From 23-30 June 2019, the Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme of the GIZ organized and supported a study tour to Germany and Switzerland on intellectual property law for five lecturers of the National Judges’ College and for a practicing judge. Under the direction of Dr Lyu Kungliang, the Vice President of the National Judges’ College, the delegation visited institutions in Munich, Berlin, and Geneva, and held expert discussions there on intellectual property law. Chinese courts have been increasingly dealing with cases from this area of law for some time.
The kick-off of the visit was at the Federal Patent Court in Munich, where, following a welcome address by the President of the Court Beate Schmidt, the work of the second-largest German federal court was presented, whose senate – uniquely in Germany – is made up of both legal and technical judges. At a subsequent visit to the German Patent and Trademark Office, the procedures for the issuing of patents and the registering of trademarks were at the centre of focus. A further meeting at the Max-Planck-Institute for Innovation and Competition addressed the protection of intellectual property at the European level and also provided an overview of the institute’s research work and trainee programme.
In Berlin, a visit to the Berlin Court of Appeal looked at the protection of intellectual property in practice before German courts. At the same time, the participants were given an overview of the structure of the court and the various appeal stages in Germany. This was followed by a visit to the Berlin Senate Administration for Justice, Consumer Protection, and Anti-discrimination, which was devoted to both German copyright law and to the advanced training of judges and state prosecutors.
At a visit to the Federal Ministry for Justice and Consumer Protection, the delegation was given an introduction to the measures for the harmonization of copyright law at the European level, particularly concerning the recently passed copyright guidelines of the European Union.
The tour ended with two appointments in Geneva. At the bar association of the Geneva canton, the delegation became acquainted with the area from a lawyer’s perspective. Here both the parallels and the differences between Swiss and German law were clarified. The programme concluded with a visit to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This concerned the development of the intellectual property law at the international level. This area of law has become increasingly important in the wake of advancing globalization and digitalization. Through the organization of arbitration courts and mediation proceedings, the WIPO contributes to the settlement of international legal disputes.