On 26 October 2018, the Chinese legislature approved the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Several Issues Concerning Litigation Procedures of Patent and Other Intellectual Property Cases, by which a unified national-level platform in the form of an IP appellate tribunal under the Supreme People's Court (SPC) was established for the country.
A unified IP appellate platform is expected to address the present issue of inconsistent adjudication criteria across the country, wherein IP validity cases are handled through administrative invalidation proceedings while IP infringement cases are dealt with by civil litigation, and in addition, second instances involving patent infringement are adjudicated by the higher people's courts in relevant jurisdictions.
The future IP appellate tribunal, according to the Decision, will adjudicate an appeal where it relates to:
the judgment or ruling of the first instance of an IP civil case that involves such technical issues as invention patent, utility model patent, new variety of plants, layout design of integrated circuit, technical secret, computer software, and monopoly; or
the judgment or ruling of the first instance of an IP administrative case that involves such technical issues as patent, new variety of plants, layout design of integrated circuit, technical secret, computer software, and monopoly.
One thing to note is, the Decision has not included those civil appeal cases in connection with design patent under the jurisdiction of SPC. As such, an appeal against the decision of a first-instance civil case relating to design patent made by an intermediate court or IP court will still be handled by the higher people's court of the jurisdiction where the first-instance court is located.
The tribunal is targeted to start operation by the end of 2018 prior to the coming into effect of the Decision on 1 January 2019.
(Source: China Patent Agent (H.K.) Ltd.)