News & Cases from China: January 2019
Trademark Office Shares Trademark Database Free of Charge
On 26 December 2018, the Trademark Office officially made available, free of charge, basic information relating to existing trademark applications and registrations. Registered users of the Trademark Office official website are now able to download, free of charge, basic information relating to about 35 million trademark applications and registrations. The data in the Trademark Office system will be updated regularly.
Beijing Internet Court: Short Video Capable of Copyright Protection
On 26 December 2018, the Beijing Internet Court handed down a ruling in its first case: a dispute between short video streaming platforms Douyin and Huopai in relation to information network transmission rights.
The Plaintiff, Douyin, claimed that its ‘Douyin video App’ was an original copyright work and that the Defendant Baidu had, without its permission, transmitted the work and provided download services via its ‘Huopai video’ platform. As a result, the Plaintiff had suffered huge economic loss. Douyin sued Baidu for copyright infringement.
The Court held that the short video involved constituted an original work for the purposes of the Copyright Law and was capable of copyright protection. The length of a video is not necessarily relevant to its level of creativity. Although the video in question was short, no more than 15-seconds, it was clearly an original work. The Court also said that Baidu, as a network service provider, had immediately deleted the short video involved on receipt of notice. It had not, therefore, infringed copyright.
Mediation in Trademark infringement and unfair competition action brought by Tsinghua University in relation to competing Online Courses
Tsinghua University brought an action for trademark infringement and unfair competition against the provider of online courses that were being promoted by reference to the word ‘Tsinghua’. Tsinghua University claimed that its trademark was being infringed and that the promotion was likely to cause confusion among the relevant public. Members of the public would be likely to believe that the online courses had a relationship with Tsinghua University.
On 9 January 2019, the Haidian District Court publicly heard the case and the parties agreed to mediation.
Shanghai Court first to use the 206 Artificial Intelligence Assisted Software System
On 23 January 2019, the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court used the Intelligence Assistance Case System for Criminal Cases, known as the 206 System. The System had previously been subjected to several trial runs, but this was the first time it had been formally used by a court
The 206 System relies on artificial intelligence voice recognition technology, which can convert voice into text. It is able to generate trial transcripts in real time, automatically identifying speakers e.g. parties, judges and prosecutors, and display relevant information on screen following verbal commands.
According to the Court, the 206 System greatly improves the efficiency of trials, helping Judges ascertain facts and identify appropriate evidence.