The Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China released the Provisions on Several Issues Concerning the Trial of Cases by the Internet Court (“Provisions”) on 6 September 2018. The Provisions defined the jurisdiction and operation of the two new Internet Courts in Beijing and Guangzhou. On 9 September 2018, the Beijing Internet Court was formally established and began to hear cases. This makes the Beijing Internet Court only the second Internet Court in the country following the opening of the Hangzhou Internet Court last year. A third Internet Court, the Guangzhou Internet Court, is also expected to open during the course of this month.
The Internet Courts of Beijing and Guangzhou, akin to the Hangzhou Internet Court, will have jurisdiction over:
- online shopping disputes involving the e-commerce platforms;
- service related disputes where the contract is executed and performed via the Internet;
- loan related disputes where the contract is executed and performed via the Internet;
- copyright and neighbouring right disputes where the work is firstly published on the Internet;
- copyright and neighbouring right disputes concerning online infringement;
- ownership, infringement and contracts disputes related to domain names;
- disputes arising out of online infringement of personal, property rights or other civil rights;
- product liability arising out of defected products bought from e-commerce platforms;
- Internet related public interest litigation brought by procuratorates;
- other Internet related civil or administrative cases designated by the higher People’s Court;
When entering into an agreement, the parties can choose to submit any aforementioned disputes to any Internet Court that has an “actual connection” regarding the location of that dispute.
As of 18:00 on 10 September 2018, the total visits for the online platform of Beijing Internet Court is about 207,300, and there have already been 207 filing applications received online, according to Huanqiu.com. The first application accepted by the Beijing Internet Court is Douyin v. Baidu, a copyright dispute concerning the ownership of a “short video”. It is expected that the new Internet Courts in both Beijing and Guangzhou will provide greater convenience to affected parties in respect of any Internet-related disputes.