By King & Wood’s Trademark Practice

Foreign companies often have concerns regarding whether the litigation process in an overseas venue will be efficiently handled by the relevant courts. In China, given the large increase in IP-related lawsuits in recent years, this is a reasonable concern. In 2009, P.R.C. courts had concluded 6,262 cases with a yearly increase of 31.89%. 1With such an upsurge in litigation, the P.R.C. courts have faced a very significant challenge.

The recent upsurge in IP cases highlighted the need to create a more efficient process to handle IP-related cases. Through various reforms and improvements, the P.R.C courts have become more adept in handling their ever-growing caseloads. As disclosed by Hon. Justice Su Zelin, Vice President of the Supreme People’s Court of P.R.China ‘the fulfillment of the following specific contents of judicial reform have improved the judicial efficiency significantly: enlarging the application scope of the summary procedure to civil cases; widening the scope of mediation to cases to dissolve problems timely and to enhance the trial efficiency; optimizing the allot of judicial resources to improve the effective of judicial expenditure security and to make full use of the money". 2 In this regard, the improved efficiency of the P.R.C courts has led to reducing the average time to process a foreign-related lawsuit from 233days to 172 days (2006-2010). 3

The protection of intellectual property rights is no doubt a key factor in the growth of the Chinese economy. In this regard, foreign companies must feel confident that IP-related lawsuits in the P.R.C. will be handled fairly and efficiently. The recent improvements in the efficiency of the P.R.C. with regards to adjudicating IP lawsuits point to an environment of improved intellectual property rights protection, which benefits both domestic and foreign companies alike.