Recent years have witnessed the soaring of IP cases in Beijing courts, meanwhile, the jurisdiction pressure that they are facing is increasing gradually. The judicial resource set up makes the courts difficult to adapt to the new development. Thus, to provide effective legal guarantee for Beijing’s economic and social development and to resolve social disputes, the Beijing Third Intermediate People’s Court was established. It mainly serves the Beijing Central Business District, Tongzhou International New City and Shunyi Airport Sub-District.
The Beijing Third Intermediate People’s Court was officially established on August 6th 2013, and its IP Tribunal began to hear cases since August 21st. Therefore, the IP Tribunal of the Beijing Third Intermediate People’s Court (the IP Tribunal) has become the youngest IP tribunal under intermediate people’s court.
How will the young team deal with such serious situation and new pattern of trial? What are their thinking and anticipation of the future? To find out the answers, a journalist of China IP interviewed Du Changhui, Presiding Judge at IP Tribunal of the Beijing Third Intermediate People’s Court.
Urgent situation, formidable task
China IP: How do you see the necessity of establishing the Beijing Third Intermediate People’s Court from the perspective of increasing number of cases?
Du Changhui: With the continuous economic and social development of Beijing in recent years, IP disputes present fast growth tendency. IP tribunals under the Intermediate People’s Court had heard 10,751 cases in 2011, 13,467 cases in 2012 with an increase of 25% compared with 2011; and the number of 2013, only accounted from January to September, was 12,118 which was almost to 2012’s total number. The judicial pressure to the two existing IP tribunals mounts, the judicial resource set up and layout can hardly meet the increasing judicial needs in practice, especially under the circumstance of adjustments of the core functional administrative and industrial districts, which have put forward higher standards and requirements for the judicial layout.
China IP: How many districts does the IP Tribunal in charge of? What types of IP cases are mainly involved?
Du Changhui: There are 6 districts under the jurisdiction administration of the IP Tribunal, they are Chaoyang District, Tongzhou District, Shunyi District, Huairou District, Pinggu District and Miyun County. Among these districts, Chaoyang District is the largest in population, area and revenue, which gathers the capital’s 80% of the international chamber of commerce, 70% of International financial institutions and the world top 500 enterprises. Over 90% of the foreign news media are also located in this district. Cultural creative industry is Chaoyang District’s newly emerged pillar and strategic industry, with 5 national cultural creative industry bases in total. Copyright disputes are the major cases involved, as well as the cases related to radio and television programs. Art trading, media advertising will increase in the future. Tongzhou District has been listed as the new district with great developing focus by the State Council. The Songzhuang Cultural Creative Industry gathering area has been awarded the title of “National Animation Industry Base” by the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, and it is also known as “China International Electronic Business Model Base.” Integrates Light Industrial Base and Jinqiao Science and Technology Industrial Base are also located in Tongzhou District. Shunyi District is the core of Beijing’s international aviation center and has been awarded as the national demonstration district on trademark strategy implementation. Shunyi Industrial Park of New China International Exhibition Center is a creative cultural industry cluster area in Beijing. Huairou District has Life Science Park, innovation base and new energy & material industrial park. China (Huairou) Movie & TV Industry Zone undertakes more than half of the post-production work of China’s films and TV programs (especially the theatrical films). Pinggu District is one of the major manufacture bases of agricultural and sideline products, many of these products have registered trademarks. Its garment industry also has certain advantage. Miyun County, as the capital’s ecological conservation development area, has formed five major industries including the automobile and parts industry, new building materials industry, food and beverage industry, electronic information industry and biomedicine industry.
China IP: How are the jurisdiction setup and workload influenced by the general features of the above districts?
Du Changhui: Among the above districts, only courts of Chaoyang District, Huairou District and Shunyi District have set up IP tribunals, there is no IP tribunal in the other three districts’ courts. According to the Notice on Adjusting the Standards for the Jurisdiction of Local People’s Courts at Different Levels over Intellectual Property Rights Civil Cases of the First Instance issued by the Supreme People’s Court and the Provisions on the Hierarchical Jurisdiction of the People’s Courts of Beijing at All Levels in Cases of the First Instance of Civil Disputes over Intellectual Property Rights issued by the Higher People’s Court of Beijing, the IP tribunal can hear the IP civil cases of the first instance under the jurisdiction of the district intermediate courts; and the appeal IP civil cases concluded by the Chaoyang District, Pinggu District and Miyun County in the first instance. It is predicted that the IP tribunal will hear around 900 cases in 2014, and the IP cases dealt by the district courts will reach over 2,600.
China IP: Could you please introduce the personnel structure and the education background of the judges?
Du Changhui: The IP Tribunal is formed by 10 young and welleducated members . There i s one presiding judge, one deputy presiding judge, 4 judges, 2 judge assistances, and 2 court clerks. Except for the court clerks, all of the staff have master degree or above, with one PhD and two PhD candidates among them. The average age of the team is around 32-year-old.
Steady start, notable achievements
China IP: How does the IP Tribunal set its aims and working approaches?
Du Changhui: Ever since its establishment, the IP Tribunal has set up the aim of making itself a professional tribunal, therefore the working method includes applying standards in trial, having high-quality cases, cultivating professional judge, delivering research achievements and making itself as a model IP tribunal. Applying standards means setting up and addicting to the scientific rules, perfecting the system, complying with the procedures and ensuring the justice. Having high-quality cases means combing the case feature with judges’ specialty, making the case instructive, influential and winning full acknowledgment. Cultivating professional judges means training one or two judges into influential expert type of judges in one to three years. Delivering research achievements means turning the high quality research results into standards, serving the jurisdiction work and the development of the industry. Making the IP Tribunal as a model means bravely exploring in practice, making itself as a model in terms of cases trial, working mechanism and judges cultivation.
China IP: How about the workload since the IP Tribunal begun to hear cases? What are the features of these cases?
Du Changhui: Up to now, the number of IP cases we are hearing has far exceeded our forecast. We have heard over 200 IP cases since August 21st 2013. These cases generally show four features: firstly, cases related to foreign companies are prominent. 15% of the first instance cases in all are related to foreign companies, most of the cases involving large multinational companies in developed countries such as the U.S., Sweden, France, Japan and Korea; secondly, many of the cases have attracted the concerns of the public. Such as Joy City trademark dispute which had drawn wide attention and follow-up reports of the media once the dispute came up; thirdly, new types of cases are emerging. We have ruled the Bank of China domain name infringement case, Sony Computer Entertainment Games patent disputes and etc. Some of the cases are the first of its kind in China; fourthly, cases involving technical matters are prominent. Almost 60% of the cases involving technology, cases types include patents, trade secrets, network infringements, domain names, computer software copyright infringements and etc.
China IP: What progress has the IP Tribunal achieved in aspect of jurisdiction? What are the key elements in achieving the progress?
Du Changhui: Generally speaking, the judicial work of the IP Tribunal has a steady start and made some notable achievements. Firstly, various types of cases are tried by the IP Tribunal. The first case heard by the IP Tribunal on August 21st was Mengniu Dairy Telunsu trademark infringement case, then followed by cases related to copyright, trademark, patent and unfair competition, over 55% of the cases are first instance cases. Secondly, IPR protection are strengthened, preservations of act are actively explored in practice. The IP Tribunal had dealt with 4 preliminary preservation of act applications in three month, cases related to patent, trademark, copyright and unfair competition are involved. Preliminary injunction are ruled in the Baodao Glass trademark infringement case and Abbott package patent infringement case. Thirdly, a number of cases under the spotlight and with great significant had been heard, which turned out to have positive legal and social effects. In Microsoft computer software case and Hennessy trademark case, the judges presented their expertise and impartiality by balancing the interest conflicts of different parties and solving the disputes properly.
Having faith to the future
China IP: From a macroscopic view, how do you think the function of IP jurisdiction work will be improved?
Du Changhui: There is no doubt that IP jurisdiction will play a more important role in the future. As far as I am concerned, IP jurisdiction will show its irreplaceable value in three aspects: first, more work will be done to the IPR protection and innovation stimulation; second, precedent cases will play the guidance role, which will regulate and lead the development of the industry; third, actively involving in the market system construction which is united, open, competitive and ordered.
China IP: What do you see the future of China’s IP jurisdiction?
Du Changhui: Based on the Decision on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms released in the third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, China will reinforce IPR application and protection, prefect technology innovation incentive mechanism, and explore to establish IP court. Knowledge drive innovation, dreams make future. The dream which is pursued by IP judges for years is getting close, and judges of the IP Tribunal are also striving for it.
(Translated by Emily Tan)