Beijing Intellectual Property Court (Beijing IP Court) held its one-year anniversary press conference on November 9, at which the Court gave a summary report on its work in the past year and released information on 12 typical IP cases the Court has tried that involve patent, trademark, copyright, unfair competition, and preservation of evidence.

Beijing IP Court established on November 6, 2014 is China's first intellectual property court. The Court has heard and ruled on a large number of difficult, complex and landmark cases in the past year. As of November 6 this year, Beijing IP Court has accepted 7,918 cases, of which 6,699 cases are in first instance proceedings, 1,204 cases are in second instance proceedings, and 15 cases are in retrial phase. Of the 3,250 cases concluded as of November 6 this year, 1,200 are civil cases and 2,050 are administrative cases. Of the 2,050 concluded administrative litigation cases, 179 involve patent and 1,871 involve trademark, on which decisions of the Patent Re-examination Board were overturned in 11 cases, and decisions of the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board were overturned in 269 cases, representing a overturn rate of 6.1% and 14.4% respectively. The Court's performance strengthens the judicial review over administrative actions, while advancing the regulation regarding patent and trademark examinations.

As a leader in the trials of intellectual property disputes and a pioneer in the reform of judicial system, Beijing IP Court has embarked innovations and explorations in many aspects as specified below:

1. The Court adopts categorized personnel management system that stresses division of labor and specialization where relatively fixed trial teams comprising a judge + an assistant + a clerk are formed.

2. The Court eliminates the conventional case reporting and approval system to remove the influence of the administration in judicial adjudication, thereby ensuring the judicial independence of the collegial panel. If the collegial panel runs into challenging questions when trying a case, it has the option to seek the advice of the judges meeting or the research team.

3. For particularly difficult cases, the Court leads the country by asking all members of the adjudication committee to jointly and directly try a case. On September 17 this year, all seven members of the adjudication committee of Beijing IP Court heard an administrative trademark dispute case together.

4. The Court attempts to add a "Case Summary" section before the text of the judgment. In a few cases, the Court creatively includes the dissenting opinion in the judgment.

5. The Court explores the practice of technical investigator system and improves the expert witness system. By the end of October this year, Beijing IP Court has appointed 37 technical investigation clerks and 27 technical experts to enhance fact finding in patent cases.

6. The Court normalizes the practice of trial by court leaders and tribunal directors with the establishment of a "Court Leader Hearing Week" system. In the past year, three leaders of the Court heard 197 cases and made ruling on 96 cases, while four tribunal directors of the Court tried 455 cases and made ruling on 282 cases, and concluded cases decided by court leaders and tribunal directors accounted for 10% of all concluded cases of the Court.

7. The Court establishes a dynamic mechanism for adjusting the number of judges. The Court had 18 judges at the time of establishment who on average were assigned 400 cases each and made ruling on 159 cases in the past year. Apparently all judges have extremely heavy workload. To relieve the work pressure of judges and ensure judicial efficiency, the Court appoints another 20 judges on September 29 this year.

8. The Court fully utilizes external resources to enhance the administrative services of the Court. It recruits graduate students as volunteers to provide consulting, guidance and assistance services. It also works with the law schools of Peking University, Tsinghua University and other universities to bring in graduate students as intern judge assistants and draw outstanding scholars to participate in research projects.

Originally published 30th November 2015

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