A round-up of Laws and Regulations and cases in China.

Laws & Regulations

SPC Issues Implementing Rules in relation to its Model Case Guidelines 

《最高人民法院关于案例指导工作的规定》实施细则

1 July 2015

The Rules clarify the guidelines and use of model cases previously issued by the SPC.  Special attention should be paid to articles IX to XII.

Article IX. If a case heard by any level of the SPC is similar, in terms of background or application of law, to one of the model cases, the Court should make its decision by reference to the ruling points of the model cases.

Article X.  When any level of the SPC decides a case that is similar to a model case, it should cite the model case in its judicial reasons, but not as the basis of its judgment.

Article XI. Court personnel handling the case should check the relevant model case. Where a model case is cited in a judgment, the case reference number and ruling points of the model case should be indicated.   

In response to arguments of prosecutors, litigious parties, defenders and litigious agents, the judges should refer to the model cases.

Article XII.  In the following circumstances, the model cases will no longer have a guiding role: (a) where they are inconsistent with a new Law, Regulation or judicial interpretation; or (b) have been replaced by new model cases.

《实施细则》就参照适用指导性案例的规定进行了细化,统一了法律适用标准,值得重点关注的是第九条至十二条。

第九条各级人民法院正在审理的案件,在基本案情和法律适用方面,与最高人民法院发布的指导性案例相类似的,应当参照相关指导性案例的裁判要点作出裁判。

第十条各级人民法院审理类似案件参照指导性案例的,应当将指导性案例作为裁判理由引述,但不作为裁判依据引用。

第十一条在办理案件过程中,案件承办人员应当查询相关指导性案例。在裁判文书中引述相关指导性案例的,应在裁判理由部分引述指导性案例的编号和裁判要点。

公诉机关、案件当事人及其辩护人、诉讼代理人引述指导性案例作为控(诉)辩理由的,案件承办人员应当在裁判理由中回应是否参照了该指导性案例并说明理由。

第十二条指导性案例有下列情形之一的,不再具有指导作用:

(一)与新的法律、行政法规或者司法解释相冲突的;

(二)为新的指导性案例所取代的;

For more information, please click here.

Cases 

XCMG succeeds in unfair competition action

徐工集团起诉同行“反向假冒

8 July 2015

At the International Construction Machinery Exhibition held in Shanghai Pudong in November 2012, XCMG found that the Defendant was displaying one of XCMG's machines, with the trade mark changed to the trade mark of the Qingzhou loader factory.

XCMG commenced trade mark infringement and unfair competition proceedings, requesting the Defendant to publish an apology in the magazine "Machinery", pay compensation of 1 million Yuan (approx. US$160,000), and 100 Thousand Yuan (approx. US$16,000) costs.

During the trial, the Defendant admitted the infringement, but claimed that it had thought its action was merely business advertisement not unfair competition. It argued that its action had not caused economic loss or damage to XCMG and that, therefore, there was no factual or legal basis for the compensation requested.

The Court held that Qingzhou’s actions went against the principles of honesty and fair competition and disrupted the order of fair competition.  They constituted false advertising and unfair competition.

The Court ordered the Defendant to publish the requested apology and pay 150,000 and 20,000 Yuan respectively (approx. US$25,000 and 3,000) for economic loss and litigation costs.

2012年11月在上海浦东召开的国际工程机械展会上,原告徐工集团发现被告青州装载机厂擅自将徐工集团一台平地机商标涂改为青州装载机厂标识并展出。

原告徐工集团以青州装载机厂构成反向假冒的商标侵权及不正当竞争为由向法院起诉,请求判令被告在《工程机械》上刊文消除影响,赔偿100万元并承担合理费用10万元。

在审理中,被告承认了侵权事实,但认为其仅是商业宣传,不构成不正当竞争。侵权行为未对徐工集团造成经济损失,徐工集团索要赔偿没有事实和法律依据。

法院认为,青州装载机厂不具有生产被涂改产品的能力,通过购买徐工产品再销售也不能获利,展品中的徐工标识也没有全部涂改,其在展会中只是利用徐工集团优良的商品作为自己的商品样品进行广告宣传,使消费者误认为其能生产该高品质的产品,而非将更换后的商品投入市场销售,故不构成反向假冒的商标侵权. 但这种行为违背了诚实守信、公平竞争的原则,扰乱了公平竞争秩序,构成虚假宣传的不正当竞争。

法院一审判令被告在《工程机械》上刊登声明,消除影响,赔偿原告经济损失15万元,合理费用2万元。

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Use of deceptively similar 'Paired Tiger' packaging held to constitute unfair competition 

 “双虎”擅用“虎头”特有包装构成不正当竞争

7 July 2015

The Guangzhou ‘Tiger Head’ battery and red-yellow packaging was created many years ago and registered in 1964. In 1999,the ‘Tiger Head’ word mark was recognized as a well-known trade mark in China and in 2006, ownership of the word mark and its packaging were transferred to Guangdong Light Industry Group.

In April 2011, Guangdong Light Industry Group and Tiger Head Company found that a 'Paired Tiger' brand battery, very similar to the ‘Tiger Head’ battery, was being exhibited and sold by Huatai Company at the Canton Fair. They commenced a civil action before the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court, requesting Huatai to stop the infringement and pay compensation of  2 million Yuan (approx. US$320,000).

The first instance court found that the ‘tiger’ brand battery was a well-known commodity which, given the long-term use of the red and yellow packaging and the distinctiveness of the trade mark, could easily be distinguished from other similar products.  Huatai had engaged in unfair competition. The Court ordered it to stop the infringement and pay compensation of 0.4 million Yuan.

Huatai appealed to the Guangdong High Court.

The Guangdong High People's Court held that, although 'Tiger Head' batteries had largely been exported, they had also been exhibited in past Canton Fairs and many sales had taken place in China. In addition, the target audience of paper media advertisements included domestic consumers, so the batteries were well known in China. Further, long use of the red-yellow packaging had resulted in it acquiring a strong distinctiveness. Huatai's use of similar packaging was likely to mislead the public to believe that the infringing products came from Tiger Head or that they were licensed from, or otherwise related to, Tiger Head. Huatai’s acts, therefore, constituted unfair competition.

The High People's Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the original judgment.

广州“虎头”牌电池及其“红黄色”的包装装潢始创于解放前,并注册于1964年。1999年,“虎头”商标被评为中国驰名商标。2006年,广州轻工集团受让获得“虎头”牌商标及“红黄色”商标装潢。2011年4月,广州轻工集团和虎头公司发现在广交会上,华太公司展销的“双虎”牌电池包装装潢与其生产的“虎头”牌电池包装装潢极为相似,遂向广州市中级人民法院提起诉讼,请求判令华太公司停止侵权并赔偿损失200万元。

Click here to view image.

一审法院认为,涉案的“虎头”牌电池为知名商品,其“红黄色”包装装潢与“虎头”商标长期结合使用,已经具有区别商品来源的显著特征,为该商品特有包装装潢,故华太公司构成不正当竞争。法院判决“双虎”牌电池停止使用与“虎头”牌电池相近似的包装装潢,赔偿广州轻工集团和虎头公司经济损失40万元。华太公司不服一审判决,向广东高院提起上诉。

广东高院认为,“虎头”牌电池虽然主要为出口产品,但“虎头”在历届广交会上均有出展,大量销售行为发生在境内,在报刊上宣传受众包括国内公众,在中国境内具有一定的市场知名度。“虎头”牌电池经过长期使用,为相关公众普遍知悉,故“虎头”牌电池属于知名商品。“虎头”牌电池至少从上个世纪90年代起就已开始沿用其红黄包装装潢。另外,作为包装装潢组成部分的“虎头”牌商标具有较高知名度,商标与红黄色图案紧密结合,长期使用,使包装装潢具有较强的识别性和显著性。故认定“虎头”牌电池红黄包装装潢构成特有包装装潢。华太公司“双虎”牌电池采用与“虎头”牌电池近似的包装装潢,使得相关公众容易对商品的来源产生误认,或者误认为两者具有许可使用、关联关系等特定联系,其行为已构成不正当竞争。

据此,广东高院终审判决驳回华太电池公司的上诉,维持原判。

For more information, please click here.

Golden Monkey Food Penalized 1.9 Million RMB (approx. US$305,000) for Infringing Ferrero's3D Trade Mark

金丝猴仿费列罗立体商标被罚190万

14 May 2015

Shanghai AIC revealed yesterday that the Shanghai Golden Monkey Food Group had, without authority, imitated Ferrero's 3D trade mark, thereby infringing Ferrero’s trade mark. The infringing goods were confiscated and Golden Monkey was ordered to pay compensation of 1.9 Million RMB (approx.US$305,000). Reportedly, this is the first case that the Shanghai AIC has considered involving 3D trade mark infringement, and the largest penalty it has imposed for trade mark infringement.

The Defendant manufactured and sold Qiaofei hazelnut chocolate from November 2013 to June in 2014. The overall appearance, three-dimensional shape and combination of colours of the infringing chocolates were similar to the 3D mark (G783985) registered by Ferrero in China. The Defendant had sold 22,667 boxes of infringing chocolate with an overall illegal turnover of 430,4166.34 Yuan. Shanghai Pudong New District Market Supervision Administration ordered the Defendant, pursuant to Section 2, Article 60 of the Trade Mark Law, to stop the infringement

上海工商昨天披露,上海金丝猴食品股份有限公司未经意大利费列罗有限公司许可,擅自仿冒其立体注册商标,被责令立即停止侵权行为,没收侵权商品并罚款1936874.85元。据悉,这是上海告破的首例立体商标侵权案,也是沪上近年来行政处罚金额最高的商标侵权案件。

所谓立体商标,又叫三维商标,是以立体标志、商品整外型或商品的实体包装物等以立体形象呈现的商标。比较知名的立体商标有劳斯莱斯车头的飞翔女神、酒鬼酒的酒瓶、麦当劳线条非常圆滑的大M等。

当事人自2013年11月始至2014年6月,生产销售巧斐罗榛果威化巧克力。单粒巧斐罗榛果威化巧克力的整体结构、立体形状、颜色组合与意大利费列罗有限公司在中国注册的第G783985号立体商标近似。意大利费列罗有限公司从未授权当事人使用上述注册商标。至案发,金丝猴公司共销售侵权巧克力22667箱,尚有库存23箱,非法经营额共计4304166.34元。依据《中华人民共和国商标法》第六十条第二款之规定,上海市浦东新区市场监督管理局决定责令当事人停止侵权行为,并从轻处罚如下:1、没收产品;2、罚款。

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New Balance Ordered to Pay 98 Million RMB (approx. US$16 million) damages for trade mark infringement

侵权“新百伦” 被判9800万元高额罚款

8 May 2015

The Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court gave a first instance judgment in the ‘New Balance’ trade mark infringement case. New Balance Trading (China) Co., Ltd (the Defendant), China affiliate of the well-known US shoe manufacturer New Balance, was ordered to pay 98 million RMB in damages. This is the largest amount of damages that Guangzhou Intermediate people's Court has ever awarded.

The Defendant, New Balance Trading, had chosen to use the name Xin Bai Lun in China (Xin translating as ‘new’ and Bai Lun being a rough transliteration of ‘balance’). It found, however, that the mark ‘Xin Bailun’ had been registered by the Plaintiff, a Chinese citizen, in relation to shoes, and  sought, unsuccessfully, to cancel the registration.

The Plaintiff brought trade mark infringement proceedings, arguing that the Defendant’s use of its ‘Xin Bailun’  trade mark had misled a large number of consumers and operators to believe that he was somehow connected with New Balance. New Balance argued that it was using its own name and that its act, therefore, constituted fair use. The Court found that, although the Defendant had not used the mark directly on products, only on its official website, product manuals, advertising and other sales activities, it had infringed the Plaintiff’s trade mark.

When determining the amount of damages, the Court took a variety of factors into consideration: a) being part of an international corporation , New Balance Trading bore a greater duty of care; b) it had violated the principle of good faith because it was aware of the Plaintiff’s rights, having unsuccessfully challenged the registration; c) it  had used the trade mark extensively in promotional activities and on physical stores and online shops and, as a result had misled consumers; d) the audit showed that the company’s profits had by far exceeded the ceiling of statutory damages. The Court therefore decided to award damages of 98 million RMB, nearly half the profits gained by the Defendant while infringing the trade mark.

It is not clear whether the Defendant will appeal.

广州中院就美国运动品牌“NewBalance”在国内市场遭遇商标侵权诉讼24日作出一审判决,美国NewBalance公司在中国的关联公司——新百伦贸易(中国)有限公司因因构成对他人商标专用权的侵犯需赔偿对方9800万元。这是广州中院有史以来,判赔侵权额度最高的知产案件。

原告周某伦是 “新百伦”注册商标的专用权人。被告新百伦贸易(中国)有限公司在销售过程中,把“新百伦”作为商标标识使用,导致大量消费者和经营者误认为“新百伦”商标就是被告新百伦公司产品的中文商标,构成商标侵权。

广州中院认为,被告并未在产品上使用“新百伦”标志而仅仅在销售过程中使用,综合考虑原告主观恶意、混淆可能性等因素,酌情确定向原告赔偿其侵权期间获利总额的二分之一,即9800万元。目前尚不清楚被告是否会上诉。

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Pudong District Court finds Defendant’s use of Plaintiff’s product photo constitutes unfair competition 

浦东法院:网站使用他人产品照片虚假宣传构成不正当竞争

5 May 2015

The Pudong District Court held that the Defendant had engaged in unfair competition. Shanghai Peiner Smag Machinery Vs. Shanghai Eumess Machinery. 

Both the Defendant and the Plaintiff are engaged in the production and sale of marine equipment, including grab samplers.  The Defendant used a photograph of one of the Plaintiff’s grab samplers in its advertisements.  The Plaintiff brought an action for unfair competition.

The Court found that the website on which the advertisement appeared was, in fact, owned by the Defendant and that the photograph on the Defendant’s website was an altered version of the Plaintiff’s original photograph. The Defendant had, therefore, used the Plaintiff’s product photographs to advertise its own products. Such acts were likely to mislead the public to believe that the Plaintiff’s product had been produced by the Defendant, and potential consumers to believe that the Defendant had the capabilitity to manufacture the product in question. This would in turn increase the Defendant's competitive edge and be likely to deprive the Plaintiff of business opportunities. The Defendant's conduct, therefore, constituted unfair competition.

近日,浦东法院审结了上海佩纳沙士吉打机械有限公司诉上海豪鹰机械设备有限公司虚假宣传纠纷一案,最终判决被告行为构成不正当竞争。

原告认为被告在其网站上介绍其“船用液压抓斗”产品时使用了原告产品照片,构成虚假宣传,要求被告停止侵权、消除影响、赔偿经济损失及合理费用。

法院经审理后认为,原、被告均从事抓斗产品的生产销售业务,为同业竞争者。涉案网站虽未进行ICP备案,但万网的查询记录显示,涉案域名系由被告注册并所有,涉案网站上标注的企业名称、联系地址和方式也均为被告相关信息。网站的相关产品亦与被告主营产品有关,可确认涉案网站系由被告经营。且可以确认被告网站照片上存在的差异通过图片处理技术完全能够实现。故本院认定,被告网站上的照片来源于原告厂区内的产品。被告将原告厂区内的产品照片放置于自己的网站上,作为自己生产的产品介绍,易使相关公众将原告生产的产品误认为系被告生产的产品,客观上会造成有购买涉案产品需求的用户误以为被告具备生产该产品的能力,从而增加了被告在同业中的竞争优势,也使原告存在丧失交易机会的可能。故被告的行为属于虚假宣传,构成不正当竞争。

For more information, please click here.

SPC Releases 10th Batch of Model Cases Guiding Judicial Trials

最高人民法院关于发布第十批指导性案例的通知

1 May 2015

This time the SPC released eight model cases, including five IPR cases. Case No.48 concerns the determination of what constitutes technical protection measures for copyrighted software, while case No. 49 involves the determination of a Plaintiff's preliminary burden of proof. Release of these cases will provide important guidance to local courts

Case No.48:Computer Software Copyright Infringement Case - Beijing Jingdiao Co., Ltd. v. Shanghai Naiky Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. The Plaintiff claimed that it had independently developed the Jingdiao CNC engraving system, a technical means of preventing copyright infringement. In early 2006, it found the Defendant's illegal deciphering of Eng format encryption, development and sales of control system, that could read Eng format data files. It sought a Court Order restraining the defendant from further infringement and ordering it to pay compensation of CNY485,000. The Court ruled that the technological measures adopted by Jingdiao in this case were not designed to prevent the infringement of JDPaint.  The Defendant had not, therefore, sought to circumvent or sabotage technical means to protect copyright in computer software and had not infringed.

Case No.49:Computer Software Copyright Infringement Case - Shi Honglin v. Taizhou Huaren Electronic Information Co., Ltd. The Plaintiff, Shi Honglin, claimed that the Defendant (Huaren) had, without authority, reproduced, distributed and sold in large quantities software identical to its ‘Software V1.0 for Single-Chip Machine Controller System for S-Shape Wire Cut Machine’, seriously damaging Shi Honglin's legitimate rights and interests. Shi Honglin requested the Court to order Hauren to stop the infringement. The decision of the first instance court, rejecting the Plaintiff’s claims, was overturned on appeal. The appeal court ruled that: (1) Huaren immediately cease the production and sale of infringing products; (2) that it pay damages of CNY79,200; and (3) that all other claims of Shi Honglin be dismissed. Key points of the judgment: if design defects in both the plaintiff's and the defendant's software are substantially identical, and the defendant refuses to provide source or target programs for direct comparison without any justification, the court may rule, given the Plaintiff’s difficulty of proof, that the two pieces of software are substantially identical and that the defendant should bear liability for infringement.

最高院此次共发布了八个案例,其中五个涉及知识产权。第48号案例涉及软件著作权的技术保护措施的认定,第49号案例涉及软件侵权中原告初步举证责任完成的认定,对于指导相关的审判实践具有典型意义。

指导案例48号:北京精雕科技有限公司诉上海奈凯电子科技有限公司侵害计算机软件著作权纠纷案。原告诉称:原告自主开发了精雕CNC雕刻系统,发现被告非法破译系统Eng格式的加密措施,开发、销售能够读取Eng格式数据文件的数控系统。故请求法院判令被告立即停止支持精雕JDPaint各种版本输出Eng格式的数控系统的开发、销售及其他侵权行为,公开赔礼道歉,并赔偿损失485000元。法院生效裁判认为:精雕公司在本案中采取的技术措施,不是为保护JDPaint软件著作权而采取的技术措施,而是为获取著作权利益之外利益而采取的技术措施,不构成侵害计算机软件著作权, 判决驳回原告精雕公司的诉讼请求。

指导案例49号:石鸿林诉泰州华仁电子资讯有限公司侵害计算机软件著作权纠纷案。原告石鸿林诉称:被告未经许可,长期大量复制、发行、销售与石鸿林计算机软件“S型线切割机床单片机控制器系统软件V1.0”相同的软件,严重损害其合法权益。故诉请判令华仁公司停止侵权,公开赔礼道歉,并赔偿原告经济损失10万元、为制止侵权行为所支付的证据保全公证费、诉讼代理费9200元以及鉴定费用。一审法院判决:驳回原告石鸿林的诉讼请求。二审法院判决:一、撤销江苏省泰州市中级人民法院(2006)泰民三初字第2号民事判决;二、华仁公司立即停止生产、销售侵犯石鸿林S型线切割机床单片机控制器系统软件V1.0著作权的产品;三、华仁公司于本判决生效之日起10日内赔偿石鸿林经济损失79200元;四、驳回石鸿林的其他诉讼请求。裁判要点:原、被告软件在设计缺陷方面基本相同,而被告又无正当理由拒绝提供其软件源程序或者目标程序以供直接比对,则考虑到原告的客观举证难度,可以判定原、被告计算机软件构成实质性相同,由被告承担侵权责任。