Tech savvy Changsha court aims to become bastion for IP cases
By Dai Kaiyi

Avant-garde and futuristic, the Changsha intellectual property court in China's central Hunan Province is an icon of innovation for Changsha's court of justice.

Looking nothing like a traditional tribunal on the outside, the court is full of cutting-edge technologies such as AR, VR and blockchain.

It's internet trial chamber, for example, makes it possible for clients to attend remotely if they are not in town or when the community was hit by coronavirus clusters earlier this year.

Fan Dengfeng, vice president of Changsha Intermediate People's Court, said the Intellectual Property Court is meant to integrate Changsha into the country's judicial protection system for intellectual property, and to provide strong judicial security for domestic and foreign assets.

The court breaks the mold of the industry as criminal trials, civil trials and administrative trials can all be tried here, meeting a growing demand of intellectual property disputes, which are usually more complicated and require specialized know-how.

Since its establishment in 2018, the court has heard nearly 20,000 cases via the model called "the three-in-one trial".

Apart from domestic brands, illegal acts targeted at foreign-owned enterprises such as Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota have all been kept in check thanks to the court's efforts.

Going forward, Fan said that the local authorities are ready to invest more than 25 million yuan ($3.83 million) -- along with investments of manpower, material resources, and informatization -- to turn the court into a first-class, informatized court able to provide litigants with more efficient, comprehensive services.

Those in the city who work directly with the court also say they plan on joining hands to safeguard intellectual property space for the Hunan Pilot Free Trade Zone.

Sun Jin, director of Changsha Intellectual Property Office, said they are aiming to provide one-stop service, and construct the intellectual property financing and investment systems for enterprises in the free trade zone, which will promote the rapid development of the region.

Along with its allies, this rising judicial icon south of the Yellow River sees itself in a good position from which it can integrate itself into the running of broader geographical areas and efforts such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative.

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