Trade Blog

Alert Regarding Important IP Litigation Development in China

By Elizabeth Chien-Hale

Proposed Alert:

The Supreme People's Court of China submitted a proposal for handling appeals of IP related cases directly within a division/department of the Chinese Supreme Court ( 关于专利等案件诉讼程序若干问题的决定(草案)) during the recent NPC (National People's Congress) Standing Committee meeting. This new change will apply to cases from the specialized IP Courts and the other Intermediate Courts.

Without much fanfare, explanation or discussion, the Standing Committee announced its approval on Oct. 26, 2018 to consolidate appeals of IP cases, both administrative and civil, relating to invention patents, utility model patents, new plant variety, integrated circuits, technology secrets, computer software, antitrust, into the hands of the Supreme People's Court. Due to the lower technical contents of the design patents, and the large number of design patents in the Chinese patent system, only appeals of administrative cases involving design patents will be heard by the Supreme People's Court. This decision will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Consolidating the appeals within the Chinese Supreme People's Court should bring more certainty to those seeking judicial protection of their IP rights in China. The appeals will no longer be handled by the provincial high courts which may be more under the influence of local political forces; furthermore, the Supreme Court will set unified national standards for the application of the IP law across China. The Supreme People's Court will make a progress report to the Standing Committee in three years.

The implementation details for the establishment of an IP Tribunal with the People's Supreme Court (最高人民法院知识产权法庭) will be forthcoming.