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    Chinese courts tackling plant variety patent cases


    By CAO YIN | chinadaily.com.cn |

    Chinese courts have been dealing with many cases involving the patents of new varieties of plants, Tao Kaiyuan, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court, the nation's top court, told a news conference on Thursday.

    Tao cited data as revealing that the SPC's Intellectual Property Court, a national-level IP court, handled 18,924 cases from January 2019, when it was established, to December last year. Of those cases, 15,710 have been concluded.

    She said that a large number of lawsuits heard in the IP court involved foreign litigants, adding that the fair and efficient handling of the cases has helped improved the country's judicial credibility in the world.

    "More foreign enterprises have chosen Chinese courts to solve their IP disputes, and our country is also becoming one of the preferred venues for resolving international IP litigation," she said.

    He Zhonglin, first deputy chief judge of the IP court, said that the court has always attached great importance to protecting IP rights in the seed industry.

    He said that since the court's establishment, it has handled 481 cases involving new varieties of plants, including major crops. Of those, 364 lawsuits have been concluded.

    The court ruled in favor of the owners of plant variety rights in more than 80 percent of the concluded cases, He said, adding that the amount of compensation violators must pay is also increasing.

    "We'll continue making greater efforts to protect IP rights in the seed field, with full implementation of punitive damages and stronger coordination with agricultural government agencies," he noted.

    Given the difficulties of IP-related case handling, especially those involving patents and technologies, he said that the court is considering formulating a specialized procedure for IP litigation so that the quality and professionalism of relevant disputes can be further improved.