How to Compete Fairly in the Digital Era -Implications of the New Anti - Unfair Competition Law

 

Authored by Michael Gu (michaelgu@anjielaw.com) and Charles Xiang (xiangwenlei@anjielaw.com) at AnJie Law Firm

Introduction

On 4 November 2017, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China finally passed the long-awaited amendments to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law (AUCL), which takes effect on 1 January 2018.This is the first time the AUCL has been amended since it came into effect in 1993, and it will have significant impact on business practice in China.

The revision of the AUCL covers various legal issues, such as acts of confusion (Article 6), commercial bribery (Article 7), false or misleading business promotion (Article 8), infringement upon trade secrets (Article 9), illegal prize-giving sales (Article 10), spread of rumors or misleading information (Article 11), and Internet-related unfair competition by technical means (Article 12).

In particular, the revised AUCL included a new section addressing the Internet-related unfair competition. Some of the unfair competition behaviour(e.g. false or misleading online business promotion)are more like an online version of the traditional acts of unfair competition. Other Internet-related unfair competition behaviour is unique in the digital age driven by information technical means.

This article mainly focuses on the latter, i.e. unique unfair completion in the digital world,and endeavors to illustrate some precedents and interpretations of Article 12 of the AUCL and analyze how Article 12 will be applied and enforced inpractice.

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