Do We Need Specialized Intellectual Property Courts?

A recent study published by the International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examines the use of specialized intellectual property courts around the globe. After reviewing the intellectual property laws and regulations of over 190 countries, the “Study on Specialized Intellectual Property Courts” concludes that although intellectual property rights (IPR) courts may vary worldwide, they all offer the distinct advantage of an informed and capable judiciary.

The report specifically highlights several key advantages of IPR courts, including:

  • IPR courts lead to the creation of subject matter experts/expertise.
  • IPR courts often make quicker and more effective decisions.
  • IPR courts allow governments to create special court procedures to enhance efficiency and accuracy.
  • The creation of an IPR court increases the consistency of case outcomes.
  • Because their subject matter is concentrated, specialized IPR courts are better equipped to remain current on new IPR issues and laws.
  • Government investment in specialized intellectual property courts signals to the public that intellectual property rights will be enforced.

The report does suggest some downsides of specialized courts. These include the possibility of bias and the fear of judicial “tunnel vision,” or losing sight of how IPR law fits into the larger legal framework.

Nonetheless, the report concludes, “Specialized courts benefit the IPR owners and the government alike as they are more efficient and expedient… it is advisable for government officials to consider developing and maintaining some form of specialized IPR court.”

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