On September 1 2016 a new judicial system will enter into force for cases involving IP law. As a consequence of the changes, the Market Court and the Patent Appeals Court will cease to exist. The reform also means that the adjudication of disputes, which at present takes place across the country, will in future be concentrated in Stockholm.
The proposal for a new judicial system for cases involving IP law, marketing law and competition law which was presented by the former government in 2014 has been generally welcomed by the stakeholders which commented during the consultation, although some criticisms were voiced against the proposal.
Based on the responses received in the consultation process, in the second half of 2014 the Ministry of Justice revised parts of the proposal, and at the end of January 2015 it issued a memorandum setting out supplementary considerations. After the memorandum had been distributed for comments, the proposal was completed by the ministry. The legislative amendments forming the basis for the changed judicial system are scheduled to enter into force on September 1 2016.
At first instance, cases involving IP law will be adjudicated by the new Patent and Market Court (under the auspices of the Stockholm District Court), while the new Patent and Market Appeal Court (under the auspices of the Svea Court of Appeal) will be the court of second instance.
As a general rule, decisions of the Patent and Market Appeal Court in civil disputes and matters (including registration matters) will not be appealable to the Supreme Court. However, in certain cases the Patent and Market Appeal Court may grant leave for decisions to be appealed if review of the case by the Supreme Court is important from a precedential perspective.
Cases that are pending before the Stockholm District Court and the Svea Court of Appeal when the changes enter into force will be transferred to the Patent and Market Court and the Patent and Market Appeal Court, respectively. Thus, the new system will apply to many cases within these areas of law that are currently pending before the Stockholm District Court or the Svea Court of Appeal. Cases pending in other courts will not be transferred to the two new courts; rather, they will continue in accordance with the rules currently in force.
There is a strong political consensus on the need for the new judicial structure based on the desire for greater efficiency and more uniform decisions, which are expected to result from increased judicial specialisation. However, a number of practical issues remain to be resolved. One such question is how members of the new courts will be allocated resources and the possibility for advanced further training and participation in international exchanges. In practice, such possibilities may prove to be decisive in enabling the new courts to function to best effect in accordance with the political goals.
This article first appeared in IAM magazine. For further information please visit www.iam-magazine.com.