7.6.1 Jurisdiction and case assignment
As noted in Section 7.3, the Tokyo District Court or the Osaka District Court handles first instances of civil lawsuits for an alleged infringement of a patent.233 Patent infringement cases are assigned to panels of the IP divisions of the district courts according to the order in which they are filed. Civil Divisions 29, 40, 46 and 47 of the Tokyo District Court and Civil Divisions 21 and 26 of the Osaka District Court specialize in IP infringement proceedings.
A panel of three judges will usually hear patent infringement cases. Fact-finding does not involve jurors and is conducted by judges. However, judicial research officials – examiners seconded from the JPO, or patent attorneys – are assigned to assist district court judges with technical matters.
Any appeal against a district court decision in a patent infringement lawsuit is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the IP High Court.234 A party that is dissatisfied with a decision of the IP High Court may file a final appeal or a petition for the acceptance of a final appeal to the Supreme Court.235