A special court for intellectual property rights (IPR) cases will open in Beijing early this month, said the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) on Nov 3.
Two similar courts in Shanghai and Guangzhou will open by the end of this year, said Wang Chuang, deputy head of the IPR division with the SPC.
In August, China’s top legislature approved the SPC’s plan to set up three special courts for IPR cases in an effort to improve efficiency and quality of trials in IPR cases.
The decision said that courts will focus largely on civil and administrative lawsuits regarding patents, new plant varieties, integrated circuit layout design and technological knowledge.
A regulation issued by the SPC on Monday added computer software to the list. Wang explained that courts at lower levels often do not have the technical support for computer software cases, which is why the IPR court will step in.
According to him, the IPR court in Beijing will mainly hear administrative cases, in which plaintiffs sue governments for IPR violations. The IPR courts in Shanghai and Guangzhou will mainly hear civil cases.
The current jurisdiction of most Chinese courts is equivalent to that of administrative divisions. For instance, a Guangzhou intermediate court will only have jurisdiction over the city.
But the IPR court in Guangzhou will not follow this practice, Wang said, adding that it will take in IPR cases from all of Guangdong Province so that the whole province follows the same standard.
The IPR courts will also be pilots for judicial reforms in areas such as the appointment and promotion of judges, judicial investigation and court procedures, Wang said.
Chinese courts hear about 110,000 IPR cases annually and the number will continue to increase, he said.
“IPR courts in China are very likely to be the busiest in the world,” he said.