The Beijing Intellectual Property Court had a technical investigator participate in a hearing for the first time on Thursday.
The investigator, Peng Xiaoqi, works at the Beijing Patent Examination Cooperation Center of the State Intellectual Property Office, according to Beijing Daily.
Peng said, "Our main responsibility is to help judges tackle technically questionable points and clear away technical obstacles in the hearing."
She was among the first 37 technical investigators that the Beijing IP court nominated the same day.
According to insiders, although judges at the Beijing IP court are capable of handling legal issues, technical problems such as circuit diagrams and mechanical structures are challenges for them due to a lack of specific technical knowledge.
Yi Jun, an official at the Beijing IP court, said the contending parties used to employ experts to help them clarify related opinions or the judges would consult privately with researchers and technicians from related fields.
Both methods for handling technical issues affect impartiality of the hearings, according to Yi.
He said, "Technical investigators can solve bottleneck problems in trials of technical cases."
The investigators take part in hearings and can ask the parties involved technical questions to find the focus of disputes and, based on their expertise, give judges advice on technical examinations.
However, Yi said, the investigators are judicial ancillary personnel and are not involved in rulings.
The first 37 technical investigators appointed by the Beijing IP court are professionals from organizations including government agencies and universities. They work in the fields of photoelectricity, communications, medicine, biochemistry, materials, machinery and computers.
The court also nominated 27 technical experts to make up a committee that technical investigators can consult about technical problems that are hard to solve.
Insiders said experience in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan suggests the technical investigator system is helpful for better hearings of IP cases. It is significant to develop such a system on the Chinese mainland together with other mechanisms for determining technical facts, including forensic identification and consultation with experts, to ensure justice and high efficiency of hearings.
The Beijing IP court was set up on Nov 6, 2014, as China's first professional organization for hearing IP cases.
(China Daily 10/28/2015 page17)