Bringing you regular news of key developments in the area of Intellectual Property in China.

Patents

Technical Investigator used for first time in patent case, 16 June 2016

The Supreme People’s Court (the “SPC”) has for the first time used a technical investigator. They made a significant contribution to the outcome of the case. A technical investigator is an expert from the Patent Re-examination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office who is a chemistry specialist. The use of technical investigators in patent infringement cases was only introduced this year. 

The full text of the decision is not available.

Huawei sues Samsung both in China and USA, 25 May 2016

Huawei has brought suits against Samsung both in Shenzhen, China and California, USA, claiming that Samsung has infringed Huawei’s intellectual property rights by using Huawei’s technology without a licence. Most of the intellectual property rights involved in the disputes are essential standard patents which cover the technologies for 4G cellular mobile communications, operating systems and some desktop software. Huawei is one of the top Chinese telephone brands with a large number of patents. It has cooperated with many competitors by cross-licensing patents, including to Apple, which obtained Huawei’s licence for GSM, UMTS and LTE technologies in 2015. The result of this case is still pending.

SIPO issues Guidelines for the Determination of Patent Infringements, 5 May 2016

The State Intellectual Property Office (“SIPO”) has issued the Guidelines for the Determination of Patent Infringements (for Trial Implementation) (the “Guidelines”), the Rules of Evidence on Patent-related Administrative Law Enforcement (for Trial Implementation) and the Guidelines for Administrative Mediation of Patent Disputes (for Trial Implementation) which all came into effect simultaneously.

The Guidelines detail the principles and methods of identifying patent infringement behaviours in the processes of manufacturing, use, sale and offering for sale and import. The Guidelines also clarify that behaviours which are licensed by patentees, have assigned or compulsory licenses, or have not-for-profit intentions are not considered to be infringing behaviours. Cases and comprehensive analysis have been included to provide detailed and practical guidance.

For the full text of the Guidelines, please click here (Chinese only).

Several significant IP cases published by SIPO, the SPC and specialised IP courts, January - May, 2016

Several judicial authorities have successively published significant or typical cases in the area of Intellectual Property in 2015. This includes the Supreme People’s Procuratorate’s Top 10 Typical Intellectual Property Protection Cases; SIPO’s Top 10 Typical Intellectual Property Protection Cases; the SPC’s Top 10 Significant IP Cases and Top 50 Typical IP Cases in China; and the Beijing High Court’s Top 10 Typical Cases and Top 10 Innovative Cases. These significant or typical cases cover a wide range of intellectual property rights, including patents; trademarks and copyright infringement; patent invalidation; anti-unfair competition; and misleading promotions in telecoms, media, lifesciences and online business industries. They give an indication of the judgment rules which will apply and the likely outcomes of cases in these courts. 

For the full text of the cases, please click:

2015年知识产权保护典型案例 (Chinese only)

2015年中国法院十大知识产权案件 (Chinese only)

2015年中国法院50件典型知识产权案例l (Chinese only)

Typical cases of IP courts of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou

The official source of the Beijing High Court Top 10 Typical Cases and Top 10 Innovative Cases of 2015 is not available.

Guangzhou IP Court issues its first preliminary injunction before litigation, 23 June 2016

The Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court has issued its first preliminary temporary injunction before litigation for a design patent infringement dispute. The court gave consideration to the following six factors: whether the patent is stable and valid; the possibility of infringement by the respondent; whether the legal rights of the claimant would suffer irrecoverable damage if the injunction was not given; whether the damage caused by the injunction to the respondent would be less than or equal to the damage for the claimant in light of no injunction and whether the claimant could provide an appropriate and valid guarantee.

The full text of the decision is not available.

The SPC releases 2015 White Paper on IP Judicial Protection in China, 26 April 2016

The SPC has released a White Paper on the Status of the Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Chinese Courts in 2015 ( the “ White Paper”) which provides an overview of the status of the intellectual property protection in Chinese Courts and includes notes, data and statistics on intellectual property cases in 2015. According to the White Paper, foreign related IP cases decreased while overall IP cases increased and the number of patent and anti-unfair competition cases rose. It also highlighted that specialised courts and technical investigators played an important role and have the potential to become more significant in the coming years.

For the full text of the White Paper, please click here (Chinese only).

The State Council sets out the key tasks for cracking down on IP infringements in 2016, 4 May 2016

The General Office of the State Council has issued the Key Tasks for Banning Violation of Intellectual Property Rights and Production of Fake & Low-quality Goods in 2016. It emphasised that fake and low-quality products sold online as well as online copyright pirate behaviours should be the main targets of the crackdown. The government will also strengthen its policies on protecting business secrets and will also push to perfect legislation on ecommerce; anti-unfair competition; copyright and patent protection; drug administration; and other relevant laws which will strictly regulate illegal violation or abuse of intellectual property rights.

For the full text of the announcement, please click here (Chinese only):

Trademarks

Facebook won the case but Apple lost, 25 April 2016

Facebook received a positive judgment regarding its dispute with a Chinese trademark squatter. However, Apple, who brought a case on a similar issue, lost its trademark battle several days before Facebook’s judgment was announced. The facts of the two cases are quite similar; the main difference is that Facebook filed the litigation citing a relatively comprehensive legal basis and included provisions of Chinese law on registration methods using fraudulent or unfair means. The case illustrates a new method of preventing trademark squatters in China and shows a significant improvement in the judicial practice in this area.

For the full text of the judgments, please click here - Apple / Facebook (Chinese only):

Delayed issuing of Trademark Registration Certificates, May 2016

It became apparent earlier this year that no granted trademark had received a hard copy Trademark Registration Certificate since August 2015 and many enterprises had suffered due to their failure to provide this certificate to a business partner or other authorities. The official explanation is that the specific paper used to print the certificate had not been available because of the purchasing department’s arrangements. The China Trademark Office quickly responded to the report; including issuing official apologies, and printing and issuing the Certificates. All overdue certificates had been issued by the end of May 2016.

For the full text of the announcement, please click here (Chinese only).

Geographical Indications

Clarified Protection Regime for Products with Foreign Geographical Indications, 24 May 2016

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine issued the Protection Regulation on Products of Foreign Geographical Indications (the “Regulation”) which aims to protect the trade of products with unique foreign geographical indications. The Regulation defines the qualification requirements for an applicant; the process of the evaluation and approval; the process of change and withdrawal; and the administration requirements for using these indications and the corresponding liability. According to the Regulation, foreign geographical indications will enjoy the same protection regime as Chinese geographical indications.

For the full text of the Regulation, please click here (Chinese only).