Resilient China


Intellectual property protection litigation

After decades of breakneck economic growth and as its media environment continues to evolve, China’s notoriously cavalier approach to intellectual property rights is also changing. In fact, it has recently become the most litigious country in the world when it comes to IPR protection in the digital domain. The analysis on 351 cases involving the country’s five biggest websites from 2003 to 2013 revealed that, in that decade, the win rate was 24 per cent for websites being sued—but the rate jumped to 90 per cent for websites suing others. Plaintiffs were awarded a median 5,502 yuan in damages—representing a median 10 per cent of their claims. More interesting, the data revealed the significant impacts of the situation of the litigants (the party capacity effect), the type of content in dispute (the medium effect) and the jurisdiction on the outcome of cases. This research adds an empirical footnote on the growing field of copyright on the Internet and sheds light on the general direction of digital intellectual property rights protection in China (Lin, under review of Asian Pacific Law Review).