In 2015, the Chinese market experienced rapid developments in anti-monopoly law enforcement. Further efforts also went into new guidelines and rules aimed at refining China’s antitrust regime. Also, China’s three anti-monopoly law enforcement agencies were very active in terms of the number of cases handled, the rate of fines imposed, and the varied grounds for investigations. In particular, high-profile antitrust cases have further profiled China as an emerging centre for antitrust enforcement. The Qualcomm case concluded by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) set a new record for the highest antitrust penalty ever issued in China’s anti-monopoly enforcement history, and also is the first investigation concluded by Chinese antitrust agency against the abuse of standard-essential patents (SEPs). A pharmaceuticals company in Chongqing has become the first company penalized for refusing to deal in the antitrust enforcement history of China.
On 7 April 2015, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) published China’s first anti-monopoly regulation specifically aimed at the abuse of intellectual property rights – the Provisions on the Prohibition of Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights for the Purpose of Eliminating or Restricting Competition – which became effective on 1 August 2015. The provisions fill the legislative gap in China’s anti-monopoly regulations governing the IP field and aim to balance the lawful rights and interests of IP rights holders and other interested parties, while also further promoting innovation and market competition.