On 22 February 2022, the Intellectual Property Court of the Supreme People's Court of China (SPC IPC) invalidated a mediation agreement, ruling that it constituted a horizontal monopoly agreement, which is prohibited under paragraph 13(1) of the Antimonopoly Law (AML). In the case at hand, Shanghai Huaming Power Equipment filed a suit against Wuhan Taipu Transformer Changer over alleged monopolistic behaviour. Huaming initially sued Taipu before the Wuhan Intermediate People's Court in May 2019, claiming that a mediation agreement it reached with Taipu was invalid as it constituted a monopoly agreement under the AML. The court of first instance dismissed all of Huaming's claims, ruling that the mediation agreement is not in violation of the AML and should not be considered as a monopoly agreement.
Huaming challenged the decision before the SPC IPC, requesting that the lower court's decision be set aside, and its original claims be supported. After trial, the SPC IPC held that the mediation agreement is invalid since it violated the mandatory provisions of the AML by constituting a horizontal monopoly agreement. Accordingly, the SPC IPC decided to:
- revoke the first-instance judgment;
- invalidate the entire mediation agreement between Taipu and Huaming;
- order Taipu to compensate Huaming 100,000 yuan (approximately $15,000) in reasonable expenses; and
- reject Huaming's other claims.
For further information on this topic please contact Hao Zhan or Ying Song at AnJie Law Firm by telephone (+86 10 8567 5988) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The AnJie Law Firm website can be accessed at www.anjielaw.com.