News and Cases from China: June 2018
Trademark Dispute in relation to ‘The Brain Shows’ trademark
Recently, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court accepted two cases in relation to Changjiang Dragon New Media Co., Ltd’s applications to register ‘The Brain Shows’ trademark.
The application for registration in Class 41 was accepted; other applications filed by Changjiang Dragon were refused. Changjiang Dragon has appealed the refusal.
In relation to the Class 41 application, another company, EndemoiShine (Beijing) Co., Ltd, has filed invalidation proceedings, claiming that it had already used, and acquired a reputation in, ‘The Brain Shows’ trademark in relation to the production of radio and television programs. It claims that Changjiang Dragon’s application was made in bad faith. The Trademark Review Board concluded that EndemoiShine had prior rights in the mark in relation to those services. Changjiang was, however, entitled to registration in relation to the other services.
Both parties have appealed to the Beijing Intellectual Property Court. A decision is awaited.
Youku brings copyright infringement proceedings against broadcaster of two TV Series: Growling Tiger,Roaring Dragon and Operation Mekong
On 22 May, Youku brought copyright infringement proceedings against Beijing Jingjing Technology Co., Ltd.(Jingjing Technology) for broadcasting the TV series Growling Tiger, Roaring Dragon and Operation Mekong, on its Fantasy Video website without permission. Youku claimed RMB 9 million (approx. US$ 1,332,000)
Youku claimed to be the exclusive licensee of information network communication rights and exclusive broadcasting rights in the two TV series and that, because the Fantasy Video website is influential with a huge user base, the unauthorized broadcasting of the series had caused huge damage. Youku claimed compensation for economic losses and reasonable costs in the sum of RMB 8,000,000 (approx. US$ 1,184,000) and RMB 1,000,000 (approx. US$ 148,000) respectively. In total, the amount claimed is RMB 9,000,000 (approx. US$ 1,332,000).
The case is currently under further consideration in the Haidian District People's Court of Beijing.
Musician Lin Hai Sues HaiDiLao for Copyright Infringement
On1 June, the famous musician Lin Hai filed a lawsuit in the Haidian District People's Court in Beijing, claiming that HaiDiLao Company had maliciously infringed copyright in his musical works. Lin Hai claimed copyright in musical works including, but not limited to, A Journey into History, The Word of Pipa and Songs. He claimed that HaiDiLao had used his works without authorization as background music, playing them continuously in its stores. This amounted to a serious infringement of his copyright including his rights of authorship, reproduction and performance.
HaiDiLao Company responded on 13 June, stating that it had previously signed a Licence Agreement with Lin Hai, pursuant to which it had been granted the right to use the works from 19 November, 2015 to 18 November, 2017. It had failed to complete a renewal after expiration of the agreement, but continued using the works. It had, however, now stopped playing Lin Hai’s music and was willing to accept its legal responsibilities. The case is still in the process of trial.
SIPO Suspends and Adjusts certain Patent Fees from 1 August
On 20 June, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) issued its Announcement on the Suspended Collection and Adjustment of Some Patent Charges (Announcement), effective from 1 August, 2018.
The Announcement provides:
- SIPO will stop the collection of: (1) some domestic patent fees, e.g.. patent registration fees, certain alteration and printing fees; and (2) the transfer fee (international phase part) in PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) patent applications, except for charges due before 31 July, 2018 (inclusive).
- For patent applicants or owners who satisfy the ‘Measures for the Reduction of Patent Fees’, the period of reduced or deferred patent annuity payments will be extended from the current six years from grant to ten years from grant. Patents in relation to which an annuity fee reduction has been approved before 31 July 2018 shall be dealt with as follows: for patents that have been granted for less than six years, the period of reduced or deferred payments shall be extended to the tenth year; for patents that have been granted for seven to nine years, the reduced fees shall apply until the end of the tenth year.
3. If an applicant for an invention patent proactively withdraws his application after it has entered the substantive examination stage, but before expiry of the period for the first notice of examination, he will, provided the examination opinion has not yet issued, be entitled to a refund of 50% of the substantive examination fee.