China'sThird Internet Court Starts Operation in Guangzhou

Guangzhou Court of the Internet (GCI), the third internet court of China, has started operation on 28 September 2018. Prior to that, the country has set up its first internet court in Hangzhou and its second internet court in Beijing on 18 August 2017 and 9 September 2018 respectively. The internet courts allow the performance of the whole or part of the litigation process from case filing, mediation, acceptance of case, service of process, hearing to judgment proclamation through an online litigation platform.
According to the Provisions on the Jurisdiction of Guangzhou Court of the Internet issued by the Higher People's Court of Guangdong Province on 27 September 2018, GCI has jurisdiction over 11 types of internet-related cases originally under the jurisdiction of the basic courts in Guangzhou:
i) disputes over the ownership of copyright or neighbouring rights in a work first published on the internet, or disputes arising from infringement on the Internet of copyright or neighbouring rights in a work published or disseminated online;
ii) internet domain name ownership, infringement or contract disputes;
iii) disputes arising from signing or performance of network purchase contracts through e-commerce platform;   
iv) disputes over network service contracts which are signed and performed on the Internet;
v) disputes over financial loan contracts or small loan contracts which are signed and performed on the Internet;
vi) disputes arising from infringement on the Internet of another party's personal rights, property rights or other civil rights and interests;
vii) product liability disputes arising from product's defect or infringement of another party's personal rights or property rights where the product is purchased through e-commerce platform;
viii) internet public interest litigation initiated by procuratorial organs;
ix) administrative disputes arising from administration organs' administrative actions relating to internet information service management, internet product exchange or related service management; and
xi) other internet civil or administrative cases assigned by the higher level court.
Since GCI is established as a basic-level court in terms of court hierarchy, an appeal brought against a judgment or ruling of GCI will be heard by Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court, except that where an appeal involves internet copyright ownership or infringement dispute or internet domain name dispute, the case will be heard by the special court of Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court.