Mr A, who owned a utility model patent in China, granted an exclusive licence to Company B to use the patent. A and B discovered that Company C was manufacturing and selling products that allegedly infringed the patent. They sued C, demanding that the defendant cease the infringement and pay damages. The court rejected the claim and the plaintiffs appealed. The appellate court held that infringement had been committed and awarded the plaintiffs Rmb300,000 in damages. C applied to the Supreme People's Court for a retrial.

C claimed that the second instance judgment was based on a misapplication of Article 56 of the Patent Law, which concerns the scope of protection for a patent. C maintained that such protection should be determined only on the basis of the text in the applicant's claims, and that the interpretation of the claims should not be extended on the basis of the patent description and any attached drawings.

A and B argued that Article 56 provides that the scope of protection for a patent is based primarily on claims, but that such claims must be interpreted in combination with the patent description. The description and attached drawings were necessary references for a correct understanding of the claims, which would be baseless without them. The court agreed with A and B, dismissing C's application on September 7 2010.

For further information on this topic please contact Yin Xintian or Yang Ying at Wan Hui Da Law Firm & Intellectual Property Agency by telephone (+86 10 6892 1000), fax (+86 10 6894 8030) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]).