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To ease load, more IP courts planned

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-30 08:39

China's top court has decided to set up more courts to hear intellectual property cases and deal with the increasing number of such disputes, which could help improve technology innovation.

Three IP courts were created - in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province - in 2014 under judicial reforms encouraged by the central leadership, but more such courts are needed, according to a report by the Supreme People's Court disclosed on Tuesday.

The report has been submitted to the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, for review.

"We're accumulating case hearing experience of the three IP courts and preparing to set up more such courts at the right time to satisfy people's increasing legal demand for professional IP trials and to boost our country's technology innovation," said Zhou Qiang, president of the top court.

But the exact time of the expansion and how many new courts are expected to be set up was not released in the report.

Du Ying, an IP professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics, applauded the idea, saying the new IP courts can take some of the burden from the current courts.

As to how many new courts should be established and where they should be set up, she suggested the country should take the number of IP disputes a region hears a year into consideration amid further research.

"Now, several courts have built tribunals especially for hearing IP cases for the rapidly rising number of such disputes, among them courts in the cities of Chengdu, Wuhan and Suzhou, which I think can be as a key reference of the new IP court's distribution," she added.

Chen Yongwei, a researcher at Peking University Center for Market and Network Economy, gave a thumbs-up to contributions of the three IP courts since they were set up. He said, "The more professional IP hearings are, the better it will protect IP rights."

From the end of 2014 to June, the three courts accepted 46,071 IP disputes in total, of which 33,135 were concluded, the report said, adding that the number of foreign litigants selecting Chinese courts to try their IP cases also increased.

Meanwhile, the three courts established a new system, hiring 61 technical investigators as their expert advisers to help judges understand technical knowledge in IP disputes, it said.

"The move is effective to improve efficiency and accuracy. After all, not all judges in the IP courts have technical backgrounds," said Wang Junlin, an IP lawyer in Beijing.

But Wang and Chen said efforts to cultivate IP judges or legal professionals also are urgently needed.

"Talent is a major force for both the current IP courts and future ones to improve quality of IP case hearings," Chen said.

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