On 29 September 2017 the President of Ukraine issued the Order establishing an Intellectual Property High Court (the “High Court on IP”), followed by the Order of the State Court Administration of Ukraine of 30 September 2017. Both documents are adopted in line with the ongoing large-scale reform of the Ukrainian judiciary.
The High Court on IP shall be a specialized first instance court for IP-related cases, while its appeal chamber shall function as the second instance in relation to the decisions passed by the High Court on IP in the first instance. The Supreme Court of Ukraine will be the third (cassation) instance court for IP-related cases.
The establishment of the specialized High Court on IP in Ukraine has been envisaged by the Law “On the Court System and the Status of Judges” No. 1402-VIII dated 02 June 2016 (in full effect since 30 September 2016) and is expected to enhance the speed and quality of hearings by the expert judges in IP-related cases and, ultimately, improve protection of intellectual property rights in Ukraine.
The High Court on IP will be located in Kyiv and consist of twenty one judges. The High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine has already issued a Decision announcing a competition to fill the 21 positions of judges with the High Court on IP. The candidates for these positions may submit their applications within the period 1-15 December 2017.
Competence of the High Court on IP
The competence of the High Court on IP is detailed in the new Code of Commercial Procedure, passed by the Parliament on 03 October 2017.
According to the available text of the Draft Code of Commercial Procedure submitted for the second hearing (the final text of the passed law should become available in the forthcoming days), the competence of the High Court on IP shall include resolution of disputes regarding:
- the IPRs to inventions, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks, business names and other IPRs, including the right of prior use;
- registration of IPRs, the invalidation, prolongation and early termination of patents, certificates and other acts certifying IPRs;
- determining whether a trademark is well-known;
- copyright and related rights, including disputes regarding the collective management of copyright and related rights;
- concluding, amending, terminating and executing agreements for IPR management and franchising agreements; and
- protection against unfair competition such as unlawful usage of a trademark or a product by another manufacturer; copying the outer appearance of a product; collecting, disclosing and using commercial secrets; judicial review of the decisions by the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine in the abovementioned cases.
High Court on IP Commencement
According to the Draft Code on Commercial Procedure, the High Court on IP shall begin work on the day following the official announcement on commencement of its work published in the official media “Holos Ukrainy” (most likely at the beginning of 2018).
Legislation: Order of the President of Ukraine “On Establishing a High Court for Intellectual Property Matters” No. 299/2017 dated 29 September 2017; Order of the State Court Administration of Ukraine “On Determining the Number of Judges for the Intellectual Property High Court” No. 929 dated 30 September 2017; Decision of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine No. 98/зп-17 dated 30 September 2017