China’s new Intellectual Property Courts: the wait is finally over

Intellectual Property and Technology Alert

Intellectual Property Update

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The PRC Supreme People's Court has issued the Provisions on the Establishment of Intellectual Property Courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, announcing the establishment of the long-awaited Intellectual Property Courts in China. 

According to the Provisions, which were issued October 31, 2014, Intellectual Property Courts will be set up in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with jurisdiction to hear the following cases:

  • First instance civil and administrative cases related to patents, new plant varieties, layout design of integrated circuit, technological secrets and computer software
  • First instance judicial appeals against administrative decisions, such as those from the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board and Patent Review Board
  • First instance civil cases regarding the recognition of well-known trademarks and
  • Second instance civil and administrative cases regarding copyright, trademark and unfair competition heard at  first instance by district/primary courts.

The Intellectual Property Courts in Beijing and Shanghai will have jurisdiction over the cases in their respective cities, while Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court will have cross-regional jurisdiction over the entire Guangdong province.

The Beijing Intellectual Property Court was established earlier this month, and the Intellectual Property Courts in Shanghai and Guangzhou will be established before the end of 2014.

This is a pilot campaign following the earlier announcement of the establishment of a unified IP tribunal hearing civil, administrative and criminal IP matters under one roof ("the three-in-one pilot campaign"), with the aim of further improving the quality and consistency of the judgments as well as the efficiency of case handling.  In a noteworthy development, the newly established IP Courts have not yet been given any jurisdiction over criminal matters.  The Supreme People's Court will monitor and assess the development of the Intellectual Property Courts and issue a report in three years' time on their performance.

We will report in future on how the new Intellectual Property Courts are performing. 

For more information, please contact Horace Lam, Ann K. Ford or Edward Chatterton