The Beijing Intellectual Property Court has stepped up efforts to improve efficiency in the handling of administrative cases regarding trademarks after seeing a rapid growth of such disputes over the past few years.
Since the court was set up in November 2014, it has witnessed the number of trademark-related administrative cases increase from some 5,500 in 2015 to more than 18,000 last year, with an average annual growth of about 25 percent, Song Yushui, vice-president of the court, said on Tuesday.
"Such disputes have also accounted for more than 60 percent of all kinds of IPR cases we have resolved in the past eight years," she said, adding that trademark applicants filed many administrative lawsuits against the China National Intellectual Property Administration after their applications were rejected.
"The administration denied the applications after review, but the applicants were unhappy with the reasons of the refusals, so they came to us to initiate the lawsuits," she explained, revealing that the average annual increase of such litigation has climbed to 29.4 percent since 2015.
To meet demand and improve work efficiency, the court has developed a pilot program to streamline procedures related to the handling of IPR-related administrative disputes in August last year. With this program, simple cases with clear facts and strong evidence can be resolved quickly, even before litigation begins, according to Song.
Statistics provided by court showed on Tuesday that about 3,000 cases have been resolved by the program from August last year to the end of last month.
To ensure quality while accelerating case handling, the court has established a team specializing in separating simple disputes from complicated ones, and has also arranged for judges to educate litigants about the streamlined procedures, said Yi Jun, chief judge of the court's case filing division.
Litigants can decide whether they want to resolve disputes through the program, he said.
In addition, they will be allowed to submit case-related materials and read relevant documents online, which can "provide more convenience for them, giving them easier access to litigation services," he added.
In the face of booming IPR disputes, China has opened four courts, including the Beijing one, to specialize in handling IPR cases and to promote innovation. The other three are in Shanghai and in the provinces of Guangdong and Hainan.
Among the courts, the Beijing court is the one that hears the most IPR disputes. Data showed that it has heard more than 150,000 IPR disputes since its establishment.