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A Historic USA-China IP Event

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 Prominent jurists, government officials, lawyers, academics, and business leaders from the United States and China met in Beijing from May 28 to 30, 2012 for an historic three-day conference to discuss the adjudication of intellectual property disputes.  All told, there were over 1,200 attendees, including seven Circuit Judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, seven judges from the Intellectual Property Rights Tribunal of the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China and nearly 300 other judges from the Chinese judiciary. Over 100 American lawyers, law school professors, corporate counsel, and United States State Department and Patent Trademark Office officials also attended.  Many lawyers from the China Law Society and over 100 law students from Renmin University also participated in the event.


 This marked the first time that leading American and Chinese jurists, lawyers, academicians and high government officials have met in a public forum to discuss and share information on common intellectual property issues. 

 The program was hosted by the China Law Society, the China Intellectual Property Law Society, Renmin University of China Law School, Renmin University of China Intellectual Property Academy, and the China Intellectual Property Law Society Sub-Committee on Legal Practice. Convened at the Renmin University of China, the conference featured welcome remarks from leaders of each country’s law and intellectual property regimes.


 Speakers from the United States included Chief Judge Randall R. Rader, Judge Raymond C. Clevenger III, Judge Richard Linn, Judge Timothy B. Dyk, Judge Sharon Prost, Judge Kimberly A. Moore, and Judge Jimmie V. Reyna.  Other speakers included United States Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, David Kappos, and President of the Federal Circuit Bar Association, Steven C. Lambert. 

Speakers from the People’s Republic of China included the Chief Judge of the IPR Tribunal of the Supreme People’s Court, Kong Xiangjun; Deputy Chief Judge of the IPR Tribunal of the Supreme People’s Court, Jin Kesheng; Supervisory Attaché, Zhang Shengzu; Presiding Judge Yu Xiaobai; Presiding Judge Wang Yongchang; Presiding Judge Xia Junli; Judge Zhu Li, and Deputy China International Trade Representative and a leader of the China Ministry of Commerce, Chong Quan.


There were three presentations that focused on the unique perspectives and work of the judges of both countries. The first was an en banc panel of the fourteen judges from the Federal Circuit and the Intellectual Property Rights Tribunal of Supreme People’s Court.  The question and answer format of this session gave the judges a unique opportunity to discuss and compare their respective systems of adjudicating intellectual property cases.

During the next panel, comprised of three judges each from the Federal Circuit and the Supreme People’s Court, the judges discussed their roles in managing and deciding the cases brought before them.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of the program was the afternoon of mock trials presented on the last day of the conference.  A panel of three judges from the Federal Circuit heard a mock trial and a panel of three judges from the Beijing Intermediate Court heard the same appeal for the China judiciary. The cases were argued by leading intellectual property lawyers from each country.  The differences in the procedures followed by each court were striking to the participants.  Interestingly, both courts reached essentially the same conclusion when ruling on the case at the end of each trial.  Most significantly, when the mock trials concluded, the judges continued with a discussion of the differences in their systems and acknowledged how much they had learned from their exchanges.

Other panels presented during the conference focused on case management in patent litigation, enforcement of patent judgments, written description, utility models validity, and proof of infringement, copyright, unfair competition, obviousness, trade secret protection, damages and injunctive relief, trademark and design patents, the commercialization of intellectual property, and the courts’ contributions to their countries’  intellectual property systems. Many of the sessions included active audience participation in the form of questions posed by audience members to presenters and panel participants

 On whole the three-day US-China IP Adjudication Conference was a great success.  Issues of common interest in the three major areas of intellectual property law, patent, trademark and copyright, were reviewed and discussed, and matters of mutual interest were addressed and debated.  All who were participated in the Conference recognized the historic importance of the meeting and the value derived from the discussion of the important matters considered during the Conference.

(Photographs courtesy of Mr. Jeff Lindsay)