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Concentration of Jurisdiction over IP Litigation in Korea

Although Patent Court was established in 1998, suits for damages on IP infringement being handled through a different track compared to invalidation trials (district court, high court and Supreme Court) have been a problem to be solved for many years. Finally, it has been decided that concentration of jurisdiction over IP litigations in Korea will be enforced next year.

 

On November 12, 2015, the Korean National Assembly held a general meeting to pass the revised bill of Court Organization Act and Civil Procedure Act. The revised Acts will be effective from January 1, 2016. Specifically, based on the revision, first instance proceedings will be only allowed in the district courts of the jurisdictional area of high court and Patent Court will have the second instance proceedings instead of the High Court.

 

Currently, litigations for cancellation of a trial deciding on validity of patent and IP-related matters in the first instance proceedings are directed to the Patent Tribunal, and those in the second instance proceedings are directed to the Patent Court. However, all civil cases, such as infringement cases, first instance proceedings are subject to jurisdiction of general district courts and those in the second instance proceedings are subject to jurisdiction of high courts and appellate division in district court.

 

Since jurisdictions for patent litigations are dispersed as described above, it is difficult to conduct effective and specialized trials for IP dispute resolution, which requires technical background and IP practices. In order to improve efficiency and specialization in IP litigations, the Presidential Council on IP* formed a specialized Committee and invited various communities from legal, industrial and academic fields to discuss measures of effectively protecting IP of domestic corporations. After having sixteen meetings from March 2012 to September 2013, the Committee prepared a reform measure for concentrating jurisdiction for IP litigations and finally came to a decision with a final draft at the 9th General Meeting of Presidential Council on IP together with the Ministry of Justice, Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and relevant authorities.

 

After the decision made at the Presidential Council, the Advisory Council on Judicial Policy of the Supreme Court submitted a proposed amendment of 2014 and based on the amendment, revised bills of Court Organization Act and Civil Procedure Act were prepared.

 

*Steve Oh, Managing Partner of INVENTUS was involved as the committee member

*For more detailed information regarding this issue, please refer to our 4th quarter newsletter