News and Cases from China: April 2018
Sogou Wins Patent Infringement Case against Baidu
In October 2015, Sogou initiated a series of actions against Baidu claiming infringement of its input method patents. Baidu in turn claimed that the patents were invalid. The dispute, which has lasted for more than two years, involved 17 patents, and claims for compensation of 260 million yuan (approx. US$40 million). The case has been described as China’s first patent case in the internet industry.
The Beijing Intellectual Property Court has ruled that Baidu infringed three of Sogou’s patents and ordered Baidu to immediately cease infringing.
Beijing Quanjingke Information Technology Co. Ltd awarded RMB 460,000 (approx. US$ 72,000) Compensation in China’s first VR copyright case
Beijing Quanjingke Information Technology Co., Ltd. (Quanjingke) brought a copyright infringement action against Tongchuang Lantian Investment Management (Beijing) Co., Ltd (Tongchunang). claiming it had used its VR panoramic photography without permission.. Tongchuang argued that, in relation to many of the photographs, Quanjingke had not established copyright ownership and that, in any event, there had been no infringement. It had made it clear to users that they must obey copyright law and had taken the works down as soon as it received notice of infringement. Further, it had not received any benefit from the users’ use of the works.
The Court held that the Plaintiff had established copyright ownership. The Defendant had not provided the relevant copyright information on the front page of its website; in fact, its legal notice stated that it had rights in all content on the website. The Court held that the Defendant had infringed and ordered it to compensate the Plaintiff for economic loss in the sum of 462,000 yuan (approx. US$72,500) and reasonable expenses of 32,500 yuan (approx. US$ 5,000).
JianNanChun Wins Trademark Case at Second Instance
The Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court has affirmed the first instance decision in a trademark infringement action brought by Sichuan Mianzhu Jiannanchun Winery co., LTD. (Jiannanchun) against Guangzhou Zengcheng Yinjie store (Yinjie) and the store operator, Yin. The court of first instance had held that the "Jian Nan Chun luzhou-flavour liquor" products sold by Yinjie infringed Iiannanchun’s trademark rights in the mark ‘Jianzhi’ rendered in Chinese characters, and ordered Yinjie to pay compensation of RMB 40,000 yuan (approx. US$ 6,500).
In December 2015, the enforcement authority seized 12 bottles of counterfeit wine named ‘Jian Nan Chun luzhou-flavor liquor’ from Yinjie. Jiannanchu brought trademark infringement proceedings before the People's Court of Guangzhou Huangpu District, seeking compensation of RMB 110,000 yuan (approx. US$167,500).
The Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court upheld the decision that Yinjie’s product infringed the exclusive right in Jiannanchun’s trademark and affirmed the compensation that had been awarded by the court of first instance i.e. 40,000 yuan (approx.. US$ 6,500). .
China’s First Standard Essential Patent Case – Sony held to infringe IWNComm’s patent
On 28 March, the Beijing Higher Court rejected Sony’s appeal and upheld the decision of the Beijing Intellectual Property Court in the patent infringement case between IWNComm and Sony.
In July 2015, IWNComm brought a patent infringement action against Sony Corp. in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, claiming infringement of its SEP, and compensation of RMB 33.36 million (approx. US$ 5.2 million). Sony applied unsuccessfully to invalidate the SEP. The Beijing Intellectual Property Court found that Sony had infringed and ordered it to pay compensation of more than 9.1 million yuan (approx. US$ 1.5million).
Sony then appealed to the Beijing Higher People’s Court. The Court held that Sony had made use of the patented invention without permission, at least in the design, research and development, or sample test phases. Thus, the Higher Court rejected Sony’s appeal and upheld the decision of the Beijing Intellectual Property Court .