There’s a nice update on the new Japanese Intellectual Property High Court on Bill Heinze’s I/P Updates blog. The new court was organized because the Supreme Court, which is supposed to unify legal precedents, takes too long to complete hearings and it now only rules on constitutional issues.
The new court will reportedly have 18 judges and will serve as the court of first instance over whether the Patent Office’s decisions are appropriate. It also will serve as a court of appeal, after Tokyo and Osaka district courts, on compensation suits concerning the infringement of patent rights and injunctions.
It appears that the Intellectual Property High Court will introduce a collegiate court system using five judges, as opposed to the normal collegiate court system of three judges. The new system will only deal with cases in which similar lawsuits have received different rulings or rulings that may influence business activities.
In addition to patent violation lawsuits, the expanded court system could target cases over how much a company should pay an employee who was responsible for a breakthrough invention. As we reported earlier, the inventor of an LED technology settled a lawsuit for 840 million yen ($8.1 million) with his former employer, the Nichia Corporation, for inventing blue-light-emitting diodes.
If the calculation of the cost to be paid to an in-house inventor were harmonized, it could be a model for companies to develop an incentive system.