News & Cases from China: September 2019

江西网络广播电视台诉喜马拉雅公司侵犯其信息网络传播权 获赔40

江西网络广播电视台(下称江西广电)诉称,其发现在由上海证大喜马拉雅网络科技有限公司(下称喜马拉雅公司)运营的“喜马拉雅FM”首页上的搜索栏内输入涉案节目名称(《金牌调解》《经典传奇》《深度观察》等),可对专辑内的音频随机进行点选播放及下载,且涉案节目达一万余期。江西广电认为喜马拉雅公司侵犯其信息网络传播权,将喜马拉雅公司诉至南昌铁路运输中级法院。

南昌铁路运输中级法院经审理认为,喜马拉雅公司作为一家专门从事音频类内容服务的网站,其承担的注意义务应当与其具体服务可能带来的侵权风险相对应。喜马拉雅公司的网站具有初步审查机制,其在日常网站的维护中应当知晓涉案节目系江西广播电视台的节目,在具备合理理由知晓侵权行为存在的情况下,仍对涉案节目进行播放,且长达数年,并未尽到注意义务。同时,喜马拉雅公司提供了搜索服务和相关频道的分类,这种设置也为网络用户实施侵权行为提供了帮助,主观上存在过错,构成帮助侵权。据此,法院判决喜马拉雅公司立即停止侵权,并赔偿江西广电经济损失及合理开支40万元。

江西广电与喜马拉雅公司均不服一审判决,上诉至江西高院。江西高院经审理认为,江西广电、喜马拉雅公司的上诉请求均不能成立,应予驳回。一审判决认定事实清楚,适用法律正确,应予维持,故判决驳回上诉,维持原判。

Jiangxi Network Radio and Television Station Wins Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Ximalaya – damages 400,000 Yuan (approx. US$56,000)

Ximalaya, the operator of one of Chinese biggest audio sharing platforms, Ximalaya FM, which enables users to share their knowledge and personal experience in specific fields through audio and personal podcast stations, has run into copyright problems.  Recently, the Higher People's Court of Jiangxi Province made a final judgment, ordering it to immediately stop infringing the information network transmission right of Jiangxi Network Radio and Television Station (‘Jiangxi Network’), and pay compensation for economic loss and reasonable costs in the sum of 400,000 yuan (approx. US$56,000).

The Court held that Ximalaya , operating a platform specializing in audio content services, had a duty of care corresponding to the risk of infringement that may be caused by its specific services. It had a “preliminary review mechanism” in place, and should have been aware that the TV programs involved were the subject of rights owned by Jiangxi Network.  Further, Ximalaya FM provided tags for services and related channels, which helped online users infringe.  It was obvious that Ximalaya had not exercised an appropriate duty of care.

北京知识产权法院一审认定:“茅台国宴”商标不予核准注册

近日,北京知识产权法院针对中国贵州茅台酒厂(集团)有限责任公司关于“茅台国宴”商标注册使用的诉讼请求,一审不予支持。

北京知识产权法院经审理认为,原告提交的证据虽然可以证明茅台酒曾多次作为国宴用酒,具有较高知名度,但“茅台国宴”若作为商标注册使用在酒类商品上,容易使相关公众认为原告的相关产品为国宴专用酒,从而对其品质、等级等特点产生误认。

同时,将包含“国宴”的诉争商标注册在酒类商品上并享有专有使用权,对其他同业经营者亦有失公平,对公共利益易产生一定的负面影响。因此,从避免带有品质指示性的含“国”字商标泛滥以及维护公平竞争的市场秩序的角度,被告认定诉争商标违反商标法第十条第一款第(七)项、第(八)项的规定并无不当,原告诉讼请求缺乏事实或法律依据,法院不予支持。

Kweichow Moutal’s Trademark Application for ‘National Banquet’  Rejected By The Beijing Intellectual Property Court

Kweichow Moutai Co, Ltd, the country’s most famous Chinese spirits distillery and producer of Kweichow Moutal, possibly China’s most famous alcoholic beverage, applied to register the trademark ‘Moutai National Banquet’.  The application was rejected by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB).   Kweichow then brought an action in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court.

The Beijing Intellectual Property Court held that although the evidence submitted by the Plaintiff showed that Moutai had been used at national banquets many times and had a high reputation, the mark was not registrable. The relevant public would be likely to be misled into thinking the product was a  special liquor used only for the national banquet. Further, registration of a mark containing the words "National Banquet", would be unfair to other players in the industry and have a certain negative impact on the public interest.

央视动画起诉杭州大头儿子公司侵犯著作权案二审宣判

因杭州大头儿子文化发展有限公司(下称“杭州大头儿子公司”)授权生产企业使用《大头儿子和小头爸爸》动画片中人物形象来生产相关衍生产品,央视动画(下称“央视动画”)以其侵犯95版、13版动画片、2014版电影中大头儿子人物形象著作权为由,向广东省深圳市宝安区人民法院提起诉讼。2019年6月4日,广东省深圳市宝安区人民法院一审判定被告杭州大头儿子公司侵权央视动画行为成立,判令其赔付80万元。杭州大头儿子公司不服判决,向广东省深圳市中级人民法院提起上诉。

本案中,“大头儿子”著作权的归属是关键判定因素。一审中,原告以其自行委托鉴定的司法鉴定书来佐证:经司法鉴定科学研究院司法鉴定,刘某某于1995年2月8日签订的著作权确认书笔迹与其曾签署过的九份样本文件的签名在写法、结构、布局等多方面特征相符,判定签名为同一人所写。经深圳中院二审认为,一审法院基于民事诉讼法的举证规则,认定“1995年2月8日声明”这一新证据,并无不当,不存在与先前判决的既判力相冲突的问题。

深圳中院当庭宣布维持一审判决结果,判令杭州大头儿子公司应立即停止涉案侵权产品的授权生产和销售行为,杭州大头儿子公司需赔偿央视动画损失及合理维权费用共计80万元。

CCTV-Shinco Animation Finally Succeeds in Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

CCTV-Shinco Animation is a pay television channel specialising in animation and other youth-oriented programming.  It brought a copyright infringement action in the People's Court of Bao'an District, Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, alleging that Hangzhou Datou Son Culture Development Co., Ltd. had infringed its copyright by authorizing other companies to include the Big Head Son and Small Head Dad Stories’ cartoon characters in derivative products,

The People's Court of Bao'an District found that infringement had been  established and ordered Hangzhou Datou Son company to pay compensation of  RMB 800,000 (approx. US$ 113,200). The Defendant’s appeal to the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court was unsuccessful. 

美国企业诉国内某运动器材公司侵害商标权 一审判决支持原告全额赔偿请求

某主要从事运动器材生产销售的美国企业,因认为中国某运动器材公司生产、销售的同款健身器材侵犯其注册商标,遂诉至上海市浦东新区人民法院。

因被告拒绝提交有关销售数据、财务账册等,法院根据被告微信宣传的内容,认定被告的侵权获利在101.7万元至139.5万元之间。此外,由于被告行为涉及重复侵权,其行为构成“恶意”和“情节严重”,法院最终确定被告应适用惩罚性赔偿,因被告侵权获利的三倍已超过300万元,超过原告主张的赔偿金额,遂判决全额支持原告赔偿请求。

该案是《商标法》(Revised in 2013)实施后,上海法院宣判的首例知识产权侵权惩罚性赔偿案件。

Punitive Damages Award by Shanghai Court in Trademark Infringement Action brought by an American Company against a local Sports Equipment Company

An American company brought a trademark infringement action against a Chinese company in the Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court, alleging that the trademark used by the Chinese company on its fitness equipment infringed the Plaintiff’s registered trademark.

The Defendant refused to submit relevant sales data, financial books, etc. and the Court assessed the gain it had derived from the infringement:  between RMB 1.017 million (approx. US$ 143,905). and RMB 1.395 million (approx. US$ 197,392).  In making the assessment, it took account of the content of the Defendant’s WeChat publicity. The Plaintiff had claimed compensatory damages of RMB 3 million.

The Court further found that the Defendant's conduct, which involved repeated infringement, had been "malicious" and "serious” and made an award of punitive damages.    Article 63 of the Trademark Law , provides that punitive damages shall be from one to three times the amount of compensatory damages.  The Court awarded the full amount claimed by the Plaintiff:  RMB 3 million.

This is the first time since implementation of the Trademark Law (Revised in 2013) that a Shanghai Court has awarded punitive damages for intellectual property infringement.