Litigating intellectual property rights, especially patents, requires quite some specialised expertise. For a long time, therefore, patent disputes were dealt with by people’s intermediate or higher courts. But since ever more Chinese companies are patenting their design patents, utility patents and invention patents, in many cases subsidised by the government, the work load of these courts have been growing correspondingly.
To see whether some of the work load, namely the design patent and utility patent cases, that are generally deemed more simple, can be transferred to “grassroots” courts, such as district and municipal courts, a pilot programme was started in 2009 at Haidian District Court in Beijing, Yiwu Municipal People’s Court in Zhejiang Province and Kunshan Municipal People’s Court in Jiangsu Province, which was considered successful, so that now the Supreme People’s Court has announced here (Chinese) to expand the number of grassroots courts that can deal with intellectual property rights cases.
The argument that now the experience with IP is bigger and that many judges have more expertise in this field. But the question remains how the judges of these grassroots courts can have built up expertise with IP cases, unless of course they have worked at a people’s intermediate or higher court before.