The Washington International Law Journal publishes global perspectives on international legal issues while fostering the development of student analysis. The Journal’s professional articles and student comments cover diverse legal and geographical terrain and offer novel approaches to international, foreign, and comparative law. To further cross-cultural dialogue on foreign law, the Journal publishes English-language translations of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese legal materials.

Volume 26 | Number 2 | April 2017

Chinese Patent Law’s Statutory Damages Provision: The One Size That Fits None

Xiaowu Li & Don Wang
26 WASH. INT'L L.J. 209 (2017)
May 2017

The concept of statutory damages was first introduced into the Chinese patent regime in 2001 as a “last-resort” approach for damages calculation in infringement cases. Curiously, in the following 15 years, this last-resort approach became so popular among the courts that it is essentially the exclusive approach today. This Article examines the legal and policy implications of the current statutory damages scheme, and concludes that the existence of statutory damages is fundamentally detrimental to the validity of the Chinese patent system. Therefore, we argue that the statutory damages provision in Article 65 of the Patent Law of China should be eliminated. This Article further provides a comparative law perspective, drawing lessons from U.S. copyright law, U.S. patent law, and German patent law, to illustrate that China’s patent system would be better off without this statutory damages provision.

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Entrenching the Minority: The Constitutional Court in Thailand’s Political Conflict

Khemthong Tonakulrungruang
26 WASH. INT'L L.J. 247 (2017)
May 2017

Since 2006, Thailand has witnessed an unprecedented surge of judicial activism from the Constitutional Court to scrutinize elected politicians in the name of the rule of law. Democracy, argued Constitutional Court judges, could only be consolidated if the rule of law was maintained. But examination of several high-profile constitutional cases suggested that the Constitutional Court was actually working on behalf of the powerful elite minority to obstruct the democratic process under the pretext of protecting the rule of law. This antagonistic position brewed resentment and violence which jeopardized the Constitutional Court’s legitimacy as a neutral political arbiter. The 2014 coup d’etat showed that once again the country has failed to consolidate its democratization. This failure suggests that the Constitutional Court’s notion of the rule of law might not be compatible with the notion of electoral democracy.

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Pushing the Envelope: Application of Guiding Cases in Chinese Courts and Development of Case Law in China

Mo Zhang
26. WASH. INT’L. L. J. 269 (2017)
May 2017

The modern Chinese legal system has at least two notable features. First, bearing the civil law tradition, Chinese courts do not follow precedent. Second, under the people’s congress system, the Chinese judiciary has no power to make law. In recent years, however, the Supreme People's Court of China began building a guiding case system in the Chinese judiciary. The application of guiding cases implicates (a) an expansion of the power of the Chinese judiciary into the field of law-making; and (b) development of case law in China.

Chinese guiding cases differ from the common law cases in many aspects, and their legal role and status is still to be addressed and tested. The key issue is whether the compulsory reference imposed by the Supreme People's Court on the application of guiding cases would make the guiding cases a source of law. Behind the issue is the question of whether the Chinese judiciary should have any role to play in the law-making arena. No matter what the answer may be, the establishment of the guiding case system will inevitably result in changes for the Chinese legal landscape.

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