[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
第二百一十三条(tiao)【假冒注(zhu)册(ce)商(shang)标(biao)罪】未经注(zhu)册(ce)商(shang)标(biao)所有人(ren)许可(ke),在同一种(zhong)商(shang)品(pin)上使用(yong)与其(qi)注(zhu)册(ce)商(shang)标(biao)相同的商(shang)标(biao),情节严(yan)重的,处三年以下有期徒刑或者(zhe)拘役,并处或者单处罚金;情(qing)节(jie)特别严重的,处三(san)年(nian)以上(shang)七年以下有(you)期徒刑,并(bing)处罚金。 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(bai)一十三条【假冒注册商(shang)(shang)标(biao)罪(zui)】未经(jing)注册商(shang)(shang)标(biao)所有(you)人许(xu)可,在同(tong)一种商(shang)(shang)品、服务上(shang)使用与其(qi)注册商标相同的(de)(de)商标,情(qing)节严重(zhong)的(de)(de),处三(san)(san)年(nian)以(yi)下有(you)期徒刑,并处或者(zhe)单(dan)处罚(fa)金(jin);情(qing)节特别(bie)严重(zhong)的(de)(de),处三(san)(san)年(nian)以(yi)上(shang)十(shi)年以(yi)下有期徒(tu)刑,并处(chu)罚金(jin) 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(er)百一(yi)十(shi)四(si)条(tiao)【销(xiao)售假冒注册(ce)商(shang)标的商(shang)品罪】销(xiao)售明知是假冒注册(ce)商(shang)标的商(shang)品,销售金额(e)数(shu)额较大的,处三年以下有期徒刑或者拘役,并处(chu)或(huo)者单处(chu)罚金(jin);销售金额数额巨(ju)大的(de),处三年(nian)以上七年以下有期徒刑,并处罚金。 Article 214Whoever knowingly sells goods bearing a falsely used  registered trademark shall, if the amount of 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(bai)一十四条【销售(shou)假冒注册(ce)商标的(de)商品(pin)罪(zui)】销售(shou)明知是假冒注册(ce)商标的(de)商品(pin),违法(fa)所(suo)得数额较大或者有其他严重情节的(de),处三年(nian)以下有期(qi)徒(tu)刑,并处或者单处罚金;违法所得数(shu)额巨大(da)或者有其他特别(bie)严重情节的,处(chu)三年以上十年以(yi)下(xia)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.
第二百一十(shi)五条【非法制造(zao)(zao)、销售(shou)非法制造(zao)(zao)的注(zhu)(zhu)册(ce)(ce)商标标识罪】伪(wei)造(zao)(zao)、擅自(zi)制造(zao)(zao)他人注(zhu)(zhu)册(ce)(ce)商标标识或者销售(shou)伪(wei)造(zao)(zao)、擅自(zi)制造(zao)(zao)的注(zhu)(zhu)册(ce)(ce)商标标识,情节严重(zhong)的,处三年以下有期(qi)徒刑、拘(ju)役或者(zhe)管制(zhi),并(bing)处(chu)或者单处(chu)罚金;情(qing)节特别严重的,处(chu)三年以上七年以下有期徒刑,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 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.第二百一(yi)十五条(tiao)【非法(fa)制造(zao)、销售非法(fa)制造(zao)的注(zhu)(zhu)册(ce)商(shang)标标识罪】伪(wei)造(zao)、擅(shan)自制造(zao)他人注(zhu)(zhu)册(ce)商(shang)标标识或者销售伪(wei)造(zao)、擅(shan)自制造(zao)的注(zhu)(zhu)册(ce)商(shang)标标识,情(qing)节严重(zhong)的,处(chu)(chu)三年(nian)以下(xia)有期徒刑,并(bing)处(chu)(chu)或者单处(chu)(chu)罚金;情(qing)节特别严重(zhong)的,处(chu)(chu)三年(nian)以上(shang)十年以下有期徒刑,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.
第二百一十七条【侵犯(fan)著(zhu)作(zuo)(zuo)权罪】以营(ying)利为目(mu)的,有(you)下列侵犯(fan)著(zhu)作(zuo)(zuo)权情(qing)(qing)形之一,违法所得数额较(jiao)大或者有(you)其(qi)他严重情(qing)(qing)节的,处三年以下有(you)期徒刑(xing)或者拘(ju)役,并处或者单处罚金;违法所得(de)数额巨(ju)大或者有(you)其他特别严重情节的,处三年以上七年以下有期徒(tu)刑,并处罚(fa)金: (一)未经著作(zuo)权人许可,复制发行(xing)其(qi)文字(zi)作(zuo)品(pin)、音乐、电(dian)影、电(dian)视(shi)、录像作品、计算机软件及其他作品的; (二(er))出(chu)版(ban)他人享有专有出(chu)版(ban)权的图书的; (三)未经录(lu)(lu)(lu)音录(lu)(lu)(lu)像(xiang)制作者许(xu)可,复制发行其(qi)制作的录(lu)(lu)(lu)音录(lu)(lu)(lu)像(xiang)的;(四(si))制作(zuo)、出售假冒他人署名(ming)的美术作(zuo)品(pin)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(qi)条【侵犯著作权(quan)罪】以营利为目的,有下列侵犯著作权(quan)或者(zhe)与著作权有关的权利的情(qing)形之一(yi),违法所(suo)得数(shu)额(e)较(jiao)大或者有(you)其他(ta)严(yan)重情(qing)节的,处(chu)三(san)年(nian)以(yi)下有(you)期(qi)徒刑,并处(chu)或者单处(chu)罚金;违法所(suo)得数(shu)额(e)巨大或者有(you)其他(ta)特别严(yan)重情(qing)节的,处(chu)三(san)年(nian)以(yi)上十年以下有期徒(tu)刑,并处罚金:(一)未经(jing)著作权人许可(ke),复制发(fa)行(xing)、通过信息网络向公众传(chuan)播(bo)其(qi)文(wen)字(zi)作品(pin)、音乐、美术、视听作品、计算机软件及(ji)法(fa)(fa)律(lv)、行政法(fa)(fa)规规定的(de)其他作品的;(二)出(chu)版(ban)(ban)他人享有(you)专有(you)出(chu)版(ban)(ban)权的图书的;(三)未经录(lu)音(yin)录(lu)像制(zhi)作者许可,复制(zhi)发行、通过信息网络(luo)向(xiang)公(gong)众传播其(qi)制作(zuo)的录音录像的;(四)未经表演者许可(ke),复制发行(xing)录有其表演的(de)录音录像制品,或(huo)者通过信息网络向(xiang)公众(zhong)传播其表演的(de);(五(wu))制作(zuo)(zuo)、出售假冒(mao)他人署(shu)名的(de)美(mei)术作(zuo)(zuo)品的(de);(六)未经(jing)著(zhu)作(zuo)权(quan)人(ren)或(huo)(huo)者(zhe)与著(zhu)作(zuo)权(quan)有关(guan)的(de)(de)权(quan)利人(ren)许可,故意避开(kai)或(huo)(huo)者(zhe)破(po)坏权(quan)利人(ren)为其作(zuo)品、录音(yin)录像制品等采取的(de)(de)保护著(zhu)作(zuo)权(quan)或(huo)(huo)者(zhe)与著(zhu)作(zuo)权(quan)有关(guan)的(de)(de)权(quan)利的(de)(de)技(ji)术(shu)措施的(de)(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.
第二百一十八条【销售侵权复(fu)制品(pin)罪】以营利为目的(de),销售明知(zhi)是本(ben)法第二百一十七条规(gui)定的(de)侵权复(fu)制品(pin),违法所得数额巨大的(de),处三(san)年以下(xia)有期徒刑或者(zhe)拘役,并处(chu)或者单处(chu)罚(fa)金。 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(bai)一十八(ba)条【销售侵(qin)权复制(zhi)品罪】以营利为(wei)目的,销售明知是本(ben)法第二(er)百(bai)一十七(qi)条规定(ding)的侵(qin)权复制(zhi)品,违法所(suo)得数额巨大或者有其他(ta)严重情(qing)节(jie)的(de),处五年以下(xia)有期徒刑,并处或者单处罚金。
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(di)二百(bai)一十九(jiu)条【侵犯商(shang)(shang)业(ye)秘密罪】有下(xia)列(lie)侵犯商(shang)(shang)业(ye)秘密行为之一,给商业秘(mi)密的权利人造成重(zhong)大损失的,处三年(nian)以下有期徒刑或者拘役,并(bing)处或者单处罚金;造成特别严重(zhong)后(hou)果的,处三(san)年以上七年以下有期徒(tu)刑,并(bing)处罚金: (一)以盗窃、利诱(you)、胁迫或者其他不正当手段获取(qu)权利人(ren)的商业秘密的; (二)披露、使用或者允许他人使用以前项(xiang)手段获取的(de)权利人的(de)商业秘密的(de); (三(san))违反约(yue)定或者违反权利人有关(guan)保守商业秘密的(de)(de)要求(qiu),披露、使用或者允许(xu)他人使用其所掌握的(de)(de)商业秘密的(de)(de)。 明知(zhi)或者应(ying)知前(qian)款所列行为,获取、使用或者披露他人的商业(ye)秘密的,以侵犯商业秘密(mi)论。 本(ben)条所称商业秘(mi)密(mi),是指不(bu)为(wei)公众所知悉,能为(wei)权(quan)利(li)人带来经济利(li)益,具(ju)有实用性并(bing)经权(quan)利(li)人采取保(bao)密(mi)措施的技术信息(xi)和(he)经营信息(xi)。本条所称(cheng)权利人(ren),是(shi)指(zhi)商业秘密的所有(you)人(ren)和经商业秘密所有(you)人(ren)许可的商业秘密使用人(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)一十九条【侵(qin)犯(fan)(fan)商业秘密(mi)罪(zui)】有下列侵(qin)犯(fan)(fan)商业秘密(mi)行为之一,情节严重(zhong)的,处(chu)三年以下有期徒刑,并处(chu)或者单处(chu)罚金(jin);情(qing)节(jie)特别严重的(de),处三年以上十年以(yi)下有期徒刑,并处罚金(jin):(一(yi))以盗窃、贿赂(lu)、欺诈、胁迫(po)、电子侵入(ru)或者其他不正当手段获取权(quan)利人的商(shang)业秘密的;(二(er))披露(lu)、使用或者允(yun)许他人(ren)使用以前项(xiang)手段获取的权利人(ren)的商业秘密的;(三)违反(fan)保(bao)密义务或(huo)(huo)者(zhe)违(wei)反(fan)权利人(ren)有关(guan)保守商(shang)(shang)业秘(mi)密的(de)要求,披(pi)露、使用或(huo)(huo)者(zhe)允(yun)许他(ta)人(ren)使用其所(suo)掌握的(de)商(shang)(shang)业秘(mi)密的(de)。明知前(qian)款(kuan)所列行为,获取、披露、使用(yong)或者允许(xu)他(ta)人使用该商业秘密的,以侵犯商业秘(mi)密论。本条(tiao)所称权利人,是(shi)指商业(ye)秘(mi)密的(de)所有(you)(you)人和经商业(ye)秘(mi)密所有(you)(you)人许可的(de)商业(ye)秘(mi)密使用人。     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(yi)十九条之(zhi)一(yi)为境外(wai)的机构、组织、人员窃取、刺探(tan)、收买、非法提供商业秘密的,处(chu)五(wu)年以(yi)下有期徒(tu)刑,并处(chu)或(huo)者单处(chu)罚(fa)金;情节(jie)严重的,处(chu)五(wu)年以(yi)上(shang)有期徒(tu)刑,并处(chu)罚(fa)金。 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.
第二百二十条【单(dan)(dan)位(wei)犯(fan)侵犯(fan)知识产权罪的处罚规(gui)定】单(dan)(dan)位(wei)犯(fan)本(ben)节第(di)二百(bai)一十三条(tiao)(tiao)至第(di)二百(bai)一十九(jiu)条(tiao)(tiao)规(gui)定之罪的,对(dui)单(dan)(dan)位(wei)判处罚金,并对(dui)其(qi)直(zhi)接负责(ze)(ze)的主管人员和其(qi)他直(zhi)接责(ze)(ze)任人员,依(yi)照本(ben)节各该(gai)条(tiao)(tiao)的规(gui)定处罚。 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(er)百二(er)十条【单(dan)位犯(fan)侵犯(fan)知识产(chan)权罪的处罚规定】单(dan)位犯(fan)本节第(di)二(er)百(bai)一十(shi)三条至第(di)二(er)百(bai)一十(shi)九条之一规定(ding)之罪的(de)(de),对(dui)单位判(pan)处(chu)罚金,并对(dui)其直接负责的(de)(de)主管人员和其他直接责任(ren)人员,依照(zhao)本(ben)节各该条的(de)(de)规定(ding)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