China establishes the fourth IP court at Hainan Free Trade Port

11 January 2021

China establishes the fourth IP court at Hainan Free Trade Port

On December 26, 2020, the National People’s Congress enacted a measure establishing the fourth IP court in the southern island of Hainan.

“Establishing the IP court of the Hainan Free Trade Port is for the purpose of safeguarding the free trade port construction with Chinese characteristics, perfecting IP court layout, intensifying the judicial protection of intellectual property,” says Bin Zhang, an attorney at law at CCPIT Patent & Trademark Law Office in Beijing. “According to Guiding Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Supporting Hainan in Comprehensively Deepening Reform and Opening Up and Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Providing Judicial Services and Guarantees for Hainan to Comprehensively Deepen Reform and Opening Up, powerful judicial services and guarantees shall be provided in order to build Hainan into a pilot zone to comprehensively deepen the reform and opening up, a national ecological civilization pilot zone, an international tourism consumption centre, and a service and guarantee zone for national major strategies, to promote Hainan to set up a legalized, internationalized and convenient business environment and a fair, open and unified market environment.”

The shipping centres in Hong Kong, Singapore and Kaohsiung are the biggest competitors of Hainan in the South China Sea.

Goods imported to China via Hainan are subject to a zero-tariff policy, provided the goods comply with a 30 percent value-added requirement, which is intended to draw high-tech industries to the island.

The dedicated IP court is established after the ones in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. China’s IP courts have specialized jurisdiction over civil and administrative cases involving patents, trade secrets, software, hardware, agricultural technology; civil, administrative, and criminal jurisdiction over IP cases; and appellate jurisdiction over cases previously tried in Hainan courts. These courts have significantly broader jurisdiction than regional IP tribunals, such as those in Tianjin and Shenzhen, which do not share the “three-in-one” jurisdiction of the larger IP courts.

As Hainan’s economy has primarily been agricultural and tourism-based, there are no major disputes for the new court to adjudicate since the National People’s Congress’s measure going into effect on January 1, 2021.


Johnny Chan

Law firms

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