China has made more intellectual property data public in the past few
years, which is helpful for research and business strategies, IP law
experts in the United States said.
"Chinese courts have made
public an immense volume of court judgments since 2014. ... The
availability of this huge number of cases is transforming scholarship on
the Chinese legal system as well as the practice of law within China,"
said Benjamin Liebman, director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies
at Columbia Law School, at a webinar on Wednesday.
hosted by the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, took a poll of the
more than 150 participants, mostly IP law researchers and
practitioners, and found that 61 percent agreed that the Chinese
judiciary has become more transparent on IP data over the past five
The website of China's Supreme People's Court currently
hosts nearly 92 million cases, said Liebman, which is "huge progress"
for "a system in which seven to 10 years ago locating cases was
extraordinarily difficult unless you had very good connections in the
He agreed that the IP environment has improved, based on
his own research, which shows that transparency rates in specialized
areas such as IP are much higher.
A few sets of data are
important in the IP space, including those for patent applications,
patent licensing and litigation, and the litigation data is especially
helpful from a strategic planning or business point of view, said Robert
Merges, a law professor at University of California, Berkeley, and
co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.
2014, there has been a major change in litigation data in China, and the
data on patent cases is available on the proprietary databases, he
"That is extremely helpful, because even though from a
social science point of view, it might not be statistically
representative, it's so much more information than was available
before," he told the webinar.
Melissa Schneider, head of US
accounts for Darts-ip, a Belgian firm that provides IP case law data and
analytics, echoed Merges' opinion, saying her clients rely on such data
as win rates, injunctions granted, and damages awards.
Just last year, China had more than 1.5 million patent applications
filed at the National Intellectual Property Administration, according to
That's a "huge leap", overtaking the US and Japan, which traditionally held the top two spots in patent applications, she said.
company started collecting cases in China almost 10 years ago when
there weren't decisions published online. About 30 percent of the IP
decisions were available six to 10 years ago, and she estimated that now
at least 70 percent of the decisions have been made public by the
Supreme People's Court.
"Data and economic evidence have been
increasingly utilized by parties and relied upon by enforcement agencies
and courts in antitrust and IP cases in China," said Fei Deng,
vice-president of Charles River Associates, a legal consultancy based in
"It is of course still not as ubiquitous
as in the US, and it is perhaps more common in high-stakes cases rather
than small cases, but there is definitely an upward trend over the past
few years," she said.