Background

Jiang Lan is the patentee of the design patent – “handset protection cover packaging box 001” (No.: ZL201430189441.1). Jiang Lan deemed that Guangzhou Galilio Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. manufactured, sold and offered for sale on a large scale the products infringing upon her patent right without her authorization, and filed a lawsuit requesting the court to judge that Guangzhou Galilio Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. stop its infringement and compensate her economic losses and reasonable expenses for stopping the infringement totaling RMB200,000. Guangzhou Galilio Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. argued that it had made, sold and released its products before Jiang Lan applied for the patent concerned, and claimed its prior use as defense.

Judgment

The court held that the electronic evidences shall be determined in combination with the authenticity and reliability of the evidences. To prove that it had made the identical products before the application date of the claimed design patent, the defendant submitted the QQ space photo album on its computer, MMS and WeChat pictures in its mobile phone. The above electronic pictures are stored in the servers of Tencent and China Mobile, which are two popular Internet service providers in China. The network systems of the two companies are stable, the uploading time of documents is automatically generated by the systems, and the users cannot edit and modify the time and the pictures uploaded to the servers, so they are highly reliable. Meanwhile, the collection progress of the above electronic evidence has been notarized by the notarial office, so the form of the evidences is legal. Under the circumstance that there are no contrary evidences, the court accepted the above evidences. The Defendant’s prior use defense was established, the design of the accused products did not constitute an infringement upon the granted patent, and the Plaintiff’s lawsuit request could not be established legally and was therefore rejected by the court.

Significance

Since the electronic evidences are virtual and can be cryptically altered, their adoption shall be considered from several aspects. The court adopted such evidences on the basis of comprehensively reviewing their collection mode, network service providers and their system stability, possibility of data modification, and data reliability. This case has certain reference significance to recognition and adoption of the electronic evidences in the era of internet

Source: http://www.sipo.gov.cn/mtjj/2016/201603/t20160321_1253692.html