News and Cases from China: June 2017

Chinese author Jiangnan succeeds in App Store Copyright Infringement action

Issuance Date: 08 June, 2017

Dongcheng District People’s Court has ordered Apple to compensate Jiangnan, the Plaintiff, in the sum of RMB 238,000 (approx. US$ 35,000).

The Court held that Apple was responsible for content uploaded to its app platform.  Although its control went way beyond that of a mere storage service provider, it had failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that material was not infringing.

 

江南诉苹果商店App版权侵权

因苹果公司对App Store中侵犯江南多部作品的应用程序没有尽到合理注意义务,东城法院判令其赔偿江南经济损失等共计23.8万余元,法院认为苹果公司应当知晓涉案应用程序为未经许可提供的情况下,未采取合理措施,具有主观过错,最终参照国家有关稿酬的规定,综合确定赔偿损失数额

 

Tencent Recovers 139 Domain Names

Issuance Date: 06 June, 2017

In April 2017, the Hong Kong Secretariat Expert Panel of the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre decided that Zhou, the Respondent in various domain name disputes with Tencent, should transfer all 139 disputed domain names to Tencent. The case involved three key issues: whether the disputed domain names were the same as or similar to Tencent's trademarks; whether the Respondent had any right or legitimate interest in the disputed domain names; and whether the Respondent had maliciously registered and used the disputed domain names.

In 2015 and 2016 the Respondent registered domain names (including tencentapp.com、wechatiot.cn、qqfamily.com.cn) that were similar to various Tencent registered trade marks, including TENCENT WECHAT and QQ. The Respondent was not using the domain names, but offering to sell them to the public online. Further, it had registered more than 2,300 domain names, many of them containing registered trademarks.

         

腾讯拿回139个域名

2017年4月,亚洲域名争议解决中心香港秘书处专家组裁定将全部139个争议域名转移给腾讯公司,该争议涉及三个焦点问题:争议域名是否与腾讯公司商标相同或混淆性近似, 被投诉人是否对争议域名不享有权利或合法利益以及被投诉人是否恶意注册和使用争议域名。被投诉人并没有投入实际使用,而是将部分争议域名置于网上公开出售,且在多个出售页面上提及“腾讯”、“微信”或“QQ”。此外,被投诉人共计注册了超过2300个域名,其中众多域名包含了他人注册商标。在上述三个要件均满足的情况下,最后获得专家组的认同。

 

‘Lao Gan Ma’: product description or trademark?

Issuance Date: 14 June, 2017

The Plaintiff, Guiyang Laoganma Co., Ltd, registered the trade mark ‘Lao Gan Ma’ in relation to chili sauces and other related products in Class 30.  Since 2011, the mark has been recognized as a well-known trade mark.  When Guizhou Yonghong Co., Ltd began using Chinese characters representing “Flavour of Lao Gan Ma”, on its beef jerky products, Laoganma commenced trade mark infringement proceedings in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court (BIPC).

The Defendant argued that it had merely used the Chinese characters ‘Lao Gan Ma’ on its packaging to indicate the flavour of the product.  The Court held, however, that the mark served to indicate the origin of the goods.  The Defendant had, without the authority of the Plaintiff, used the mark as a trade mark and thus infringed the Plaintiff’s registered mark. The use in question did not constitute fair use:  customers would be likely to associate the Defendant’s goods with the Plaintiff. The Court ordered the Defendant to pay RMB 274,500 (approx. US$ 40,500) to the Plaintiff and issued an injunction to prohibit further infringement.

Both parties appealed to the Beijing High People’s Court, which upheld the BIPC decision, apart from the level of compensation, which it reduced to RMB 175,000 (approx. US$ 26,000).

 

“老干妈”是口味标识还是商标使用?

因贵州永红公司侵权行为,北京知识产权法院判决贵州永红公司停止侵权行为,并赔偿贵阳老干妈公司经济损失及合理费用27.45万元。法院认为,将“老干妈”字样标注在涉案商品包装上的行为,客观上起到了识别商品来源的功能,系商标使用行为。被诉侵权行为易引起消费者将涉案商品与贵阳老干妈公司之间搭建不恰当的联系,将涉案商标所享有的优良商誉投射到涉案商品上,不属于合理使用范畴,故构成侵权。双方均向北京市高级人民法院提出上诉,北京高院变更一审判赔额为17.5万元。

 

Baidu wins Patent Battle against Tencent

Baidu Online Network Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. sought to invalidate an invention patent for a “picture input method and device”, owned by Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. On 16 June 2017, in accordance with Article 22(3) and 46(1) of the Patent Law, the Patent Reexamination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office declared the disputed patent invalid.

The main points relied on by the Board, one procedural and one substantive, were as follows.

The procedural issue related to the admissibility of certain evidence. The notarizations had been effected in Hong Kong by an attesting officer who was also a legal adviser at the law firm representing the Applicant. Chinese notarisation laws and regulations provide that an attesting officer cannot act in matters related to his own issues, or issues that involve the law firm of which he is a partner, but clients’ affairs are an exception. The Board found that in this case the disputed evidence fell into the category of the client’s affairs and the evidence was, therefore, admissible

The substantive issue concerned novelty. If the patent in question has features that are distinctive when compared with the most similar existing technology, but nevertheless fall into the area of common knowledge, the subject matter cannot be considered innovative.  

 

「百度」VS「腾讯」

北京百度网讯科技有限公司就腾讯科技(深圳)有限公司拥有的“一种支持图片输入的方法和设备”发明专利提出无效宣告请求。国家知识产权局专利复审委员会于2017年6月16日,依据专利法第22条第3款,第46条第1款,决定宣告专利权全部无效。要点如下:

 在香港公证认证的公证书,对于其涉及的事务是否属于相关法律法规规定的当事人的客户事务,应从公证书公证的实际内容、目的等方面进行考虑,不仅能从委托人或委托公证人的身份进行判断:另外,相关规定明确委托公证人可以为其本人的客户事务或作为合伙人之律师行的客户事务办理公证时,可以确定委托公证人为其律师事务所的客户事务进行的公证具有合法性。

 如果一项权利要求与最接近的现有技术存在区别技术特征,但该区别技术特征属于本领域公知常识,则该权利要求相对于该最接近的现有技术与本领域公知常识的结合不具备创造性。