Deep & Far Newsletter 2024 ©
Mar (2)

The Greater China IP Updates V Mar 2024

By Lyndon 


Chinese Court Recognizes the Copyright of an Image Generated Via Artificial Intelligence

In the first judgement of its kind in China, the Beijing Internet Court last November ruled that a picture, generated via the text-to-image software Stable Diffusion, should be considered an artwork under the protection of copyright laws due to the originality factor and intellectual input of its human creator.  Although the ruling has added fuel to heated arguments on whether AI-generated content should be protected by copyright laws, the Beijing Internet Court has asserted that future disputes about an author’s personal expression in images created with AI’s help should be judged on a case-by-case basis.  The intellectual property infringement lawsuit was initiated in May 2023 by the plaintiff who used the US start-up StabilityAI’s Stable Diffusion program to create an image of a young Asian woman and posted it on a Chinese social media platform.  A blogger allegedly used that image without permission in a post on Baijiahao, a Chinese content-sharing platform owned by Baidu.  In the court case, the ruling was in favour of the original creator because it was an artwork that had been worked on with continuously added prompts and adjusted parameters according to the plaintiff’s aesthetic choice and personalized judgement.  Zhu, the presiding judge, said that the ruling was made with the potential implications for emerging industries in mind.  It is expected that China’s generative AI industry is forecast to contribute 30 trillion yuan worth of economic value by 2035, accounting for a third of the industry’s global value, indicating a huge potential for growth in the intellectual property field.


Trademark Registrations in China Decrease 29% in 2023

The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) recently released data showing that Chinese trademark registrations were down 29% in 2023 compared to 2022.  That means there were 1,794,500 fewer trademark registrations in 2023 compared to 2022.  Foreigners registered 3.1% of the trademarks in 2023 compared to 2.9% in 2022, but the 134,776 registrations in 2023 was a decrease in absolute numbers of 40,696 registrations from 2022.  CNIPA did not provide any reasons for the drop in trademark grants, but several factors may be at play including the crackdown on malicious trademark applications, a slowing economy in general, and the end of lockdowns in late 2022 which led to an uptick in Covid-19 infections and the obvious side effect of worker absence.  Hu Wenhui, Deputy Commissioner of CNIPA, stated that CNIPA cracked down on a total of 249,000 malicious registrations of trademarks in 2023, so the inevitable conclusion is that the crackdown was indeed the most likely factor indicating a shift from quantity to quality in trademark processing which is a reflection of what has been happening in the patent field..