Max penalty to be raised from 7 to 10 years imprisonment for IP crimes

By Xiaoming Liu, Chofn IP

On 26 December 2020, the Chinese Congress released the 11th amendment of the Criminal Law, which will come into effect on 1 March 2021. The three highlights in the amendment involving intellectual property right are summarized below.

  1. Under Article 213, the trademark protection has been extended from goods to services. Although the protection covers services, the amendment has further clarified the issue in the law.

  2. Under Article 213, protection of copyright has been extended to cover the copyright-related rights.

  3. The maximum imprisonment in serious scenarios for the following five crimes has been extended from seven years to ten years. On the other hand, surveillance (管制) and detention (拘役), namely the freedom-limiting penalty lighter than imprisonment, have been abolished.

1)   Counterfeiting registered trademarks;

2)   Selling goods bearing counterfeited registered trademarks;

3)   Illegally manufacturing or selling illegally manufactured identifications of registered trademarks;

4)   Crime of infringing on copyright; and

5)   Crime of infringing on trade secrets.

In general, the scope of protection has been enlarged and the penalty has become heavier. We expect that the amendment will be more deterrent to the infringers and can better protect the legitimate IPRs in China.