The SPC Releases White Paper on IP Judicial Protection 2014

2014知识产权司法保护状况白皮书发布

20 April 2015

The SPC’s recently issued White Paper reports that during 2014, Chinese courts accepted 116,528 first instance intellectual property cases (civil, administrative and criminal), an increase of 15.6% over the previous year. The most dramatic increase was in the number of first instance IP administrative cases: an increase of 243.66% over the previous year.

Vice-chief of the Supreme People's Court, Tao Kaiyuan, noted particularly the number of difficult and complex cases involving the recognition of complex technologies and the application of IP laws

4月20日,最高人民法院在重庆宣布启动2015年全国法院知识产权司法保护宣传周活动。在现场,最高法发布2014年知识产权司法保护状况白皮书。据介绍,2014年,全国法院新收知识产权(民事、行政、刑事)一审案件116528件,比2013年上升15.6%。其中,知识产权行政一审案件增幅最为显著,达到243.66%。

最高人民法院副院长陶凯元指出,2014年,知识产权案件数量快速增长,尤其是涉及复杂技术事实认定和法律适用的新类型疑难复杂案件大量涌现。

External Link

The SPC Releases its Top Ten Intellectual Property Cases in 2014

最高人民法院公布2014年十大知识产权案件

14 April 2015

The SPC has released its top ten intellectual property cases in 2014: six civil, three administrative and one criminal.   Of these, the unfair competition case, Tencent v. Qihoo, and the ‘Daoxiangcun’ trade mark case are among the most important.

In August 2011, Tencent sued Qihoo in the Guangdong High People's Court, alleging that Qihoo had engaged in unfair competition.  The Court found in Tencent’s favour.  Qihoo appealed, unsuccessfully, to the Supreme People's Court.  Song Xiaoming, the President of the Supreme Court’s third law court, said that market operators need to be very careful when commenting on or criticising others for competitive purposes. The Supreme People's Court clarified the relationship between technological innovation, free competition and unfair competition in the context of internet activity.  The case should assist in the establishment of guidelines for orderly competition between internet related companies, and the optimization of market resources. 

The ‘Daoxiangcun’ administrative trade mark case involved Suzhou Daoxiangcun Food Industry Co.’s objection to a trade mark application lodged by Beijing Daoxiangcun Food Limited Liabilty Company for registration of a mark similar to one that had been used by Suzhou Daoxiangcun for a long time.  It was held that in order to determine deceptive similarity and the likelihood of confusion, account should be taken of the actual usage of the mark, the history of usage, the awareness of the relevant public, the intention of the user, and any other factors that will  enable a comprehensive assessment to be made.  The government should protect a stable and established market and prevent the adoption of deceptively similar marks.

最高人民法院今天公布的2014年全国法院十大知识产权案件中,民事、行政、刑事案件分别为6起、3起和1起。其中影响力较大的案件有腾讯诉奇虎不正当竞争案,稻香村商标争议纠纷等。 

2011年8月,腾讯以不正当竞争为由,向广东省高级人民法院起诉奇虎。广东高院一审认为,奇虎构成不正当竞争。奇虎不服,提起上诉。最高人民法院终审维持原判。最高法民事审判第三庭庭长宋晓明表示,经营者为竞争目的对他人进行商业评论或者批评,尤其要善尽谨慎注意义务。最高法在本案中明确了互联网市场领域技术创新、自由竞争和不正当竞争的关系,该案对相关互联网企业之间开展有序竞争、促进市场资源优化配置具有里程碑意义。

“稻香村”商标异议复审行政纠纷案涉及苏州稻香村食品工业有限公司与北京稻香村食品有限责任公司的商标之争。因历史原因,不同企业长期使用相近似的商标,在已客观形成市场格局的情况下,如其中一方另行申请构成要素相近似的商标,适用商标法进行商标近似判断时,除考虑标志本身的近似程度外,还应根据商标实际使用状况、使用历史、相关公众的认知状态、使用者的主观状态等因素,以混淆误认可能性为标准综合判定,注重维护已经形成和稳定的市场秩序,防止简单地把商标构成要素近似等同于商标近似。

External Link

The SPC Releases 2014 Annual Report on Intellectual Property Cases

最高法公布知识产权案件年度报告(2014年)

21 April 2015

In its Annual Report, the SPC selected 35 typical IP and competition cases and summarized 50 application-of-law issues that had arisen, and in relation to which general guidance had been provided.  The guidance relates to trial standards and methods, and the judicial handling of new, difficult and complex cases in the intellectual property and competition field.

The report contained the following statistics relating to cases dealt with by the SPC’s IP tribunal in 2014.

There were 481 new cases made up as follows:

  • 11 second instance cases, 51 arraignment cases, 393 retrial cases, six protested cases and 20 referral cases.
  • 192 patent cases, eight cases involving new plant varieties, 148 trade mark cases, 56 copyright  cases, three monopoly cases, nine trade secrets cases,16 unfair competition cases, 26 intellectual property contract cases and 23 cases of other types (mainly related to IPR trial management services).
  • 145 administrative cases in total, accounting for 30.15% of all new-received cases. Among these, there were 56 administrative patent cases (a decrease of 12.5%) and 89 administrative trade mark cases (an increase of 21.92%).  There were 336 civil cases, accounting for 69.85% of all new-received cases.

In addition to the new cases, there were 85 cases from previous years, which meant that, in total, the court dealt with 566 cases during the year.  Of these, 490 were concluded:  10 second instance cases; 51 arraignment cases; 402 applications for retrial; 21 referrals case and six protested cases.

知识产权案件年度报告报告从最高人民法院2014年审结的知识产权和竞争案件中精选了35件典型案件,归纳出50个具有普遍指导意义的法律适用问题,反映了最高人民法院在知识产权和竞争领域处理新型、疑难、复杂案件的审判标准、裁判方法和司法导向。

报告称,最高人民法院知识产权审判庭全年共新收各类知识产权案件481件。在新收案件中,按照案件审理程序划分,共有二审案件11件,提审案件51件,申请再审案件393件,抗诉案件6件,请示案件20件。按照案件所涉客体类型划分,共有专利案件192件,植物新品种案件8件,商标案件148件,著作权案件56件,垄断案件3件,商业秘密案件9件,其他不正当竞争案件16件,知识产权合同案件26件,其他案件23件(主要涉及知识产权审判管理事务)。按照案件性质划分,共有行政案件145件,占全部新收案件的30.15%,其中专利行政案件56件,商标行政案件89件,分别比2014年下降12.5%和上升21.92%;共有民事案件336件,占全部新收案件的69.85%。另有2013年旧存案件85件,2014年共有各类在审案件566件。全年共审结各类知识产权案件490件,其中二审案件10件,提审案件51件,申请再审案件402件,请示案件21件,抗诉案件6件。

External Link

SIPO Seeks Comments on Draft Amendments to the Patent Law of the People's Republic of China

国家知识产权局就《中华人民共和国专利法修改草案(征求意见稿)》公开征求意见

1 April 2015

The draft amendments consist of nine chapters and 86 articles:  30 articles of the existing Law have been amended substantially; 18 have been revised; one has been deleted and 11 new articles have been added.  A new chapter ‘Implementation and Application of Patent’ has also been added.

The main amendments, which are summarized below:

(a) provide better patent protection to safeguard the legitimate interests of rights holders;

(b) promote the implementation and use of patents to realize their value;

(c) achieve the statutory functions of government and building a service-oriented government.

(d) improve patent examination system and patent quality; and

(e) improve the legal regulation of patent agents and promoting the healthy development of IP services.

该征求意见稿共9章86条,涉及实质性修改的条文共30条,其中对现有条文修改18条,新增11条,删除1条,并新增“专利的实施和运用”一章。

其中涉及的主要内容包括:(一)加大专利保护力度,维护权利人合法权益。(二)促进专利的实施和运用,实现专利价值。(三)实现政府职能法定,建设服务型政府。(四)完善专利审查制度,提升专利质量。(五)完善专利代理法律制度,促进知识产权服务业健康发展。

External Link

NDRC fines Qualcomm 6.1 Billion Yuan (approx. US$975 million) – biggest fine yet for breach of China’s anti-monopoly laws 

发改委对高通罚款61亿元 成中国最大反垄断罚单

10 February 2015

China’s competition authority, the NDRC, has fined Qualcomm, one of the world’s largest chip manufacturers, 6.1 Billion Yuan (approx. US$975 million) and set the fees on which its technology may be licensed to smart phone manufacturers. This brings to an end the lengthy NDRC investigation that has been threatening Qualcomm’s future growth in the Chinese market. The fine is the biggest so far in the history of China's Anti-Monopoly laws. On Monday, Qualcomm issued a statement that it would not be opposing the NDRC decision.

Qualcomm’s technology is essential for mobile phone systems, and licensing of the technology responsible for most of Qualcomm’s profit.

The major terms of the Rectification Plan imposed by the NDRC are: licence fees for the patent relating to the relevant Qualcomm 3G and 4G technology  were set at 5% of 65% of the net selling price ; and for the patent relating to 4G equipment without CDMA and WCDMA (including Tri-mode LTE-TDD equipment), at 3.5%.

The NDRC decision means that Qualcomm must, in future, charge a lower royalty than previously.  Mobile phone manufacturers who had been delaying or underpaying royalties pending the outcome of the NDRC investigation will now pay at the lower rate. 

Microsoft and Symantec are also being targeted by the Chinese government's investigations.  This has increased concerns that the Government is using the investigations to boost domestic enterprises

中国国家发展和改革委员会(以下简称“发改委”)宣布对高通处以人民币60.88亿元罚款,并为智能手机厂商授权使用其技术设定了费率,从而终结了令高通在中国市场上的增长受到威胁的调查。此次处罚也成为迄今中国反垄断最大一笔罚款。

高通周一发表声明称,该公司并未对此判决提出异议。改正计划的主要条款包括:

对于中国市场销售的品牌设备中采用的、来自高通的与3G和4G技术有关的中国必要专利,高通对3G设备(包括3G/4G多模设备)将收取5%的授权费,对 不采用CDMA和WCDMA技术的4G设备(包括三模LTE-TDD设备)将收取3.5%的授权费。在这两种情况下,授权费的计算基础为设备净销售价格的65%。

这项交易令持续了一年多的相关调查得以尘埃落地,这项调查已令高通在中国市场上收取版权收入的能力受损,有些手机厂商推迟了支付版税的时间或少交版税。高通拥有对手机系统来说至关重要的基本技术,并通过将这些专利技术授权给手机厂商使用的方式获取利润,其大部分利润都来自于这项业务。

除高通以外,微软和赛门铁克也都是中国政府调查的目标,这增强了市场有关中国是否正在利用这种调查为本国企业提供支持的担忧情绪。

For more information, please click here

Case No.: CACV 191/2013 (On appeal from HCA No. 2210 of 2011)

Judgment (3 December 2014)

Between

TSIT WING (HONG KONG) COMPANY LIMITED (1ST Plaintiff) (“第一原告”)

TSIT WING INTERNATIONAL COMPANY LIMITED (2nd Plaintiff) (“第二原告”)

TSIT WING COFFEE COMPANY LIMITED (3rd Plaintiff) (“第三原告”)

TW CAFÉ LIMITED (4th Plaintiff) (“第四原告”)

(together "the Plaintiffs") (合稱“原告”)

TWG TEA COMPANY PTE LTD (1st Defendant) (“第一被告”)

TWG TEA (HK) COMPANY LTD (2nd Defendant) (“第二被告”)

(together, "the Defendants") (合稱“被告”)

The Plaintiffs belong to the Tsit Wing Group, which has carried on business in Hong Kong for many years as a wholesaler of coffee and tea products.  Over the years, the business has expanded to include the operation of coffee shops, the distribution of branded coffee and tea machines, and the supply of instant beverage products to supermarkets. In 2006, the second Plaintiff registered two marks, both containing the letters TWG, in relation to goods including coffee and tea and sugar (‘the Plaintiffs' Marks’).

The Defendants are part of Singapore-based The Wellness Group, which operates tea shops in Singapore and other countries.  In 2011, the Defendants opened a tea salon in Hong Kong adopting a cartouche mark, which uses "1837 TWG TEA" in the middle, and a balloon mark with the words "TWG TEA" and "PARIS SINGAPORE TEA" (‘the Defendants' Marks’).  They adopted these marks with full knowledge of the Plaintiffs' Marks.

The Plaintiffs sued the Defendants for trade mark infringement and passing off.  A judgment was handed down in their favour in July 2013.   The Defendants appealed.   

The Defendants' Counsel asserted that although the Plaintiffs marks were registered without any colour limitation (being series marks consisting of coloured as well as black and white versions of the marks), they had always been used in a distinctive colour combination:  the three circles representing overlapping coffee beans were always depicted in yellow-brown-orange. In addition, the Plaintiffs' Marks were said to be often used together with the full English or Chinese name of the Plaintiffs --- Tsit Wing. As such, it was submitted that the Court should taken into account the actual use of the Plaintiffs' Marks in assessing the likelihood of confusion. 

The Court of Appeal rejected the Defendants' arguments as it disregarded the notional and fair use of the Plaintiffs' Marks.   The Court of Appeal held that there was a high degree of similarity between the Plaintiffs' Marks as registered and the Defendants' Marks and accordingly dismissed the appeal.  Amongst other relief granted, the Defendants were restrained from using the Marks on their tea salon and related businesses and ordered to pay costs on an indemnity basis.

原告屬於捷榮集團,在香港長時間經營咖啡和茶用品的批發業務。多年來,其業務擴展至銷售咖啡、分發品牌咖啡和茶機、以及供應速溶飲料產品予超市。 2006年,第二原告就包括咖啡、茶及糖等商品獲得兩個含有TWG標記的商標註冊(以下簡稱“原告商標”)。

被告屬於新加坡Wellness集團,在新加坡和其他國家經營茶館。 2011年,被告在香港開了一家茶室,並在充分知悉原告商標下,採用一個中間寫著“1837 TWG 茶”的渦卷裝飾標誌和一個寫著“TWG TEA”和“PARIS SINGAPORE TEA” 的氣球型標誌(以下簡稱“被告標誌”)。

原告以商標侵權和假冒對被告提出起訴,法庭在2013年7月判定原告勝訴。被告就此提出上訴。 

被告的律師聲稱,縱使原告商標於註冊上沒有顏色限制(其為包含彩色及黑白色版本的系列商標),原告商標一直使用具有顯著性的黃-棕-橙色組合以三個圓圈代表三個相互重疊的咖啡豆。此外,原告商標亦被指經常與原告的中英文名字 - 捷榮一併使用。因此,被告律師認為,法院應考慮原告商標的實際使用以評估商標混淆的可能性。

上訴法院考慮到被告忽視了原告商標名義上及合理的使用,駁回了被告的論點。上訴法院認為被告標誌與原告商標極度相似並據此駁回上訴。除其他頒發的濟助外,被告被禁止於其茶室及相關業務使用被告標誌,並需以賠償基準支付原告的訴訟費。