Developing a legal framework for determining forum choices in transnational intellectual property litigation
As communication technologies have assisted in the rapid transfer of information and goods across borders, there has been a commensurate rise in transnational intellectual property litigation. In particular, use of the Internet for trade and consumption of information has led to simultaneous infringement of parallel intellectual property rights in multiple States. The chosen forum to resolve such a dispute is perceived to have significant effect upon the outcome of litigation. There is a need to closely evaluate current jurisdiction rules and recent reform proposals to determine the extent to which they facilitate or prevent litigants from making forum choices that can promote efficiency and fairness in the dispute resolution process. However, there is currently no formal international treaty that regulates how litigants may make forum choices during transnational intellectual property litigation. As a result, the range of forum choices available to litigants are determined by divergent domestic rules, meaning that litigants must enforce their intellectual property rights in forums within every State where the rights exist and have been infringed upon. In such as context, a critical issue is to consider is whether an international regulatory framework could be developed to facilitate appropriate forum choices which advances and calibrates efficiency and fairness in transnational intellectual property litigation. As most conceptions of appropriate forums are from a doctrinal perspective, it is necessary to create a theoretical framework to determine what constitutes an appropriate forum choice during a transnational intellectual property dispute. This theoretical framework can then be used to evaluate the merits of current rules on jurisdiction and determine whether they define a suitable range of available forums that allow litigants to make appropriate choices. The forum non conveniens doctrine also needs to be evaluated as it has the most developed case law that considers appropriate forums for civil disputes. Finally, the risks and benefits of developing an international regulatory framework needs to be examined to assess which method would be the most suitable way to facilitate appropriate forum choices. It is hoped that this research will assist courts and legal practitioners when making decisions about complicated jurisdiction issues during transnational intellectual property disputes, as well as enable policy makers to promote reform that facilitates more efficient and fair forum choices.