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China’s attempt to emerge as a key Intellectual Property (IP) hub began in 2008 with its formulation of the Outline of National IP Strategy (“IP Strategy”). This provided for a roadmap that will enable China to become a nation capable of creating, utilising and protecting IP by 2020. As part of executing this strategy China indulged in a number of judicial reforms to strengthen IP protection that included the establishment of a centralized jurisdiction over some hi-tech patent litigation, setting up a “three-in-one” adjudication for civil, administrative and criminal IP cases under a single tribunal etc.
Since the framing of this well-thought IP Strategy, the Chinese IP system has witnessed some path-breaking changes. They include constitution of specialized IP Courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou by 2014 and creation of four new specialized IP Tribunals in Nanjing, Suzhou, Chengdu and Wuhan by early 2017. The setting up of these three IP Courts has led to substantial progress in IP enforcement. These courts have the jurisdiction to try cases involving trade/technical secrets, patents, computer software, plant varieties, integrated circuit layout designs, and also disputes relating to protection of well-known trademarks and antitrust issues. These IP courts will have original /first instance jurisdiction over IP disputes which are technology-related, hear appeals against decisions of local courts on trade mark and copyright matters. Apart from this the Beijing IP Court can also review decisions of IP Administrative Authorities.