Damages trends in China: what the shifting landscape means for rights holders

By Jill (Yijun) Ge

The 2014 reform of the Trademark Law was a watershed in terms of possible damages for trademark infringement. Now the onus is on rights holders to ensure that they collect evidence which bolsters their case

The 2014 reform of China’s Trademark Law was a watershed for a jurisdiction long known for its low damages awards. The amendments increased the maximum statutory damages from Rmb500,000 ($73,000) to Rmb3 million (approximately $450,000). They also introduced rules against hindrance to collection of evidence, which lessens the strict burden on the plaintiff to prove damages. In addition, the courts now have discretion to adopt a plaintiff’s damages theory if the defendant fails to adduce its books and accounts. Just as significantly, the amendments recognise punitive damages for the first time in China.

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Issue 71