Estados Unidos de América
Observancia de los derechos de propiedad intelectual
10. Article 41.4 obligates WTO Members to provide for judicial review of certain judicial and administrative decisions in intellectual property enforcement proceedings. Please describe what legal limitations, if any, are placed upon the ability of a party to an intellectual property enforcement proceeding to have both procedural rulings and final decisions reviewed by a separate judicial authority, and cite the legal authorities providing for such reviews.
All procedural rulings and final decisions on the merits of South African courts are subject to review and/or appeal, with the exception of temporary interdicts (interlocutory injunctions). The current legal position in South Africa is that an interlocutory injunction (temporary interdict) is not subject to review nor to appeal. It is submitted that this position is not in conflict with Article 41.4, inasmuch as the decision in regard to an interlocutory injunction is not a decision on the merits of a case. An interlocutory injunction is based on a balance of convenience, and the merits of the case are specifically not decided. To succeed with a temporary interdict, the claimant merely has to show, prima facie, that there is a right which is or is about to be infringed, and that the balance of convenience favours the granting of a temporary interdict pending the finalization of the main proceedings. Furthermore, an interlocutory injunction is exactly that, namely a temporary order pending further court action; if such further court action does not follow within a reasonable period, the interlocutory injunction can be discharged. The order normally specifies a return date by which cause must be shown as to why the temporary interdict should not be made permanent, thus creating an opportunity for the respondent to state his case. The system is safeguarded against abuse in that the Court requires to be satisfied that the balance of convenience is in favour of the granting of such an interdict, and in considering this aspect the Court will consider the status and financial position of both parties, and will make the decision on the basis of the least measure of interference with the activities of a party.