In order to assist and better equip the newly established IP courts in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, in January 2015 the Supreme People’s Court promulgated the Provisional Regulations on Several Issues Concerning the Participation of Technical Investigators in IP Court Proceedings. The regulations introduce technical investigators to the IP courts and define their role. Different from ordinary expert witnesses, technical investigators will work as judicial auxiliary staff and provide assistance to the bench in cases involving complicated IP technical issues relating to patents, new plant varieties, integrated circuit lay-out designs, technical secrets and computer programs. 

At the request of the judge, a technical investigator may be asked to carry out a wide range of responsibilities, including:

  • pinpointing key technical issues on reviewing litigation documents and evidentiary materials;
  • making recommendations on the investigation's scope, sequence and method;
  • providing technical examination opinions; and
  • assisting the judge to gather appraisal and advisory opinions.

While opinions of technical investigators are not binding, it is expected that as the system matures and the investigators’ competency and impartiality is proven, their opinions will be relied on heavily, particularly in cases involving complicated technical issues.

Shireen So

This article first appeared in IAM magazine. For further information please visit www.iam-magazine.com.