In August 2014 the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress announced the establishment of the first specialised IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

On October 31 2014 the Supreme People’s Court issued a set of rules clarifying the jurisdiction of the IP courts.

Jurisdiction

The IP courts will have jurisdiction over the following types of case at first instance:

  • civil and administrative proceedings related to patents, new plant varieties, integrated circuit layout designs, technical secrets and computer software;
  • administrative proceedings against administrative actions of organisations under the State Council or local governments (at county level or above) in relation to copyright, trademark and unfair competition; and
  • civil proceedings involving recognition of the well-known status of trademarks.

The IP courts have jurisdiction over appeals of civil and administrative first-instance judgments and decisionsofy the lower courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in relation to copyright, trademarks, technology contracts and unfair competition.

Exclusive jurisdiction of Beijing IP Court

The new Beijing IP Court will have exclusive jurisdiction over appeals of:

  • decisions of organisations under the State Council concerning the grant and affirmation of IP rights in relation to patents, trademarks, new plant varieties and integrated circuit layout designs;
  • decisions of organisations under the State Council concerning compulsory licences and associated royalties and remuneration in relation to patents, new plant varieties and integrated circuit layout designs; and
  • other administrative actions of organisations under the State Council concerning the grant and affirmation of IP rights in general.

Appeals of decisions and judgments issued by IP courts

Appeals of first-instance judgments and decisions of the IP courts will be heard by the IP Tribunal of the Higher People’s Court in which the relevant IP court resides (ie, in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou).

The Beijing IP Court commenced operation on November 6 2014. The IP courts in Shanghai and Guangzhou are expected to begin work shortly, and more detailed rules and guidelines are likely to be issued.

Annie Tsoi

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