On November 3, 2014, the Supreme People's Court of the PRC promulgated the "Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on the Jurisdiction of the Intellectual Property Courts of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou over Cases" (hereinafter, the Provisions). Based on these Provisions, the jurisdiction of the intellectual property cases involving intensive technology, expertise and regional characteristics will be further centralized in the future by establishing intellectual property courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou of better judicial infrastructures. The Provisions contain 8 articles, which are summarized as below:

  1. Exclusive Jurisdiction:

The intellectual property courts of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou shall exclusively govern first instance cases. These include not only administrative cases concerning the disproval of patent applications/determination of ownership of patent rights made by the patent administration department under the State Council, but also administrative penalties and compulsory administrative measures involving intellectual property rights.

  1. Jurisdiction of Appeals:

The appeals filed against the first instance civil or administrative judgments concerning intellectual property madeis within the jurisdiction of the intellectual property court, no matter whether or not the said first instance case was heard by an intellectual property rights tribunal or an administrative tribunal of the basic people's court. In addition, the intellectual property court also governs the appeals filed against first instance civil or administrative judgments concerning copyright, trademark and other intellectual property rights made by the basic people's court in the city where the said intellectual property court is located.

  1. Jurisdiction of Second Instances:

The appeal filed against a first instance civil or administrative judgment made by the intellectual property court shall be heard by an intellectual property tribunal of the high people's court in the location where said intellectual property court is seated.

  1. Cross-regional Jurisdiction:

The Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou Intellectual Property Courts shall have the cross-regional jurisdiction over the civil and administrative cases concerning intellectual property such as patents, new plant varieties, integrated circuits layouts, technical secrets, etc., if they have occurred within the province or directly-controlled municipality where said court is located.

  1. Jurisdiction of First Instances:

The Beijing Intellectual Property Court shall hear all first instance intellectual property administrative cases filed against the decisions made by the patent administration department under the State Council.

In general, the Provisions have provided that the civil and administrative cases involving intellectual property rights shall be heard by the IP court and the intellectual property rights tribunal of the high people's court in the location where said intellectual property court is seated. The Supreme Court, according to the specific types and quantity of the cases, shall specify the setup of tribunals in the IP court.

The adjudication of intellectual property rights requires greater professionalism. It is expected to establish a limited judge staff system, as well as implement measures for comprehensive justice. The issuance of these Provisions has brought a major change to the intellectual property judicial system in China and thus is of great significance.