China Introduces a National IP and Technology Appeals Court

On October 26, 2018, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) published a Decision which introduces a new nation-wide appeals court for first instance technology and IP cases. The long-awaited step has first been announced in May, 2018 (link to the article) and will come into force on January 1, 2019.

Like China’s recently introduced Cyberspace Courts (link to the article), the new technology and IP appeals court will be established as a division of China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in Beijing. Considering the huge amount of technical and IP-related cases in China, the SPC can soon be expected to be quite busy.

With the new appeals court, the SPC will from next year on handle appeals from first-instance civil cases by specialised IP Courts or Intermediate Courts. Formerly, such appeals have been heard by the provincial Higher People’s Courts. The new court is responsible for technology-related cases such as cases on invention or utility model patents, trade secrets or anti-trust issues. However, it will not be responsible for copyright, trademark or design patent cases.

As with every specialised court, the new IP appeals court promises higher quality decisions by specialist judges with expertise on the field of IP and technology law. Also, a central court instead of many different provincial appeals courts will surely make decisions more consistent.

However, China’s new appeals court is likely to increase waiting times for litigation processes. All in all, China is on a good way to improve litigation for IPR holders, although some IP cases (like design patents) are still in the hands of provincial appeals courts.

Source: chinacourt.org, Picture: Xinhua News

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