As part of ongoing judicial reforms in Ukraine, a system for specialized courts for lawsuits on IP rights was introduced. On 2 June 2016, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the Law on Judicial System and Status of Judges, whereby the judicial system of Ukraine was substantially reshaped.
In particular, a two-tier IP court system was introduced, while other commercial disputes continue to be considered by the three court instances. Thus, the High Court on Intellectual Property will consider copyright, trademark and patent disputes in the first instance. In the second instance, its decisions will be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine. The new law stipulates that the High Court on Intellectual Property should be established and will begin operating by the end of 2017. Such innovation follows the international trend to create specialized IP courts. Such courts already exist in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Portugal, United States, China and Japan.
Not only was the organizational structure of the Ukrainian courts changed, but the membership of the judges will also be increased. New judges will be elected to the High Court on Intellectual Property. Ukrainian patent attorneys or lawyers with relevant expertise of more than five years are qualified as candidates for these judge positions. This option should allow professionals in this sphere to become judges with practical expertise. It is expected that the new IP court system will allow considering IP cases in a much faster and more efficient way, thus better protecting the IP rights of the parties.
However, execution of any court decision is difficult in Ukraine today. To facilitate this procedure, new laws on enforcement have been adopted in June 2016. They introduced the institute of private judicial executors who will assist in the enforcement of court decisions (in addition to existing state executors). It is expected that private executors will start operating in 2017. This innovation is expected to significantly speed-up the execution procedure for court decisions taken in IP lawsuits.