The opening of a new intellectual property (IP) court in Beijing on January 1 to hear civil and administrative appeals related to patents marks a major step in strengthening IP rights (IPR) protection in China.
Today China attaches great importance to IPR protection, however, compared with developed countries, the initiative started much later. It was only in 1993 that IP tribunals were established in the Beijing High People's Court and the Beijing Intermediate People's Court. Later, more tribunals were established in more such courts in cities and prefectures nationwide. In 2014, the first group of IP courts opened in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province.
The government took the strategic decision to establish an appeal settlement system for IP cases as they concern the success of reform and opening up and building up the nation into a scientific superpower. A meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform in November 2017 passed a guideline for strengthening reform and innovation of IPR trials, which proposed establishing a national appeal settlement system for IP cases.
The IP court was established following a resolution on IP appeal procedures adopted at a bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, in October 2018. The new court, opened under the Supreme People's Court in Fengtai District, signifies the formation of a special trial system with Chinese characteristics for IP cases. While it's an international convention to set up special tribunals for IP cases, China is the first country to establish an IP court at the apex court, the Supreme People's Court, which is an indication of its determination to protect IP rights.
Countries such as the United States have often accused China of poor IPR protection. But the Chinese Government is committed to enhancing IPR protection and attaches equal importance to protecting the legitimate IP rights of both Chinese and foreign citizens.
The new court will provide judicial services and an institutional guarantee for innovation-driven development and high-quality economic growth. Strengthening IPR protection will foster a legal, international and facilitated business environment, promoting a new round of comprehensive opening up.
The court marks a new starting point. As reform and opening up deepens in the new era, China will make headway in IPR protection and achieve better results.