Trusting New Institutional Actors: Specialized Courts in the field of Intellectual Property Law

A global trend to establish specialized intellectual property (IP) courts can be observed. Consensus exists that IP courts can be important for improving quality, coherence and speed of the dispute resolution process. However, such specialized courts are criticized because of the risk of isolation and their pro-patent bias. Therefore, the institutional design of such specialized IP courts is vital for generating “trust”. The objective of this paper is to examine the interdisciplinary trust literature and to propose a conceptualization of trust that could contribute to the debate about specialized courts. The paper first maps the main features of the future “Unified Patent Court” (UPC) as a case study. Then it provides a comparative analysis of specialized IP courts resulting in insights in measures that can be used to build trust in the UPC. This may ultimately trigger the “leap of faith” (Möllering, 2007) that is required to stimulate collaboration with such new judicial actors.