The Withdrawal and Re-Adjudication Procedure in Trademark Administrative Litigation Cases
The Supreme People's Court of China issued the "Opinions on Promoting the Reform of Separating Complicated Administrative Litigation Proceedings from Simple Ones" on May 14, 2021. This judicial interpretation specifically stipulates in Article 2 that administrative cases involving trademark right granting and verification with clear facts, ascertainable rights and obligations, and minor disputes can be processed as simple cases for trial. Guided by this interpretation, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court has established a withdrawal and re-review procedure, also known as the withdrawal and re-adjudication procedure, to resolve disputes before or during the trial where case circumstances have changed and such changes may cause the revocation of the decision at issue, thereby avoiding procedural idling, saving judicial resources, and reducing litigation costs for the parties involved. Such changes include that prior rights obstacles have been cancelled due to improper use or non-use, declared invalidated, refused, removed due to no renewal, withdrawn, or transferred to the plaintiff.
Cases eligible for the withdrawal and re-adjudication procedure usually are those where the aforementioned changes occur before the trial. In such cases, the court organizes a negotiation between the parties. If both parties agree to apply the withdrawal and re-adjudication procedure, the plaintiff should submit a written application to the court to withdraw the lawsuit. After the court’s review and approval, an administrative ruling will be made, stating that "all parties acknowledge the plaintiff's withdrawal of the lawsuit, and the defendant will make a new decision". At the same time, the court would send a notice to the CNIPA to inform the completion of the pre-litigation mediation stage. Approximately one month after receiving this notice, the CNIPA will make a new administrative decision based on the new facts.
In addition, the withdrawal and re-adjudication procedure can be applied during both the pre-litigation mediation stage and the litigation trial stage. During the pre-litigation mediation stage, if new evidence arises that may result in the revocation of the decision at issue, such as circumstance changes, the parties can express their willingness to apply for the withdrawal and re-adjudication procedure to the judge team responsible for the separation of complicated and simple cases. The withdrawal and re-adjudication procedure during the litigation trial stage is basically the same as the procedure during the pre-litigation stage. If the aforementioned circumstance changes occur during the litigation trial stage, the parties can express their willingness to apply for the withdrawal and re-adjudication procedure to the judge team handling the case.
The withdrawal and re-adjudication procedure is a specific measure implemented by the Beijing Intellectual Property Court to establish a separation procedure of complicated and simple trademark administrative cases. It significantly promotes the application of simplified procedures, improves the quality and efficiency of the trial of trademark administrative cases, and benefits not only the conservation of judicial resources but also the reduction of litigation costs for the parties involved.
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