Unwired Planet and the Role of Chinese Courts: A Perspective from Shenzhen

This is the second article on recent research on Chinese IP law and practice.  The focus of this blog is  a widely read article of Judge Zhu Jianjun, Shenzhen Intermediate Court, Intellectual Property Tribunal.  His article “Research on Judicial Judgment Issues of SEP Global Royalty Rates” was published in  Intellectual Property, Issue 10, 2020, pages 3-12, and has since been distributed on Wechat.  A slightly edited machine translation of the Wechat text is found here.

Judge Zhu is a prominent IP judge who has adjudicated a number of SEP-related disputes, including one of the earliest SEP cases involving Huawei and Interdigital, and more recently, Huawei v. Samsung.   He published an article on Huawei v. Interdigital with his fellow judges in 2013 (标准必要专利权人滥用市场支配地位构成垄断的认定评华为公司诉美国IDC公司垄断纠纷案 (Recognizing Abuse of Market Position by Holders of Standards Essential Patents – Huawei v. US IDC Company) , 3 电子知识产权 (Electronics Intellectual Property) (2013).  In addition to his case load, and publishing articles on SEPS and IP-related matters, Judge Zhu is scheduled to speak on January 22, on day two of the forthcoming Berkeley-Tsinghua program on transnational IP litigation.

The views expressed by Judge Zhu are not necessarily those of his court.  By the same token, Judge Zhu’s views are controversial among many in the West, and my repeating them here does not necessarily mean that I subscribe to them.

Judge Zhu is concerned about the circumstances where, in his view, a SEP right holder does not abide by the FRAND commitment, and a national court voluntarily sets a global licensing rate by issuing an injunction to the implementer as a coercive force.  In his view, this practice does not comply with FRAND principles. Judge Zhu expresses particular concern about Unwired Planet v. Huawei (“UWP” and the “UWP case”), where the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom determined that Huawei infringed the two British standard requirements of UWP’s patent rights and adjudicated the global licensing terms of UWP’s patent portfolio.

In his article, Judge Zhu encourages China to take a more aggressive posture towards extra-territorial jurisdiction of foreign courts. In his view, the courts of major countries in the world other than the United Kingdom will not ordinarily take the initiative to determine the global standard-essential patent license rate for both parties in the case.  In the UWP case, Huawei was required to pay damages to UWP for infringing two patents unless Huawei signed a FRAND clause binding both parties under threat of a UK-wide injunction.  The British courts, in Judge Zhu’s words, took the initiative to decide “the global rate of the standard essential patents for both parties in the case where … a ban on the sale of wireless communication products guaranteed enforcement.”  

Judge Zhu notes, based largely on Microsoft v. Motorola, that “the U.S. court will only judge the global FRAND rate of the standard essential patent portfolio involved in the dispute when the parties in the dispute agree, and will not actively set the global fee for both parties.”  In the Sisvel case in Germany, Judge Zhu notes that the decision “is based on whether the quotations given by the two parties in the negotiation process conform to the FRAND principle as an important condition for judging whether to issue an injunction.” With regard to global rate setting, Judge Zhu notes that German courts recognized that “acceptance of global patent portfolio licenses cannot be used as a criterion to measure whether a party fulfills FRAND obligations.  Standard-essential patent implementers are allowed to explain why they do not accept global licenses. Non-discriminatory licensing does not require that all licensees be given the same licensing conditions under any circumstances.”  The German approach appears important to Judge Zhu to justify lower, China-specific rates.  Based on Samsung v. Apple in Japan, Judge Zhu also notes that Japanese courts regard whether the parties comply with the FRAND principle during the negotiation process as a condition for issuing the injunction, and will not take the initiative to determine the global licensing rate of a SEP patent portfolio.

Judge Zhu concludes that “the practice of the British courts taking the initiative to judge global rates for both parties in the case is contrary to the mainstream practice of the international community.”  To me this approach sets up a conflict between antitrust jurisdiction and traditional IP jurisdiction.  In the Huawei v. InterDigital decision, for example, Judge Zhu took the view that the filing of a USITC action by InterDigital was an abuse of dominance under Chinese antitrust law. In separate decisions the court awarded antitrust damages and set a FRAND rate, with the foreign antitrust decision acting as another “coercive force.” The most recent Chinese court to blend antitrust jurisdictional concepts in a FRAND IP dispute appears to be the Wuhan Intermediate Court IP case of Samsung v. Ericsson.  

In determining whether to issue an injunction, Judge Zhu notes that “the Chinese court will judge whether the standard essential patent portfolio quoted by both parties in the negotiation process conforms to the FRAND principle, as an important condition for judging whether the parties should be given an injunction.”  For example, with respect to the Huawei v Samsung case, Judge Zhu notes that the Shenzhen Court determined that Samsung carried relative fault in the negotiations, and it was ordered to stop infringing Huawei’s patent rights.  The standards for determining fault are articulated in the Guangdong SEP guidance, and other judicial documents.

In Judge Zhu’s view, the UK Supreme Court in UWP was seeking to force Huawei to accept higher licensing fees.  Another view is that Chinese courts are charging unfairly low licensing fees.  Judge Zhu also notes this wide disparity in his article when he discusses the German UWP case: “[t]he German court determined that Unwired Planet complies with FRAND’s Chinese licensing rate quotation, which is 18.3 times higher than the Chinese fee rate confirmed by the Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court in the first instance.”  This huge gap in understanding between Western and Chinese courts of what constitutes a FRAND rate calls into question whether the Chinese courts are behaving in a results-oriented manner.  This is also substantiated by a lack of proportionality between China’s low rate setting decisions and its more aggressive decisions regarding abusive licensing practices. NDRC’s penalty of $975 million against Qualcomm was was 13,000  to 50,000 times higher than the average patent damage award at that time.  By contrast, the Chinese lower court decision in Huawei v InterDigital awarding InterDigital a rate of 0.019% was miniscule.

As the recent decisions in Wuhan suggest, Chinese judicial activism in this area has not focused on preserving a Chinese rate setting for China which might nominally be within the scope of Chinese “judicial sovereignty”, but instead, as Profs. Contreras and Yu have pointed out,  enabling Chinese courts to engage in global rate setting under the compulsion of a global anti-suit injunction.  This also facilitates implementation of Chinese government industrial policies to increase China’s global licensing balance of trade.  It is not surprising that Samsung recently saw a similar opportunity by bringing a case in Wuhan to obtain a global ASI as part of its toolbox of remedies, despite Samsung and Ericsson having a small market presence in China when compared to the United States.

Without the benefit of ASI’s, Chinese courts already enjoyed the advantages of a forum that automatically grants injunctions, grants them quickly, and grants them over the huge Chinese market for companies that sell or manufacture there.  Even if a company does not manufacture in China, the automaticity of Chinese injunctions provides significant advantages. Another advantage for plaintiffs, as the Samsung v. Ericsson case revealed, is that China is  non-transparent prior to the long period that extends from case acceptance to international service of process.  Moreover, forum non conveniens decisions, where the court relinquishes jurisdiction in favor of a more appropriate forum, are rare. 

An additional reason for lower values in China, according to Judge Zhu, may also be higher invalidation rates for foreign patents filed in China, which may be “due to language translation and other reasons” which places those patents in an “unstable state.”  Another translation issue occurs with respect to rate setting when “it is difficult to separate the standard-essential patent fee rate in Chinese jurisdictions because the description of the prior patent package fee rate agreement is generally very general or very vague.”   Judge Zhu also does not discuss another factor that tilts the scale in favor of low foreign portfolio values, namely over-reliance on Chinese patent quantities to judge patent values

For Judge Zhu, the UWP case involved a plaintiff who “had only 3 months of contact and negotiation with Huawei. It can be said that when the negotiation has just begun and there is no sign that the negotiation cannot proceed, UWP immediately filed a case with the British court… It is difficult to say that UWP’s behavior conforms to FRAND principles.”  There may be, of course, different foreign perceptions of what constitutes reasonable or fair behavior.   Foreigners making decisions regarding when and where to file court cases may need to consider such factors as: the short statute of limitations of Chinese court cases; the rapid time to trial and appeal of a Chinese case; a lower licensing rate if the case were filed in China; delays in service of process from Chinese courts; the flexibility of Chinese courts in setting their docket when a foreign party is involved; the aggressive use of ASI’s; difficulties of a Chinese court relinquishing jurisdiction; and other factors which may lead to a truncated period of negotiations prior to a foreign court case.  Considering these uncertainties, courts may also need to be cautious in assessing what does not constitute a FRAND pre-trial offer.

Judge Zhu suggests several strategies to address the challenges posed by the UWP case: Chinese companies should seek to invalidate patents in China, and Chinese companies should initiate a lawsuit against the Chinese court for the licensing rate of standard essential patents.  Judge Zhu also believes that when a Chinese company requests a ruling on the standard-essential patent license rate in the Chinese jurisdiction, regardless of whether the time of litigation is first or later, the Chinese court is required to determine the rate in the Chinese jurisdiction. Therefore, extraterritorial courts should exclude the trial of standard essential patent licensing fees in a Chinese jurisdictions.  Consistent with that view of exclusive jurisdiction over Chinese rate setting, China should establish an anti-suit injunction system for handling SEP disputes in China: “[t]he practice of foreign courts issuing anti-suit injunctions to civil litigants in China has caused great obstacles to the normal exercise of rights by litigants in civil litigations in China. At the same time, it has also caused a greater impact on the legal exercise of jurisdiction by Chinese courts.” 

In the few months that have passed since this important article was published, the global environment for SEPs has become more complex, largely due China’s decisions to issue its own global anti-suit injunctions. Some of these, such as the recent Samsung v. Ericsson case in Wuhan, addressed issues that were within the sovereign jurisdiction of other countries. The issuing of global ASI’s by China is now less inconsistent with the UK approaches. 

Another concept that may not have survived well may be Judge Zhu’s analysis of when extraterritorial courts voluntarily ruling on global rates “would violate a [Chinese] principle of the closest connection in the jurisdiction of intellectual property cases.“ Judge Zhu cites the example of the UWP case. In that matter, In that case, Huawei’s global sales business primarily involved products that are produced in China and the main market is also in China.  I do not know the jurisdictional basis in China of the Samsung v Ericsson case, In that case, however, the United States appears to offer a closer connection to both parties. 

If, on the other hand, if the UWP dispute were heard in China and one were to apply Article 34 of the Civil Procedure Law  of China to the UK case, jurisdiction would have been appropriate.  It only requires an “actual connection” for a court to take jurisdiction in a contract or property dispute.  This threshold is quite low. As Prof. Vivienne Bath has noted, only when “a judgment of a foreign court has been recognized in China must the court reject a suit on the same dispute.”  Furthermore, the United States and many other foreign courts’  judgments are rarely enforced due to the lack of a  bilateral agreement.

Judge Zhu’s article is an important introduction to Chinese perspectives on extraterritorial jurisdiction over SEP matters.  At a conference that Judge Zhu and I both attended in January 2020 at Renmin University, I raised concerns to the audience about China’s lack of familiarity with concepts of comity as an important factor in drafting ASI’s by Chinese courts.  Addressing extraterritoriality and interference in a country’s legal system with appropriate deference to the proceedings of other courts and respect for their legal system is a necessary next step for China’s judiciary in order to be perceived a fair venue for all parties to resolve their IP disputes. 

Judge Zhu as well as Prof. Vivienne Bath are scheduled to speak at the forthcoming Berkeley-Tsinghua program on Transnational IP litigation on January 22, 2021. The SEPS panel will also include Chief Judge Randall Rader (ret.), Judge Andrew Guilford (ret.) and former USPTO Director David Kappos, among other notable speakers.  Profs. Robert Merges and Hao Yuan will be moderating.

IMPACT OF RECENT AML LEGISLATION ON THE IPR/ANTITRUST INTERFACE

This blog provides an update on recent legislative developments involving the interface between IP and China’s Anti-Monopoly law. On November 28, 2019, SAMR published the Anti-Monopoly Compliance Guidelines for Undertakings (Draft for Public Comment) (“Draft Compliance Guidelines”) 经营者反垄断合规指南(公开征求意见稿), which according to SAMR is specifically intended to “encourage undertakings’ compliance with China’s Anti-Monopoly Law” 鼓励经营者合规经营. Comments were due on February 12, 2019.  On January 2, 2020, SAMR issued the Draft Amendments to China’s AML (Draft for Public Comment)反垄断法”修订草案 (公开征求意见稿) (“Draft AML Amendments”). Comments were due on January 31, 2020. These documents, along with the changes from the government reorganization coming China’s three antitrust agencies into one, may suggest new approaches to antitrust regulation and enforcement in the future in China. 

The ABA’s Antitrust Law and International Law Sections submitted comments to SAMR on the Draft Compliance Guidelines as well as the Draft AML Amendments. We welcome receiving comments that other organizations submitted on these proposed laws to publish or link on this blog.

According to the NPC Observer, the Draft AML Amendments are on the State Council’s calendar for the 13th NPC Standing Committee Legislative Plan. It is a priority Class II Project. According to the recent government reorganization, it would otherwise be expected that Ministry of Justice would prepare a draft of the AML revisions for consideration by the State Council which would then forward on to the NPC for three readings. This Draft AML Amendments appear to be an effort to ‘test the water’ or perhaps ‘jump start’ the revision process, as it is drafted at an earlier stage than the NPC calendar might otherwise require. China’s National Copyright Administration undertook a similar effort with the long-stalled copyright law amendments, by publishing its own draft for public comment, which eventually became a State Council draft for public comment in June of 2014.

From an IP perspective, there are several items that are worth noting: 

The first one is that Article 55 of AML (Article 62 of the Draft) stayed unchanged and there is no new IP-related content added to this draft amendment. This article provides:

“This Law does not govern the conduct of undertakings to exercise their intellectual property rights under laws and relevant administrative regulations on intellectual property rights; however, undertakings’ conduct to eliminate or restrict market competition by abusing (or misusing) their intellectual property rights are governed by this Law.”

Article 55 has been the subject of considerable discussion among academics and practitioners and is ambiguous in its scope, including the relationship between the legitimate exercise of an IP right and an anticompetitive act, the relationship with Contract Law and proposed Civil Code provisions on monopolization of technology, the difference between “IP abuse” and “misuse”, the impact of administrative rules 行政法规 and AML guidelines on Article 55, and ultimately whether the AML creates some kind of safe harbor against charges of monopolization.   

An example of the unsure relationship between the legitimate exercise of IP rights and competition law might be price-based claims for securing a license to a patent, which arguably restricts certain competition in the market but would otherwise constrain a patentee’s rights to license or charge prices as it sees fit (see, e.g., Art. 28 of the TRIPS Agreement, Arts. 65, 68 of Chinese Patent Law). Most high pricing cases to date in China have involved standards essential patents, where a FRAND commitment may be involved that arguably mitigates against letting market prices fully determine patent values. However, these cases may not take into account the lawful rights authorized by Chinese IP law including the right to charge market prices and to seek an injunction when a right is infringed, which is also arguably within the scope of AML Article 55/revision Article 62.

In a similar vein, the notion of essential facilities is not mentioned in both drafts, which means China may not be ready to fully support an essential facility doctrine in national legislation at this time. However, companies that manage IP assets, particularly in the standardization context, may still need to pay attention to this issue to minimize their IP risk related essential facilities claims/abuse of market dominance, particularly as the essential facilities doctrine continues to have an active influence in administrative enforcement and policy making, as well as in policy decisions involving SEP’s.

Article 20(6) of the Draft AML Amendments lists several types of abusive acts, including “discriminating among transacting parties on transaction conditions without justified reasons” (没有正当理由,对交易相对人在交易价格等交易条件上实行差别待遇).  The current AML additionally required that the discrimination arise from “identical circumstances” (or “an equal footing” in the MofCOM translation) as a condition to a claim of discriminatory pricing (Art. 17(6)). This may create additional uncertainty in IP licensing due to potential AML risks, because the reasons for removal of “identical circumstances” are unclear, the scope of what is a “justified reason” in a licensing transaction is also unclear, and IP licenses are typically not commodity or mass produced agreements but are custom-negotiated based on a range of factors including the role of any actual or threatened litigation, markets and market penetration, tax planning, any cross-licensing, etc. 

Article 14 of the Draft AML Amendments prohibits both horizontal and vertical agreements that “exclude or restrict competition” offers another possible distinction from the current AML.  Article 13 of the current AML requires a finding of “excluding or restricting competition” only with respect to horizontal monopoly agreements. While the courts have generally adopted a fact-based, rule of reason type approach to this issue, administrative agencies were more inclined to find such agreements vertical agreements illegal per se, subject to a few exceptions. This Draft AML Amendments clarify this issue, which could have an important impact on licensing transactions by requiring an analysis of competitive impact and would be more consistent with TRIPS Article 40, which regulates “licensing practices or conditions that … constitute an abuse of intellectual property rights having an adverse effect on competition in the relevant market.” (emphasis supplied).

Two other provisions worth noting are Articles 18 and 21 of the AML Draft Amendments. Article 18 would tighten the requirements for receiving an exemption from an otherwise offending monopolistic agreement by requiring that it gives rise to efficiencies such as improving technology or improving research and development, that are “necessary” for the claimed efficiencies to be realized. The ABA has suggested that this language would require a “hindsight” type of analysis and that Article 18 be revised to soften this condition by requiring only that the agreement be “reasonably necessary” to achieve the claimed efficiencies.  

Article 21 lists factors that may be used to determine whether an undertaking has a dominant market position, and adds new additional factors for the Internet sector including network effects, economies of scale, lock-in effects, and data control and handling capabilities. The ABA has suggested that it is inappropriate to have industry specific legislation for the Internet sector, that these factors may equally apply to other industrial sectors, and that requirements of this type are best reserved for “implementing regulations or guidelines.” 

The Draft Compliance Guidelines, like other administrative rule makings are not mandatory and have no binding legal force. The Guidelines provide general guidance on anti-monopoly compliance of business operators. Most of its contents have already been stipulated in the previous Anti-Monopoly Law and related guidelines.   

Neither the AML Draft or Draft Compliance guidelines offer any specific guidance regarding management of patent pools, obtaining clearance from SAMR for a pool, or operation of a licensing regime.

The absence of more detailed consideration of IP issues in these two documents is rather surprising considering discussion in other venues. Although the US government complained about antitrust enforcement in China in the Section 301 investigation, noting that “several submissions asserted that Chinese AML authorities use the AML as a tool to advance industrial policy rather than to protect competition”, there were also no references to the AML in the Phase 1 Trade Agreement. Chinese courts have also been addressing issues regarding abuse of dominance and standardization through documents such as the Trial Adjudication Guidance for Standard Essential Patent Dispute Cases promulgated by Guangdong High People’s Court, and the Beijing High Court’s Guidance for Patent Infringement Determination. In addition, IAM has also recently reported that there is a significant increase in SEP-related litigation in China, including foreign vs. foreign and foreign vs. Chinese cases. China has also recently become an important venue for resolution of international SEP licensing disputes. Perhaps the wiser approach is to let these contentious cases be resolved one by one, rather than risk over-legislating in an evolving area where there has been considerable political attention.

Prepared by Mark Cohen and Xu Xiaofan

 

Reviewing the 2017 SPC Report on IPR Judicial Protection: The Generalities and the Exceptions

There have been a number of empirical reports in recent weeks on China’s IP system. In this blog, I look at the annual Supreme People’s Court 2017 Report on the Situation Regarding Judicial Enforcement of IPR in China  (中国法院知识产权司法保护状况) which was released during IP week (the “Report”).

According to the Report, 2017 saw a major increase in IP litigation in China.  There were a total of 237,242 cases filed and 225,678 cases concluded, with an increase of 33.50% and 31.43%, respectively, compared to 2016.

First instance cases increased by 47.24% to 201,039.  Patent cases increased 29.56% to 16,010.  Other increases were in trademarks (37,946 cases/39.58%); copyright (137,267/57.80%); competition-related cases (including civil antitrust cases of 114) (2,543/11.24%).  Two counter-cyclical numbers stand out:  technology contract cases dropped by 12.62% to 2,098, and second instance cases increased by only 4.92% or 21,818 cases. Note that disaggregated numbers for civil trade secret cases are not disclosed in the Report, but are presumably included under “competition” cases.

Comparing dockets with the United States, in 2017 United States courts heard 4,057 cases patent cases, 3,781 trademark cases, and 1,019 copyright cases, according to Lex Machina.  The biggest margin of difference between the US and China was clearly in copyright cases.  Chinese courts heard 134.7 times more cases than the United States. However, Chinese copyright cases are less likely to be consolidated amongst different titles, claims or causes of actions, which can inflate the statistics  — although I doubt to a 100 or more fold level.

Administrative cases, the majority of which are constituted by appeals from the patent and trademark offices, showed an overall increase while patent validity cases decreased.  Administrative patent appeals dropped 22.35% to 872 cases, while administrative trademark cases increased to 7,931 cases, or by about 32.40%.  The drop in administrative patent cases is particularly notable in light of the increased activity in patent prosecution and patent licensing.  By comparison the numbers of Inter Partes Reviews undertaken by the USPTO during 2017, according to Lex Machina, were 1,723, in addition to 9 cases involving covered business method patents.

The SPC did not offer disaggregated reversal rates of the PRB and TRAB in its data; combined patent and trademark cases included 964 cases involved  affirming the administrative agency decisions; 150 involving a change in the administrative decision; 5 cases involved a remand for further review; and 24 cases were withdrawn.

Criminal IP cases have also continued to decline.  There were 3,621 first instance criminal IP cases in 2017, a decline of 4.69%.  Among those 3,425 involved trademarks (-3.93%) and 169 involved copyrights (-13.33%).  There was also a decline of 35% in adjudication of criminal trade secret cases to only 26 cases.  The decline in criminal cases since 2012 (when cases totaled over 13,000) especially in copyrights and trade secrets is odd as Chinese leadership has in fact recognized the need for deterrent civil damages, including punitive damages and criminal trade secret remedies.

The five provinces that receive the most IP cases continued to grow in influence. Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong saw an aggregate increase of 56.63% in IP cases, to 167,613 and now constitute 70.65% of all IP cases filed in China (p. 6).  Guangdong alone saw an increase of 84.7% to 58,000 cases and Beijing trailed behind at 25,932 cases with an increase of 49.2 percent.  Other less popular destinations also saw dramatic increases.  Jilin province had an increase of 210 percent, while Hunan and Fujian each saw increases of 73.8% and 73.14%.

Settlement and case withdrawal rates also changed in 2017.  Shanghai had the highest reported rate of the big five at 76.31%, while the inland province of Ningxia had an overall rate of 88.46%, including a 100 percent rate where litigants accepted judgments without appealing  服判息诉 (!).

The SPC also reported supporting 11 cross-district IP tribunals in Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Hefei, Fuzhou, Jinan, Qingdao and Shenzhen.  In addition, 10 provinces or autonomous cities established a system of combining civil, criminal and administrative jurisdiction over IP cases in their IP tribunals in the first half of 2017.  As noted however, despite this change in judicial structure, there was a decline in criminal enforcement and in some administrative appeals in 2017 overall (p.11).

The Report also notes that the SPC is actively supporting research on establishing a national specialized appellate IP Court (p. 10).   The SPC also actively participated in the providing comments on other draft laws, and devoted some effort to the revisions of the Anti-Unfair Competition law, including meeting three times with the legal affairs committee of the NPC, as well as numerous phone calls   According to the Report, the “majority of the opinions proposed were adopted into law” which leaves the question of what was not adopted.  One possibility may be the removal of a specific provision treating employees as “undertakings” under the revised AUCL.  In fact, I have heard that some NPC legislators are continuing to push for a stand-alone trade secret to further improve upon the revised AUCL.

The Report also points to several research projects undertaken by provincial courts.  Amongst those of interest are: a research project on disclosure of trade secret information in litigation in Jiangsu; a report on using market guidance for damages compensation of Guangdong Province; a report on standards essential patents in Hubei; and a research project of the Beijing IP Court on judicial protection of IP in international competition.

Regarding transparency, the Report notes that the SPC has published all of its cases on the Internet, however similar data is not provided for other sub-SPC courts (p. 16).

In international affairs, the Report notes that the SPC has participated in the discussions on the proposed treaty on recognition and enforcement of foreign civil judgments (p. 17), in the China-European IP dialogue, and has sent people to the annual meeting of INTA, amongst other activities.  No mention is made of US government engagements (p. 17).  This omission may be due to current political sensitivities.  Nonetheless, due to the increasing number of cross-border disputes and the need for better understanding of both our judicial systems, I believe judicial engagement with Chinese courts would continue to be a fruitful enterprise.  Indeed, Berkeley hopes to host a program on cross-border IP litigation with Tsinghua University Law School later this year.

Finally, while we are on the subject of the courts, I commend Susan Finder’s recent blog on how to translate court terminology.   I hope I have not departed too far here from her excellent suggestions!