China has something of a reputation for insufficient protection of intellectual property rights, but the Communist Party has recently indicated it would be strengthening IP protection.
In line with this, it seems that China is moving towards setting up a specialised Chinese IP court.
At present, most Chinese IP cases are heard in courts in Beijing, but significant numbers of IP cases are heard in regional courts, for example in Shanghai and Guangzhou. Not all courts are qualified to hear IP cases, and there are variations between courts in terms of, for example, damages and length of proceedings. There are also likely to be significant variations in the understanding of IP between those courts which are qualified to hear IP matters. The creation of an independent forum specialising in IP disputes may lead to more consistent and predictable dispute resolution, and proceedings may be more cost effective.
The Court’s first branch is likely to be set up in Guangdong Province, but the precise location has not been decided. According to the South China Morning Post, the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai are interested in hosting the Court. Guangdong has many courts which are qualified to hear IP matters, and these courts hear a significant proportion of Chinese IP civil lawsuits, so it seems there is a fair amount of IP experience in the province.
With the number of intellectual property cases being heard in China increasing year on year, it seems the proposals for the new Court are being welcomed.
It will be interesting to watch for developments, and to see whether the Court, if set up, strengthens the position of IP rights holders from all over the world.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking before any action in reliance on it.