The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) recently announced the launch of their new Panel of Arbitrators for Intellectual Property Disputes. The new panel includes 30 members, with a total of 7 languages and 12 practice jurisdictions among them. Combined, the members have close to a millennium of IP matters experience, which includes copyright infringements, FRAND disputes, and the registration of patents, trademarks and designs. This panel will be HKIAC’s main source for appointment of arbitrators in IP cases and is separate from their regular panel of arbitrators.
Fortuitously, as HKIAC’s launch of the new Panel has taken place, Hong Kong’s government has published proposed amendments to the Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance. The purpose of the suggested amendments is to clarify that disputes over the subsistence, scope, validity, ownership, or any other aspect of an IP right can be submitted to arbitration in Hong Kong. A further goal of the amendments is to highlight the fact that Hong Kong’s public policy is not an impediment to the enforcement of an award in an IP right issue. Should the amendments move forward, they will go a long way in illustrating Hong Kong’s commitment to continued development into a global center for resolving IP disputes.
With the introduction of this new Panel, HKIAC is well positioned to further increase the number of domain name cases being referred to the Centre each year. 2015 saw a 13% increase from the number of such cases handled in 2014, with a total of 227 domain name cases submitted to HKIAC arbitration. Further, the Panel will increase HKIAC’s expertise in IP matters, as well as the range of IP matters HKIAC is capable of handling.
HKIAC was not only the winner of the GAR Innovation Award in 2015, but also ranked as the most improved arbitration institution in Queen Mary University of London’s 6th annual arbitration study in 2015. The Panel of Arbitrators for Intellectual Property Disputes will no doubt further enhance HKIAC’s reputation as a center of international arbitration.