Specialization of Courts in the Intellectual Property Field
On the initiative launched by Mr Ľuboš Knoth, President of the Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic (IPO SR), the eighth meeting of the Interdepartmental Commission for the coordination of cooperation in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy (IC) was held in Banská Bystrica on 22 September. An invitation, besides the members of the IC, was accepted by Mr Marián Blaha, President of the District Court in Banská Bystrica, Ms Drahomíra Dibdiaková, Judge of the Regional Court in Banská Bystrica, and Mr Pavol Tomáš, Judge of the District Court in Banská Bystrica.
The main purpose of the meeting was the specialization of courts in the field of intellectual property, which introduces the Civil Dispute Code with effect from 1 July 2016. Disputes relating to the industrial property shall be decided exclusively by the sole competent District Court in Banská Bystrica and by the court of appeals of the Regional Court in Banská Bystrica. In the copyright disputes and disputes arising from unfair competition the relevant three courts of first instance shall be: District Court of Bratislava I, District Court in Banská Bystrica and District Court of Košice I. This important reform of causal jurisdiction will have a significant impact on the operation of the courts concerned and its mastery requires increased attention and preparation by all stakeholders.
Representatives of Banská Bystrica's courts presented their views on the special jurisdiction of the courts, which, in principle, approved as a step in the right direction, but pointed to some key moments. In regard to an expected increase of the caseload in the field of industrial property and copyright it will be necessary to review the personal constitution of the District Court in Banská Bystrica, so that a specific judge could deal with this agenda only. A transparent, detailed and direct court statistics shall be the basic prerequisite for evaluating the effectiveness of accepted measures. The status of authorized experts in the field of industrial property, where the parties agreed that it would be useful if every expert for patent disputes will indicate a specific area, respective several technical fields, in which he carries out expert activity, was also discussed.
The system and method of education of the judiciary staff will require special setting and enhanced cooperation with the Judicial Academy of the Slovak Republic is expected.
Judges participating in the meeting also supported an alternative dispute resolution in the national domain .sk (so called ADR), which after effective implementation may unload the courts from domain disputes the number of which is not negligible and their solutions require a specific approach.
After discussing issues related to the specialization of courts the IC meeting continued along its regular program, which together with the record of the all negotiating process will normally be published on the web site of the IPO SR: http://www.upv.sk/?zasadania-komisie.
Mr Knoth thanked the invited guests for meaningful discussion, their observations, and sharing their experiences and expressed hope that joint efforts - even through specialization of courts with the contribution of the IC - will improve the enforcement of intellectual property rights.