News and Cases from China: April 2017
Huawei succeeds at First Instance in Patent Infringement action against Samsung - Court awards RMB 80 Million (approx. US$ 11.6 million) Compensation
A first instance judgment of the Quanzhou Intermediate People’s Court has held three Defendant Samsung companies liable for infringement of Huawei Terminal Co.’s invention patent. The Samsung companies are Samsung (China) Investment Co., Ltd, Huizhou Samsung, and Tianjin Samsung. The Court ordered the Defendants to cease the infringement immediately; to compensate Huawei, jointly, for economic loss in the sum of 80 million yuan; and to pay 500,000 yuan costs.
Online Shopping Assistant Site Ordered to Pay RMB2.2 Million (approx. US$318.500) to Tmall and Taobao in Unfair Competition Action.
In the first unfair competition case involving an online shopping assistant site, the People's Court of Pudong, Shanghai, found in favour of the Plaintiffs, Tmail and Taobao, and ordered the Defendant, Bang 5 Mai, to pay a total of RMB2.2 million (approx. US$318.500).
The Bang 5 Mai shopping assistant plug-in inserted Bang 5 Mai’s logos and other material into the Plaintiff’s website pages. Then, when the purchaser clicked through to the purchase page a discount link appeared and a click on that link took the purchaser to the Bang 5 Mai site. The Court held that this conduct violated the good faith principle and generally accepted business ethics current in the shopping aid field. Unfair competition was, therefore, established.
SAIC Vows to Push forward Reform of Corporate Name Registration Procedures
Issue Date：18 April, 2017
The system for registering corporate names in China has, in the past, been complex and onerous, with companies having no means of checking whether there are conflicting names on the register. Reform of the system, which began several years ago, continues with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce’s (SAIC) recent distribution of Opinions on Boosting Registration Efficiency and Actively Driving Ahead the Reform in Corporate Name Registration Administration (the Opinions).
The Opinions state that as of 1 October this year, corporate name banks of all levels, i.e. not just at the Provincial Level, will be opened up and a system for searching and comparing corporate names introduced –where such a system already exists, it will be improved. The applicant will be notified if the name being applied for:
(1) is Identical to a prior corporate name, and, therefore, unregistrable;
(2) contains some restricted words, in which case, the applicant will be informed of documents that must be provided to obtain authorisation of use of the name; or
(3) is similar to a prior corporate name: in this case, the applicant will receive a list of similar corporate names and be informed of potential risks, such as infringement or compulsory correction, if the name is adopted.
Further, the Opinions require local administrative departments to improve the mechanism for resolving conflicts between enterprise names, and registered, or unregistered but well-known, trademarks. Also, local authorities with legislative competence are being encouraged to eliminate the corporate name pre-registration approval process and establish a self-declaration policy, with responsibility to be borne by the enterprises themselves.
Trademark Office Announces the Additional Goods and Services that have been Accepted by the TM5 IP Offices
In order to further promote and facilitate trademark registration in China, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce Trademark Office has published a list of goods and services that, although not included in the Table for Differentiating Similar Goods and Services, have been jointly accepted by the TM5 (i.e. the Intellectual Property offices of China, the United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea). Applicants will now be able to register in relation to these goods and services in China.