[IP Law] Amendment to PRC Criminal Law regarding IP industry

20
Apr

In September 2020, the Chinese Patent Law and Copyright Law have been amended. As a consequence, also the PRC Criminal Law was amended to reflect the amendments in The Patent and Copyright Law. 

The Amendment to PRC Criminal Law (XI) (The Amendment) was adopted at the 24th meeting of the Standing Committeeof the 13th National People's Congress on December 26, 2020 and came into force on March 1, 2021.

Comprehensibly, the Amendment effectively implemented the content of the relevant provisions of Chapter I of Economic and Trade Agreement between the government of the PRC and the government of the US, expanded the scope of incrimination of the criminal law regarding intellectual property (Articles 213-215, 217-219 in Section 7), increased the intensity of punishment, and added a new crime. We have summarised major changes here.

First, the Amendment has expanded the scope of incrimination.

For example, Article 213 expands the scope of determining the crime of counterfeiting registered trademark from “goods” to “goods or services”. Covering “services” in Article 213 filled a gap in trademark protection timely because currently the focus of economic development is shifting from physical industry to the Internet industry.

Also, Article 214 expands the scope of incrimination from “the amount of sales is relatively large” to “if the amount of illegal income is relatively large or there are other serious circumstances”. 

Such changes significantly increased disciplinary power.

Second, the Amendment deleted the majority of the lighter primary sentences for most crimes and increased the maximum fixed-term imprisonment for certain crimes. 

For example, Article 213, 214, 215 etc. changed the maximum fixed-term from “less than three years no more than seven years” to “less than three years no more than ten years”, and deleted a lighter primary sentence “criminal detention”

After the Amendment, the cost of committing crime significantly increased, and hopefully will effectively deter the occurrence of relevant criminal acts and further protect the legitimate interests of rights holders.

Third, the Amendment evidently strengthened the protection of trade secrets.

Article 219 changes the words “brings significant losses to persons having the rights to the commercial secrets” to “if the circumstances are serious”.

This means that the infringement of trade secrets can be changed from a “Result constituted offense” to “Non-result constituted offense”

The Amendment also added a new kind of crime, which is the “crime of commercial espionage” stipulated in Article 219.1. These changes show the PRC’s determined attitude to protecting trade secrets.

Comparison of original and amended articles 

Original  ArticlesAmended  Articles
第(di)二百一十三条(tiao)【假冒注册(ce)(ce)商(shang)标(biao)罪】未经注册(ce)(ce)商(shang)标(biao)所有人许可,在同(tong)一(yi)种(zhong)商(shang)品上使用与其注册(ce)(ce)商(shang)标(biao)相同(tong)的商(shang)标(biao),情(qing)节严重的,处三年以下有期徒(tu)刑或者拘役,并处或者单处罚金;情节特别(bie)严重(zhong)的,处三年以上(shang)七年以下有(you)期徒刑,并处罚金(jin)。 Article 213Whoever uses a trademark identical with a registered  trademark on the same kind of goods without the permission of the owner of  the registered trademark shall, if the case is of a serious nature, be  sentenced to imprisonment or  criminal detention of not more than  three years and a fine, or be sentenced to a fine only; or if the circumstances  are especially serious, be sentenced to imprisonment of not less than three  years no more than seven years, and  a fine.第二百一十三条(tiao)【假冒注(zhu)册商(shang)标(biao)罪】未经注(zhu)册商(shang)标(biao)所有人许可(ke),在同一种商(shang)品、服务上使(shi)用(yong)与其注册(ce)商标(biao)相同的商标(biao),情节严重的,处(chu)(chu)三年以下(xia)有期徒(tu)刑,并处(chu)(chu)或者单处(chu)(chu)罚金;情节特别严重的,处(chu)(chu)三年以上十年以下有(you)期徒刑,并处罚金 Article 213Whoever  uses a trademark identical with a registered trademark on the same kind of goods  or services without the permission of the  owner of the registered trademark shall, if the case is of a serious nature,  be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than three years and a fine, or be  sentenced to a fine only; or if the circumstances are especially serious, be  sentenced to imprisonment of not less than three years no more than ten years, and a fine.
第二百(bai)一(yi)十四条【销售(shou)假冒注册(ce)商标的商品罪】销售(shou)明知是假冒注册(ce)商标的商品,销售金(jin)额数额较大(da)的,处三年以下有期徒刑或者拘役,并(bing)处(chu)或者单(dan)处(chu)罚金;销(xiao)售(shou)金额数额巨大(da)的(de),处三年以上七年以(yi)下有期(qi)徒(tu)刑,并处罚金。 Article 214Whoever knowingly sells goods bearing a falsely used  registered trademark shall, if the amount of sales is relatively large, be  sentenced to imprisonment of not more than three years or criminal detentionand a fine, or be  sentenced to a fine only; or if the amount of salesis  huge or there are other especially serious circumstances, be sentenced to  imprisonment of not less than three years no more than seven years, and a fine. 第二百一十四条【销(xiao)售(shou)假冒注册商(shang)(shang)标的商(shang)(shang)品罪(zui)】销(xiao)售(shou)明知是(shi)假冒注册商(shang)(shang)标的商(shang)(shang)品,违法所得(de)数(shu)额较(jiao)大或者有其他严重情节的,处三年以下有期徒刑,并(bing)处或(huo)者单处罚金;违法所得数额巨大(da)或者有(you)其他特别严重情节的,处三年(nian)以上十年(nian)以下有期徒刑,并处罚金。 Article 214Whoever  knowingly sells goods bearing a falsely used registered trademark shall, if the amount of illegal income is relatively large or there are other serious circumstances, be  sentenced to imprisonment of not more than three years and a fine, or be  sentenced to a fine only; or if the amount of illegal  income is huge or there are other especially  serious circumstances, be sentenced to imprisonment of not less than  three years no more than ten years, and a  fine.
第(di)二百一十五条(tiao)【非(fei)法制造(zao)、销售非(fei)法制造(zao)的(de)(de)注(zhu)册(ce)商(shang)标(biao)标(biao)识(shi)罪】伪造(zao)、擅自制造(zao)他人(ren)注(zhu)册(ce)商(shang)标(biao)标(biao)识(shi)或者(zhe)销售伪造(zao)、擅自制造(zao)的(de)(de)注(zhu)册(ce)商(shang)标(biao)标(biao)识(shi),情(qing)节严(yan)重的(de)(de),处三年以(yi)下有期徒刑、拘役(yi)或者管制,并处(chu)或者单(dan)处(chu)罚金(jin);情节(jie)特别(bie)严(yan)重的,处(chu)三年以(yi)上七(qi)年以下(xia)有(you)期徒刑(xing),并处(chu)罚(fa)金。 Article 215Whoever  forges or produces without permit labels of another person's registered  trademark or sells labels of a registered trademark that is forged or  produced without permit shall, if the circumstances are serious, be sentenced  to imprisonment of not more than three years or criminal detention or public surveillance and a  fine, or be sentenced to a fine only; or if the circumstances are especially  serious, be sentenced to imprisonment of not less than three years no more  than seven years, and a fine.第二(er)百一十五条【非法制(zhi)造、销售非法制(zhi)造的注册商(shang)标标识(shi)(shi)罪】伪造、擅自制(zhi)造他人注册商(shang)标标识(shi)(shi)或者销售伪造、擅自制(zhi)造的注册商(shang)标标识(shi)(shi),情节严重(zhong)的,处(chu)三年以下(xia)有期(qi)徒刑,并处(chu)或者单处(chu)罚金;情节特(te)别严重(zhong)的,处(chu)三年以上十年以下有期(qi)徒刑(xing),并处罚金。 
Article 215Whoever  forges or produces without permit labels of another person's registered  trademark or sells labels of a registered trademark that is forged or  produced without permit shall, if the circumstances are serious, be sentenced  to imprisonment of not more than three years and a fine, or be sentenced to a  fine only; or if the circumstances are especially serious, be sentenced to  imprisonment of not less than three years no more than ten years, and a fine.
第二百一十七(qi)条(tiao)【侵(qin)犯著作(zuo)权罪(zui)】以(yi)营利为目的,有(you)下列侵(qin)犯著作(zuo)权情形之一(yi),违法所得(de)数额较大(da)或(huo)者有(you)其他严重情节的,处三(san)年以(yi)下有(you)期(qi)徒(tu)刑或者拘役,并(bing)处或者单处罚金(jin);违法所得数(shu)额巨大(da)或者有(you)其他特别(bie)严重(zhong)情节的(de),处三年以上七年以(yi)下有期徒刑,并处罚(fa)金: (一)未经著作权人许可,复制(zhi)发行其(qi)文字作品、音(yin)乐、电影、电视、录像作品(pin)、计算机软件及其他作品的; (二)出(chu)版(ban)他(ta)人享有专有出(chu)版(ban)权的图书的; (三)未经录(lu)(lu)音录(lu)(lu)像制(zhi)作(zuo)(zuo)者许可,复制(zhi)发行其制(zhi)作(zuo)(zuo)的(de)(de)录(lu)(lu)音录(lu)(lu)像的(de)(de);(四)制作、出售假(jia)冒他人署名的美术(shu)作品的。         
Article 217Whoever,  for profits, infringes upon copyright under any of the following  circumstances shall, if the amount of illegal income is relatively large or  there are other serious circumstances, be sentenced to imprisonment of not  more than three years or criminal detention and a  fine, or be sentenced to a fine only; or if the amount of illegal income is  huge or there are other especially serious circumstances, be sentenced to  imprisonment of not less than three years no more than seven years, and a  fine:(1) Duplicating and/or distributing any literary work, music work, cinematographic work, televised  work, video work, computer software or any other work without the  permission of its copyright owner.(2) Publishing any book of which another  person has the exclusive right of publication.(3) Duplicating and/or  distributing any audio or video product without the permission of its  producer. (4) Producing or selling any artistic work bearing a fake signature  of another person.
第(di)二百一十七条【侵(qin)犯(fan)(fan)著作权罪】以(yi)营利为目(mu)的,有(you)下(xia)列侵(qin)犯(fan)(fan)著作权或者与著(zhu)作权有关的权利(li)的情形(xing)之一(yi),违法所得数额(e)较大(da)或者有(you)其他严重情节(jie)的(de),处(chu)三年以下有(you)期徒刑,并处(chu)或者单(dan)处(chu)罚金;违法所得数额(e)巨大(da)或者有(you)其他特(te)别严重情节(jie)的(de),处(chu)三年以上十(shi)年以(yi)下(xia)有期徒(tu)刑,并处(chu)罚金:(一)未经著作(zuo)权人许可,复制发行、通过信息(xi)网(wang)络向公(gong)众传播其文(wen)字作品(pin)、音乐、美(mei)术、视听作(zuo)品、计(ji)算(suan)机软件(jian)及法律(lv)、行政法规(gui)(gui)规(gui)(gui)定的其他(ta)作品的;(二)出(chu)(chu)版(ban)他人享有(you)专有(you)出(chu)(chu)版(ban)权的(de)图书的(de);(三)未经录音录像制作者许可,复制发行、通过信息网(wang)络(luo)向公众传播其(qi)制作(zuo)的(de)录音录像的(de);(四)未经表(biao)演(yan)者许可,复制发行录(lu)有其(qi)表(biao)演(yan)的(de)(de)录(lu)音录(lu)像制品,或者通(tong)过信息网络向(xiang)公众传播其(qi)表(biao)演(yan)的(de)(de);(五)制作(zuo)、出售假(jia)冒(mao)他人署名的(de)美术作(zuo)品(pin)的(de);(六)未经(jing)著作(zuo)权(quan)(quan)人(ren)(ren)或者(zhe)与著作(zuo)权(quan)(quan)有(you)关的(de)权(quan)(quan)利(li)人(ren)(ren)许可,故意(yi)避(bi)开或者(zhe)破(po)坏权(quan)(quan)利(li)人(ren)(ren)为其作(zuo)品(pin)、录音录像制品(pin)等采(cai)取的(de)保护著作(zuo)权(quan)(quan)或者(zhe)与著作(zuo)权(quan)(quan)有(you)关的(de)权(quan)(quan)利(li)的(de)技术(shu)措施(shi)的(de)。
Article  217Whoever,  for profits, infringes upon copyright or the rights relating to copyright under any of the following  circumstances shall, if the amount of illegal income is relatively large or  there are other serious circumstances, be sentenced to imprisonment of not  more than three years and a fine, or be sentenced to a fine only; or if the amount  of illegal income is huge or there are other especially serious  circumstances, be sentenced to imprisonment of not less than three years no  more than ten years, and a  fine: (1)  Duplicating and/or distributing or through the information network, disseminating to the public any  literary work, music work, artistic  work, audio visual work, computer software or any other work provided for by laws and administrative  regulations without the permission of its copyright owner.(2)  Publishing any book of which another person has the exclusive right of  publication.(3)  Duplicating and/or distributing or  through the information network, disseminating to the public any audio  or video product without the permission of its producer.(4) Duplicating and/or distributing any audio  or video product recording the performance, or through the information  network, disseminating to the public the performance, without the permission  of its performer.(5)  Producing or selling any artistic work bearing a fake signature of another  person.(6) Intentionally evading or disrupting the  technical measures taken by a copyright owner or the owner of rights relating  to the copyright to protect his or her copyright or the rights relating to  the copyright to a work or audio or video product, without the permission  thereof.
第二百一(yi)十(shi)八条【销售侵权复(fu)制品罪(zui)】以营利为目(mu)的,销售明知是本法第二(er)百一十七条规(gui)定的侵权复(fu)制品,违法所得数额巨大的,处三年以(yi)下(xia)有(you)期徒刑或者拘役,并处或者单(dan)处罚金(jin)。 Article 218Whoever, for profits, knowingly sells the  infringing duplicates set forth in Article217 of this Law shall, if the amount of  illegal income is huge, be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than three years or criminal detention and a fine, or be sentenced to a fine  only.第二百一十八条(tiao)【销(xiao)售侵权复(fu)制品罪】以营(ying)利为目的,销(xiao)售明知(zhi)是本(ben)法第二百一十七条(tiao)规定的侵权复(fu)制品,违法所得数(shu)额巨大或者(zhe)有其他严重情节(jie)的,处(chu)五年以(yi)下有期(qi)徒刑,并处或(huo)者单处罚金(jin)。
Article 218Whoever,  for profits, knowingly sells the infringing duplicates set forth in Article  217 of this Law shall, if the amount of illegal income is huge or there are other especially serious circumstances,  be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than five  years and a fine, or be sentenced to a fine only.
第二百一十九(jiu)条(tiao)【侵犯商业秘密(mi)罪】有下列侵犯商业秘密(mi)行为之一,给商(shang)业秘密的(de)权利(li)人造成重大损失的(de),处三年(nian)以下(xia)有期徒刑(xing)或(huo)者(zhe)拘役,并处或者(zhe)单处罚金(jin);造成特别严重(zhong)后果的,处三(san)年(nian)以上七年以下(xia)有期徒刑,并处罚金: (一)以盗(dao)窃、利诱、胁(xie)迫或(huo)者(zhe)其他不正当手段获取权利人的商业秘密的; (二)披(pi)露(lu)、使用(yong)或者允许他(ta)人使用(yong)以前(qian)项手段获取的权利人的商业秘密的; (三)违(wei)反约定或(huo)者违(wei)反(fan)权利人(ren)有关保守商(shang)业(ye)秘密(mi)的(de)要求,披露、使用或(huo)者允(yun)许他人(ren)使用其(qi)所掌握(wo)的(de)商(shang)业(ye)秘密(mi)的(de)。 明知或者(zhe)应知前款所列行(xing)为,获(huo)取、使用或者披露他(ta)人(ren)的(de)商业秘(mi)密的(de),以侵犯商业秘密论。 本条(tiao)所(suo)称商业秘(mi)密(mi),是指不(bu)为公众所(suo)知悉,能为权利(li)人(ren)带来经济利(li)益,具有实用性并经权利(li)人(ren)采取保密(mi)措施的技术信息和经营(ying)信息。本条所称权利人(ren),是指(zhi)商(shang)业(ye)(ye)秘密(mi)的所有人(ren)和经(jing)商(shang)业(ye)(ye)秘密(mi)所有人(ren)许可的商(shang)业(ye)(ye)秘密(mi)使用(yong)人(ren)。 Article 219Whoever  commits any of the following conduct to infringe upon a trade secret and brings significant losses to persons having  the rights to the commercial secrets shall be sentenced  to imprisonment of not more than three years or criminal detention and a fine, or be  sentenced to a fine only; or if the consequences  are especially serious, be sentenced to imprisonment of not  less than three years no more seven years and a fine: (1) Obtaining a right  holder's trade secret by theft, inducement, coercion  or any other illicit means. (2) Disclosing, using or allowing any other  person to use the trade secret obtained from the right holder by the means  mentioned in the preceding paragraph. (3) Disclosing, using or allowing  any other person to use the trade secret known by him or her in violation of the agreement with the right holder or the  requirements of the right holder for keeping the trade secret confidential. Whoever  acquires, uses, or discloses other people's trade secret, although he or she knows or should know the conduct set forth in the preceding paragraph  shall be punished as infringing upon the trade secret. For the purposes of this Article, ‘trade secret’ means the technical  information and operation information that are unknown to the public, can  bring economic profits to their right holders, are functional, and are kept  as secrets by their right holders. For the  purposes of this Article, ‘right holder' means the owner of the trade secret  and the person who is permitted by the owner to use the trade secret.第二百(bai)一十九(jiu)条【侵犯商(shang)业(ye)秘密(mi)罪(zui)】有下列侵犯商(shang)业(ye)秘密(mi)行为之一,情节(jie)严重的,处三(san)年以下有期(qi)徒刑,并(bing)处或者单处罚金;情节特别严重的,处三年(nian)以(yi)上十年以下(xia)有(you)期徒刑,并处(chu)罚金:(一(yi))以盗(dao)窃、贿(hui)赂、欺诈(zha)、胁迫、电子侵入或者其他不(bu)正(zheng)当手段获取(qu)权利人(ren)的(de)商业秘(mi)密的(de);(二)披露、使用或(huo)者允(yun)许他人使用以前项(xiang)手段获(huo)取的权利人的商业秘(mi)密的;(三)违反保密义务或者违(wei)反权利人有关保守商(shang)业秘(mi)密的(de)(de)要求,披露(lu)、使用或者允许他人使用其所掌握的(de)(de)商(shang)业秘(mi)密的(de)(de)。明知前(qian)款所列行为,获取、披露、使用或者允许他人使用(yong)该商业秘密的,以侵犯商业秘密(mi)论(lun)。本条所称权利人,是指商业(ye)秘(mi)密的(de)所有人和经(jing)商业(ye)秘(mi)密所有人许可的(de)商业(ye)秘(mi)密使用(yong)人。     Article 219Whoever  commits any of the following conduct to infringe upon a trade secret  shall, if the  circumstances are serious, be sentenced to imprisonment of not  more than three years and a fine, or be sentenced to a fine only; or if the circumstances are especially serious,  be sentenced to imprisonment of not less than three years no more ten years and a fine: (1) Obtaining  a right holder's trade secret by theft, bribery,  fraud, coercion, electronic  intrusion or any other illicit means. (2) Disclosing, using or  allowing any other person to use the trade secret obtained from the right  holder by the means mentioned in the preceding paragraph. (3) Disclosing,  using or allowing any other person to use the trade secret known by him or  her in violation of the confidentiality obligation or  the requirements of the right holder for keeping the trade secret  confidential. Whoever acquires, discloses,  or uses or allows any other person to use the  trade secret although he or she knows the conduct set forth in the preceding  paragraph shall be punished as infringing upon the trade secret. For the  purposes of this Article, ‘right holder' means the owner of the trade secret  and the person who is permitted by the owner to use the trade secret.
 第二百一十九条之一为(wei)境外的机构、组织、人(ren)员(yuan)窃取、刺探(tan)、收买、非(fei)法提(ti)供商业秘密的,处(chu)五年以(yi)下有期(qi)徒刑,并处(chu)或者单处(chu)罚(fa)(fa)金(jin);情节严重的,处(chu)五年以(yi)上(shang)有期(qi)徒刑,并处(chu)罚(fa)(fa)金(jin)。 Article 219AWhoever steals, spies on, buys or illegally provides any trade secret  for an overseas institution, organization or individual shall be sentenced to  imprisonment of not more than five years and a fine, or be sentenced to a  fine only; and if the circumstances are serious, be sentenced to imprisonment  of not less than five years and a fine.
第二(er)百二(er)十条【单位犯(fan)侵犯(fan)知识产(chan)权罪的(de)处罚(fa)(fa)规(gui)定】单位犯(fan)本(ben)节(jie)(jie)第(di)二(er)百一十三条至第(di)二(er)百一十九条规(gui)定之罪的(de),对(dui)单位判处罚(fa)(fa)金,并对(dui)其(qi)直(zhi)接负责的(de)主管人员和(he)其(qi)他直(zhi)接责任人员,依照本(ben)节(jie)(jie)各该条的(de)规(gui)定处罚(fa)(fa)。 Article 220Where  an entity commits a crime as provided for in Article 213 through Article 219 of  this Section, the entity shall be sentenced to a fine, and its directly  liable executive in charge and other directly liable persons shall be  punished in accordance with the provisions of the aforesaid articles of this  Section respectively.第二百二十条【单(dan)(dan)位(wei)犯(fan)侵犯(fan)知识(shi)产权罪的处(chu)罚(fa)规定】单(dan)(dan)位(wei)犯(fan)本节(jie)第二百一十三条至第二百一十九条之一(yi)规定之罪的(de),对单位判处(chu)罚金,并对其(qi)直(zhi)接负(fu)责的(de)主管人员和其(qi)他(ta)直(zhi)接责任人员,依照本节各(ge)该条的(de)规定处(chu)罚。 Article 220Where  an entity commits a crime as provided for in Article 213 through Article 219A of this Section, the entity shall be sentenced to  a fine, and its directly liable executive in charge and other directly liable  persons shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the aforesaid  articles of this Section respectively.

 

 

 

Summer Xia

HFG Law&Intellectual Property