Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the International Arbitration Center in Tokyo (IACT)?
IACT is a neutral arbitration institution that provides superior dispute resolution services to the global business community. While capable of handling a wide range of disputes, IACT is uniquely capable of resolving complex disputes involving standard-essential patents.
2. What are the benefits of arbitration?
Arbitration is less formal than litigation before courts, as the parties to arbitration maintain a higher level of control over the conduct of the proceedings.
Arbitrations can be held confidentially, out of the public eye, to the extent the parties choose.
Parties can choose their arbitrators.
Parties are generally assured of the finality of the arbitration award because (1) the IACT Rules provide for a scrutiny by a supervisory panel, and (2) there are only very limited circumstances when a party may appeal an arbitration award.
IACT’s arbitration system minimizes the cost, in terms of both time and money, by limiting the duration of the proceedings and by charging the arbitrators’ hourly rates rather than a portion of the amount in controversy.
3. What separates IACT from other arbitration centers?
IACT draws upon the talent and experience of the world’s most renowned former intellectual property judges.
IACT seeks to reduce the cost of arbitration by charging the arbitrators’ hourly rates rather than a portion of the amount in controversy, and by imposing a presumptive 1-year limit to the proceedings.
4. Is there a minimum or maximum claim amount for IACT arbitrations?
5. Can IACT administer arbitrations in languages other than English?
Yes. IACT arbitrators can conduct arbitrations in many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, German, Korean, and English. IACT will also have resources to monitor those arbitrations in languages other than English. However, IACT expects that for practical reasons English will be the norm for international arbitrations.
6. Can IACT administer arbitrations where the governing law of the contract is not Japan law?
Yes. IACT is able to administer arbitrations where the governing law of the contract is not Japan law. For example, IACT can apply the laws of the United States, Japan, Korea, China, German, England, as well as other countries in IACT arbitrations. Parties may opt, for instance, for the contract law of the state of New York or London.
7. Can IACT administer arbitrations where the seat of arbitration is not Japan?
Yes. The parties can agree to conduct the arbitration in any location. However, many neutral observers recognize Japan as an ideal and independent location. Parties and arbitrators may agree to hold multiple hearings, each in a different country or location.IACT will have the ability to monitor those proceedings if necessary or requested.
8. Is there a default seat of arbitration under the IACT Rules?
The IACT Rules do not set a default seat of arbitration. Parties may agree on the seat of arbitration; failing such agreement, the Tribunal shall determine the seat of arbitration.
9. Do hearings in IACT-administered arbitrations need to be held in Japan?
No. The parties and arbitrators in any given IACT arbitration determine the location of any hearings. Parties and arbitrators may opt to hold some preparatory meetings via video-conferencing technology.
10. Can international parties having no connection with Japan refer a case to IACT for administration?
Yes. IACT expects that a significant percentage of cases will involve parties with no connection to Japan.
11. How long do IACT-administered arbitrations take?
The IACT Rules set a default time limit of 12 months from selection of the arbitral panel until issuance of an award. If the parties choose to request review by the expanded arbitrator panel after the award issues, then additional time (approximately 1-3 months) should be taken into account. The parties and arbitrators can agree to different timelines, depending on the complexity of the case.
12. What are IACT’s operating hours?
IACT’s operating hours are Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tokyo time. Outside of these hours we remain reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
13. Does IACT have a model arbitration clause?
Yes. In drawing up contracts, IACT recommends that parties include the IACT Model Clause:
Any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this contract, or the breach, termination or invalidity thereof, shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with the IACT Arbitration Rules.
(a) The number of arbitrators shall be . . . [one or three];
(b) The seat of arbitration shall be . . . [town and country];
(c)The language to be used in the arbitral proceedings shall be . . . .
(d) The arbitration shall proceed under the law of [jurisdiction, e.g., the state of New York].
Initiating an IACT Arbitration
14. Does IACT administer cases conducted under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules?
Yes. IACT is able to administer arbitrations under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (1976, 2010 and 2013 versions). It should be noted that the IACT Rules include unique benefits, such as a presumptive 1-year time limit and award scrutiny by an expanded panel.
15. How is an arbitration at IACT under the IACT Rules commenced?
A party may commence an IACT arbitration by submitting the Notice of Arbitration to IACT through one of the below means and paying the requisite Case Filing Fee of 2,000 USD.
- Via email to (email size should not exceed 5MB)
- By hand to Sapia Tower 8th floor, 1-7-12 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, 100-0005 Tokyo, Japan
- Via registered post or courier service
16. How are filing fees paid?
Payments may be made by bank transfer to IACT’s bank account. For updated bank details, please contact IACT by telephone at +81-3-5218-5260 or by email at email@example.com.
17. What happens if the Claimant fails to pay the Case Filing Fee?
If the Claimant does not pay the Case Filing Fee, IACT may determine that the Notice of Arbitration is not complete, or not substantially complete, and the arbitration will not be commenced.
18. What happens if the Respondent fails to pay the Counterclaim Filing Fee?
If the Respondent fails to pay the Counterclaim Filing Fee, the counterclaim may be deemed as not filed and the arbitration will proceed without any counterclaim.
19. Does the Respondent have to pay a filing fee for a counterclaim?
Yes. A Respondent who wishes to bring a counterclaim in pending arbitration proceedings must pay a Counterclaim Filing Fee 2,000 USD for resolution of the counterclaim.
20. How are the costs of the arbitration calculated?
The costs of arbitration are defined in Article 42 of the IACT Rules as including the following items:
The reasonable fees of the arbitral tribunal to be stated separately as to each arbitrator;
The reasonable travel and other expenses incurred by the arbitrators;
The reasonable fees of each technical assistant (if any);
The reasonable fees of each law clerk (if any);
The reasonable travel and other expenses of witnesses to the extent such expenses are approved by the arbitral tribunal;
The reasonable fees and expenses of the appointing authority and the supervisory expanded panel.
The “costs of arbitration” do not include the parties’ legal fees and other costs.
IACT shall issue to the parties a monthly invoice following each month of an arbitration, generally payable with 30 days of receipt. Consistent with IACT’s goal of resolving disputes efficiently and inexpensively, the IACT Secretariat shall continuously monitor such invoices to prevent excessive or unnecessary expenditures.
21. How much do IACT arbitrations cost?
IACT arbitrations’ cost will vary depending on the complexity of the case. The primary cost of an arbitration will be the hourly fees of the arbitrators. Additional costs (such as reasonable travel and lodging expenses of the arbitrators) may arise, but the IACT Secretariat will continuously monitor the arbitration’s cost to prevent any excessive or unnecessary expenditures. IACT is committed to resolving disputes as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.
Party Representation & Arbitrators
22. Can a party nominate an arbitrator who is not on IACT’s Panel of Arbitrators?
Yes. Parties to an arbitration are free to nominate arbitrators of their choice. It is not necessary for parties’ nominees to be on IACT’s arbitrator panel.
23. Must arbitrators be lawyers?
No. Depending on the circumstances of the case, it may not be necessary for arbitrators to be lawyers or to have a legal background. However, IACT expects that in most cases the arbitrators will have a legal background—such as experience practicing law and/or serving as a judge.
24. Do parties need to be represented by lawyers in IACT arbitrations?
No. Parties to a dispute do not necessarily need to be represented by lawyers in IACT arbitrations, although hiring qualified counsel is recommended.
Conduct of Proceedings & Awards
25. Does IACT arbitration involve discovery?
The IACT Rules permit limited discovery, and provide for an early, mutual exchange of “necessary” documents. Discovery is limited in this way to enhance the efficiency of the proceedings and lower their cost. Under Article 22, a statement of the claim must include a list of documents for which the claimant seeks discovery, and similarly Article 23 requires a statement of defense to identify the documents for which the defendant/counterclaimant seek discovery. The IACT Rules do not provide for discovery beyond such documents; however the panel and parties retain a certain amount of discretion to accommodate the parties’ needs depending on the circumstances.
26. Are awards rendered in IACT arbitrations enforceable outside Japan?
Yes. Awards in IACT arbitrations are generally enforceable outside Japan.
27. Does IACT scrutinize the Tribunal’s award?
Yes. Pursuant to Article 40 of the IACT Rules, the parties will have the opportunity to request substantive scrutiny by an expanded panel of arbitrators who did not participate in deciding the original award. This supervisory panel will consist of one former leading official from each region—USA, Japan, China, Korea, Europe—thus ensuring diverse scrutiny of any arbitration award to prevent major prejudicial errors. Using this procedure the parties can point out any instance of a serious oversight of fact or law, in its view, that should be corrected.
28. What are the differences among arbitration, mediation, expert determination-arbitration, and expert determination?
In arbitration, the arbitrator looks at the details of a dispute and makes a decision. Once the arbitrator has arrived at a decision, it is binding on parties, regardless of whether the parties agree with it. It is therefore similar to the way a court case is decided by a judge. But one of the primary differences is that the arbitration is not necessarily open to public inspection.
In mediation, the third-party mediator helps the parties settle their dispute through a process of negotiation, discussion, and narrowing of differences. The mediator does not issue a binding decision; instead he or she helps the parties to arrive at an agreed-upon solution. A successful mediation results in an agreement signed by the parties, not a decision by one or more arbitrators.
If the parties during an arbitration request mediation assistance, IACT will have the capacity to suggest or supply qualified mediators to assist the parties toward settlement.
Expert determination is a focused and speedy procedure in which a well-qualified neutral expert hears a case and makes a determination on the question submitted to it. A determination is binding only when it is based on the parties’ agreement to submit to an expert determination.
Expert determination-arbitration is a relatively focused and speedy procedure which combines benefits of expert determination and arbitration.