Released by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of 12 Model Cases in 2020 Involving IPR Protection by Procuratorial Organs (Mainland China)

Jolene Chen

On April 25, 2021, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate released 12 model cases involving the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) by procuratorial organs in 2020.  These cases show how IPR protection is strengthened to effectively safeguard the rights and interests of the relevant parties from the perspective of the people’s procuratorate through the supervision of the established IPR criminal infringement cases and the strict review of the decision to prosecute.  Three of the model cases will be briefly introduced in this article.

Case 1: In the case involving trade secret misappropriation by Beijing Huajie Information Technology Co., Ltd, Li and others, the people’s procuratorate intervened early on at the request of public security agency after the victim reported the case.  The people’s procuratorate guided the public security agency to collect evidence and added unit crimes that the public security agency overlooked after conducting the relevant judicial examination during the review of the prosecution.  Accomplices were also charged for the crime of misappropriating trade secrets.  The procuratorial agency fully performed the function of pre-trial guidance in handling the case, comprehensively collected and consolidated the evidence according to trial standards, and completed the prosecution of omitted crimes and offenders.  This properly reflected the professionalism of the procuratorial agency and performance of its legal supervision function.

Case 5: In the case involving copyright infringement by a Li and others in Shanghai, the procuratorial agency also intervened in the investigation early on, guided the collection of evidence, and conducted professional analysis on the criminal charges involved and the criminal status during the period between the review of the charges to be brought and the public prosecution court hearing, such as classifying the infringed works, defining the infringing acts, clarifying which of them constitute acts of reproduction or publication under the law, and defining the criminal status.  In addition, the appropriate criminal charge to be brought was also determined for acts that involve both infringing reproduction and publication.  The case reflects the professionalism of the procuratorial agency and further demonstrates the active performance of their duties to protect the rights and interests of the rights holder.

Case 9: In the case involving a registered trademark counterfeited by a Yu and others in Hebei, the procuratorial agency also addressed the issue of overlooked charges and offenders by the public security agency and requested the public security agency to continue the investigation or supplement the transfer of offenders for prosecution.  The procuratorate agency filed a counterfeiting a registered trademark charge for the production and sale of [goods] using a counterfeit registered trademark.  For the other incidental offenses, such as the crime of knowingly selling counterfeit products, the procuratorial agency filed a charge for selling goods bearing a counterfeit registered trademark.  For manufacturing packaging boxes and bags affixed with the registered trademark, a charge for unauthorized manufacturing of registered trademark labeling was filed.  In this case, the procuratorate agency dug deep into the criminal clues to crackdown on the whole criminal chain.