IP rights are improving, thanks to stronger rules
Zhang Jian is a judge at the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, which was established in 2014 to improve the quality of judgments in cases related to intellectual property rights.
Icame to the court when it was set up in November 2014, and in the past three years I have grown with the new department. During that time, I have witnessed the country’s stronger protection of intellectual property rights, thanks to stronger rule of law. This has helped me to make more comprehensive and professional judgments.
For example, in 2015, I dealt with a software copyright dispute between two computer companies. The case was difficult because it was hard for the plaintiff to collect evidence that the defendant had infringed their IP rights online.
To better protect the software innovator’s right along with some colleagues I insisted on safeguarding documents stored on nearly 800 computers in case the defendant attempted to destroy them. That helped a lot when we heard the case.
However, I know my efforts alone will not be enough to make a real difference. More judges should be appointed to hear IP protection cases, and people from all walks of life need to pay greater attention to infringements because better protection will encourage greater innovation.
As an IP judge, I think we not only need to provide good judgments, but also need to push forward much tougher laws and regulate the market. After all, a good market environment is the foundation that allows businesses and innovators to compete and develop.
In addition, as a pioneer in the implementation of judicial reform, our court has been exploring how to improve efficiency when handling complicated IP disputes because a faster procedure can help to reduce the losses suffered by the holders of IP rights.
Now, our court has simplified the procedures for submitting cases and the time it takes to deliver verdicts, aiming to ensure that litigants can submit suits and receive decisions more quickly.
Moreover, we sometimes hear similar cases simultaneously and then pronounce judgment on them together, which is a good way of conserving our resources.
Compared with other judicial officials, IP judges should be allocated more time for research, because the fast-developing internet era requires us to learn about highly advanced technology and related issues. If we don’t have that extra preparation time, we may be caught out.
My research and the rising number of cases mean that I am busy every day, but I enjoy it and would like to continue witnessing the development of IP case hearings.