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China opens second intellectual property rights court

China's second intellectual property rights (IPR) court has opened in the city of Guangzhou, in southern China’s Guangdong province, the state-run Xinhua News Agency has reported .

The court, which opened on 16 December, will hear civil and administrative lawsuits regarding patents, new plant varieties and technological knowledge, Xinhua said.

The deputy head of the provincial higher people's court, Xu Chunjian, told Xinhua the court “will hear IPR cases from all over Guangdong province except for Shenzhen City, so the whole province will follow the same standard”.

Xu said IPR cases in Guangdong accounted for 29.68% of the country's total in 2013, an increase from 20.55% in 2009. According to Xinhua, Chinese courts currently hear about 110,000 IPR cases annually “and this is expected to increase”.

Proposals from China’s Supreme People's Court to set up three courts to hear IPR cases were approved by China’s top legislature last August.

The first IPR court was set up in Beijing in early November, Xinhua said. “It has accepted 221 cases in one month alone.” About 63% of the cases were administrative lawsuits regarding brands, Xinhua said.

A third IPR court is expected to open in Shanghai by the end of this year.

The Guangzhou court has already selected 10 of its 30 judges, “each having handled on average at least 600 IPR cases”, Xinhua said.

In addition, Xinhua quoted an official with the provincial higher people’s court, Zhou Ling, as saying the court is China’s first “to treat all judges as equal”.

The World Trade Organisation, in its fifth 'Trade Policy Review' of China (200-page / 1.37 MB PDF) released earlier this year, called on China to address “shortcomings”, including a commitment to publish “in a single official journal” all laws, regulations and other measures related to or affecting trade in goods, services, intellectual property rights or foreign exchange, and to make them available in one of the WTO’s three official languages of English, French and Spanish.

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