News and Cases from China: March 2017
SIPO: Important Amendments to Patent Examination Guidelines Came into Effect on 1 April
Issue Date: 2 March, 2017
The main amendments to the Guidelines are as follows:
- The section relating to unpatentable objects has been amended to provide that business models containing technical characteristics are not excluded from patentability;
- The section relating to sufficient disclosure of chemical inventions now provides that experimental data submitted after the filing date shall be considered.
- The section relating to amendment of the patent document in invalidation proceedings now permits both amendments that limit the scope of protection and amendments that correct obvious errors in the claims
- The scope of documents accessible to the public has been broadened to include notifications, reports and decisions issued during examination as well as priority documents and search reports after grant.
- The section relating to the suspension of procedures, which is currently limited to six months, has been amended to conform with the new Civil Procedure Law: the Patent Office shall suspend procedures for the period indicated in a civil property preservation order.
Beijing Court finds against Sony in patent infringement action - damages award of RMB 9.1 Million (approx. US$1.3 million)
Issue date: 23 Mar, 2017
The Beijing Intellectual Property Court (BIPC) has ruled that Sony Mobile Communications (China) Co. Ltd. (Sony) infringed Xidian Jietong’s patent, and awarded over 9.1 million RMB compensation for the plaintiff’s losses.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2015 by Xidian Jietong, a wireless network communications company in Xi'an, northwest China, accused of infringing its standard-essential patent (SEP) relating to WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI). Because Sony had failed to provide the required testing documents, the BIPC found that the alleged infringement had been established.
Alibaba Filed a Lawsuit against a Seller of Counterfeits and Claimed RMB 2.67 Million
Issue date: 23 Mar, 2017
Recently, Alibaba (China’s largest E-Commerce Company) filed a lawsuit with the Shanghai Fengxian District People's Court, in relation to the alleged sale of counterfeit Mars branded cat food. Alibaba is claiming damages of 2.67 million RMB and seeking a public apology from the Defendant,Yao.
Yao has been selling pet food on Taobao.com since 2015. Alibaba and Mars provided evidence of the illegal sales to the Baoshan branch of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, which arrested Yao immediately. The police initialled the investigation; Alibaba then filed a civil lawsuit.
Alibaba said that it discovered 4,495 instances of the manufacture and sale of fakes in 2016 alone, each one exceeding the threshold (RMB 50,000) stipulated by Criminal Law. So far, according to public information, criminal action has been successfully taken in only 33 cases, i.e. less than 1%.
Amendment of Patent Law Included in Legislation Plan for 2017
Issue date: 21 Mar, 2017
According to the 2017 Legislation Plan, legislative projects will include a revised draft Patent Law and revised rules on patent commissioning.
The Patent Law came into force on 1 April, 1985, and has been amended three times since. On 2 December 2016, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council promulgated the "Draft Amendment to the Patent Law" and its interpretation, containing substantive amendments to 33 provisions, and an additional chapter named "The Implementation and use of Patents".
The Rules on Patent Commissioning (the Rules) originally came into force on 1 April 1991. On 11 February 2011, the State Council Legislative Affairs Office issued a Draft Amendment to the Rules, asking for public comments. So far, the revised "Rules on Patent Commissioning" has not been introduced.