What Startups Need to Know to Protect Their IPR in China

 (By You Yunting) I was once asked by a journalist what the foundation of intellectual property  courts and the ratification of the Opinions on Quicker Development of the Globally Influential Scientific and Technological Innovation Center matter to small and medium-sized startups, and replied the outcome of those two events were the same, both of which ultimately aimed to enhance the awareness of intellectual property throughout our society and guide small and medium-sized enterprises to establish a competition barrier and a management philosopher on how to avoid infringing others’ intellectual property rights. As governmental authorities define and set official instructions and policies, each startup should take full use of its intellectual property during daily operation, trying to become positioned to succeed, just like a well-known Chinese aphorism says that even the pig can fly when the typhoon comes. Combined with my experiences, this article mainly deals with the issue of how small and medium-sized startups seek intellectual property protection both internally and externally.

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What is the Procedure When It Comes to the Registration of Imported Software in China?

(By Wang Ting and You Yunting) Today we will discuss the legal restrictions and application procedures in regard to the introduction of foreign software into China.

  1. Copyright Protection of Imported Software

The Protection of Computer Software Regulations dividends the protection of imported foreign software into two types:

  • Software first distributed within the territory of China shall have copyright;
  • Software concluded with China by the countries to which the creators belong or in which the creators reside habitually or under the international conventions to which China is a member state shall enjoy its copyright.

China has concluded the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works with more than a hundred countries in the world. Taking that into consideration, under most circumstances if the requirements above can be met, the creator of the introduced software can cite the convention to gain copyright protection which is equal to Chinese citizens.

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Why China Court Decision Requires Software Interface Primary Aesthetics under Protection?

(By Luo Yanjie) Pursuant to the Copyright Law, the works shall be original with primary aesthetics. From this point, most software interface can’t receive protection from the Copyright law, because most software interfaces are designated in a simple arrangement for the purpose of easy-to-use and thus are likely to be considered as lack of “distinctiveness”. The judgment in the following case set forth the theory.

Introduction to the Case:

Appellant (defendant at first instance): Shenzhen Tenda Technology Co., Ltd (the “Tenda”)

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Should Qian Zhongshu’s Letter Manuscripts be Protected After He Passed Away?

(By You Yunting) Abstract: In the proceedings of Qian Zhongshu’s letter manuscripts, in ruling whether the privacy right of decedents to a person should be protected by laws, the court decided that the relevant letters and manuscripts are irrelevant to the public interest and thus are private. However, the protective scope of the privacy right between the decedents of a person and a currently living person is different, and the protection of privacy right of decedents is weaker than the right of the public to be informed. The auctioning of these letters and manuscripts would, if it didn’t act to harm the reputations of Qian Zhongshu’s successors and relatives, not constitute an invasion of privacy.

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What is the Weakness of Getty Images China’s Protection Litigation against Photo Infringement?

(By You Yunting) Recently, Getty Images China brought cases regarding copyright infringement arose from Weibo to courts. These companies sued by Getty Images China almost take a similar pattern like that: first these companies have outsourced its right of operation for their Weibo to ads enterprises, then on its Weibo ads enterprises published photos that Getty Images China owned in their thought, and finally these companies were sued by Getty Images China. Some customers asked us how to face such litigation. We will share our analysis on this question and introduce a case which Getty Images China lost its litigation in the Supreme People’s Court.

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Is RSS Output in Websites Kinda Fair Use in the Copyright Law?

 (By You Yunting) A user on Zhihu.com asked some question about RSS

  1. Is it kinda fair use of RSS?
  2. Is it kinda fair use to transfer the excerpt context RSS to the full text RSS?
  3. Is it kinda fair use of Flipboard and similar applications’ excerpt context which do not use RSS?

In terms of the first question: ,Is it kinda fair use of RSS?

If a website supports full content RSS output, then it is actually the using on the license of the copyright holder instead of the fair use. While, where a website only supports excerpt context RSS and if a third party scraps the content into a full context RSS, it is infringing as it has used the content without any license.

Let’s first check the definition of RSS. We could find a clear definition in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rss.): If a website placed the RSS file on its page, user could use a RSS feed to read the latest contents if he cannot open the content page. Based on the said character of RSS, in author’s opinion, RSS actually is a form of authorization from the site owners. If the website provides RSS file, it licenses users to read the content without visiting its website. According to the Copyright Law, Fair use means that under the specific circumstance we can use the content without the copyright’s holder’s permit and with payment of remuneration. The transliteration of a published work into Braiile and into minority nationality languages and free performance of a published work belong to fair use.

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Could NetDragon’s Providing Plants vs Zombies 2 Be Protected under the Safe Harbor Principle?

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(By You Yunting) In recent days, Plants VS Zombies 2, the sequel to the global hit game Plants VS Zombies, came on the market in Apple’s AppStore in Australia. Afer initial release, millions of users downloaded the app from the Australia store. In China, however, the situation is quite different. As reported by the media, within the first 24 hours of the game’s release, many unlocked versions of the application were uploaded to third party media providers, like ZS91.com, and that the encrypted in-game items had been cracked.

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Why China Court Protects Violation Against GPL License Agreement?

(By You Yunting) We could find no regulation in China’s Copyright Law and Regulation on the Protection of Computer Software with regard to the open source software. In a dispute judged by Haidian People’s Court in the 1st instance and Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court in the 2nd instance, though both courts determined the validity of the open source agreement, they supported those violating the GNU GPL as failed in disclosing newly added source code could claim the copyright over the new work. To our understanding, the case, on the  one hand, had showed the pragmatism of China courts, and on the other hand, it also demonstrated that the open source software organization is necessarily to be seen in the right protection on the OSS software.

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Using Counterfeit Software to Manufacture Hardware May Constitute Copyright Infringement by the User

Abstract:

(By Luo Yanjie) Using another party’s copyrighted software,  and combining that technology with specific hardware product to produce a similar product may constitute copyright infringement. When determining whether such action constitute as a crime, the penalty may be calculated by the total value  of the hardware and software products,

When employees of high-tech companies leaves their employment, they may cause their former employer huge financial losses if they illegally uses the technology or software they obtained from their former employer. Therefore, companies generally take preventive measures with its employees by methods such as a duty not to compete or a non-disclosure agreement. For serious offenses, companies could consider filing criminal charges. In this post, you would see one such typical case.

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Why Hainan Netcom Is Judged Infringement Liability for IP Addresses It Manages?

Abstract

(By Albert Chen) Hainan Netcom is an Internet Service Provider (“ISP”), but it also provides the content on the Internet. For the URL available on its web pages, the company should be obligated to take an even higher care with regards to its content. Even after the company fails to demonstrate that the IP address is used by a third party, and it has fulfilled its obligation to check the content of the webpage, the company should still be liable for any corresponding infringement.

Case Summary:

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China’s Courts Found Non-Infringement for Unauthorized Remake of Song

(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: The scope of the statutory license includes the manufacturing of the audio recording, and also includes the distribution of the work afterwards. Judging from the latest case, the written statement of the right holder must explicitly exclude the application of statutory license, and cannot simply exclude it by claiming “chasing any infringement.”

The statutory license provided in the Copyright Law is to prevent a monopoly in the music market, but the law also regulates that the right holder has the right to exclude that license. ” However as to what kind statement shall be made within such exclusion statement, we have found no such regulation in law. According to the case described in this essay, the recording industry tends to use the term “copyright reserved, and infringement chased”, which in fact is not within the scope of the license due to the followings:

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China Court’s Injunction Ruling: the Auction Company Shall Not Sell Qian Zhongshu and Yang Jiang’s Letter and Manuscripts

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(By You Yunting) As reported by Guangming News (note: the link is in Chinese), Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court ruled in recent to demand the SUNGARI Auction Firm (the “SUNGARI”) not to carry out any conducts which would infringement the copyright contained in the letters written by Qian Zhongshu, Yang Jiang, Qian Yuan to Li Guoqiang. In the previous posts, we have put forward our opinions on the issue (post 1 and post 2).

According to the report, the court ruled that:

1. As the tools to communicate emotions, exchange ideas and discuss issues, the letter is generally the literal work finished by the writer basing on his/her independent thinking, and could be the work protected in the Copyright Law. Its copyright shall be owned by the author, who is namely the sender.

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How to Divide the Burden of Proof in Software Infringement Cases in China?

(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: In software infringement lawsuits, the plaintiff shall demonstrate itself as the rights holder of the software involved and the “substantial similarity” of the defendant’s software with its own. On the opposite side of the coin, once a defendant counters by claiming that no infringements have been made, it shall present relevant evidence; otherwise, it shall bear any disadvantages resulting from the failure to present proof of a lack of infringement. As for the case described in this essay, although it involves open source software, no definitive solution has yet been made to solve this particular legal program, to our disappointment.

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Could Yang Jiang Prevents the Auction Off of Qian Zhongshu’s Letters with Friends?

(By You Yunting)At first, the author would like to make a digression statement: in the article “Would Tencent Take the Copyright of Contents Published by Users on WeChat?”, the author analyzed the misunderstanding arisen by the Tencent User Agreement, and after its publication, Tencent modified its agreement, by which the original article has been amended into “For the contents created by the user when using the service herein provided, its IPR shall be the property of the user or the related right holder.” The author deeply appreciates their quick acceptation of the advice.

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Why Ultraman Movie‘s Copyright Holder Confronts Obstacle in Claiming His Right over Ultraman Doll?

Abstract

(By Albert Chen) When the character in a film or television work satisfies the originality element, it could constitute as an independent work under the Copyright Law. But in that situation, the right holder of the film and television work could not necessarily claim the copyright over the character in it, and any infringement against the character shall be fought back by its designer or the licensee of the designer.

Case Summary

In 2009, China Shanghai Character License Administrative Corporation (“SCLA” hereinafter) gained the exclusive license from Tsuburaya Company for Ultraman Diga’s reproduction rights, distribution rights, rental and merchandising rights, and as well as the right to relicense the above rights within the territory of mainland China. After that, SCLA found that Hubei Xinyijia Supermarket Co., Ltd. ( “Xinyijia” hereinafter) has been selling out the Ultraman Diga toys, and thereafter SCLA filed their lawsuit in the court.

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