prior art.

(2) The types of defenses to infringement were mostly the defense of legal source and the defense of prior art.

(3) The amount of damages for patent infringement is calculated in a more scientific and reasonable manner. The rules of evidence were flexibly applied to ascertain the facts relating to infringement damage or profit as far as possible, and the amount of damages for patent infringement was determined scientifically and reasonably.

(4) Disputes over the ownership of patent (application) rights accounted for the highest proportion of disputes over inventions on duty. The main controversial points of such cases are how to understand the inventions at issue and how to grasp whether the inventions at issue "mainly use" the material and technical conditions of the original unit.


Technical Secret

(1) The number of cases continues to grow, involving a wider range of technical fields and an increase in the number of cases involving new technologies. 12 substantive cases of technical secrets disputes were accepted in 2019, which rises to 44 in 2020 and 79 in 2021. (2) The legal issues involved are complex and diverse. The procedural issues mainly involve jurisdictional disputes. Disputes over substantive issues include the content and scope of technical secrets, the determination of the amount of compensation for infringement of technical secrets and confidentiality measures, infringement of technical secrets, modification and improvement of substantive contributions in technical secret acts, and the determination of whether technical information of definitive products constitutes technical secrets. (3) The number of cases with high damages has increased significantly. Following the "Cabo" technical secret infringement case in 2020 with the maximum 5 times punitive damages of more than 30 million RMB, in the "vanillin" technical secret infringement case awarded a damage of 159 million RMB.