(By You Yunting) In the end of 2013, the Beijing Higher People’s Court rejected Apple Inc.’s trademark opposition towards “苹果” trademark (read “Pingguo” in Chinese and referring to “Apple” in English) under Class 28 for game console against Zhongshan Readboy Electronics Co., Ltd. Thereafter, Apple Inc. has gone through 4 procedures, including the Trademark Office’s opposition proceeding, TRAB’s review procedure and two administrative actions and ultimately lost the “苹果” trademark under Class 28 for game console. The following are abstracts from the judgment of the final trial and our comments.
(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.
(By You Yunting) The author would first like to apologyze, that as mentioned in the previous post “Why Did Apple Filed the First “iWatch” Trademark In Jamaica?”:
“For the prospect of iWatch application in mainland China… the author would like to stop here, and I will resume the discussion over this issue in tomorrow’s post.”
Yet due to work obligations, the author broke his promise. For the make-up, the author took an early raise this morning to continue his analysis on the issue. First, the author’s conclusion of the issue is: despite the obstacles of iWatch acquisition, it would not prevent Apple from gaining it.
(By You Yunting) According to media reports, Apple Inc. (“Apple”) has filed for “iWatch” trademark in several countries and regions, including: Japan, Mexico, Russia and Taiwan. Searching the trademark database in mainland China and Taiwan, the author discovered that Apple filed its iWatch trademark in Taiwan in June 2013.As for the trademark application in mainland China, because it takes a longer period of time for trademark application to be recorded on China Trademark Office’s website, we could only check the information concerning applications made several months ago. Therefore, if Apple filed the application in early June, then we would have no way to confirm it right now. Furthermore, we have found no records regarding Apple’s iWatch trademark application in China. The following are information of Apple’s “iWatch” trademark application in Taiwan:
(By You Yunting) In November of 2011, Apple Inc. began allowing its users in China to purchase app by RMB. At the time, the author believed that it means Apple would operate its AppStore in China. Yet unill now, the business concerning AppStore of Apple is still run by iTunes S.A.R.L.(the “iTunes”), the company registered in Luxembourg, a subsidiary of Apple Inc. Furthermore, according to the relevant International convention on transnational transaction, neither Apple nor iTunes is required to pay taxes for Chinese user’s purchase of the apps to the Chinese government. For Apple and iTunes, on one hand they take the payment in RMB, but on the other hand, they do not pay the taxes. This business model is achieved through the third party payment method. In this situation, the third party payment service provider would collect the payment from the Chinese users, and then transfer them to overseas. But this business model is at risk of violating the foreign currency control regulations of China. The following are the opinions of the author on this issue.
Visit to St. Louis in the US, Part II
(By You Yunting) At the end of this past March, at the invitation of the US government, the author visited America with other Chinese legal experts with the goal of better understanding its IPR system. The third city in the visit was St. Louis, located in the middle of the United States. On March 26 2013, the day where the most-watched lawsuit in the bio-science industry, the lawsuit between Monsanto and DuPont, entered into a mediation agreement, and coincidently, the second day after that, namely on March 28, the author visited Monsanto’s legal department in St. Louis to better understand the facts involved in the case. The day after that, the author went to the Federal Court in the Eastern District, in St. Louis, Missouri, and exchanged opinions regarding the case with the judge hearing it. Considering the influence coming from that lawsuit would not be less than that produced by the lawsuit between Samsung and Apple in the tech industry, the author would like to introduce to the readers some of the facts presented to us by the judge. Also, we would like to remind our readers that the title of this essay covers only part of the content of this post; that being said, it shall not be taken as suited for a professional study.
The Second Record of the Day Four of the US Visit
(By You Yunting) In late March, the author had the opportunity to make a journey to the United States at the invitation of the U.S. government in order to better understand how the U.S. IPR system operates. On the morning of the fourth day of the journey, the writer visited the Business Software Association (BSA), which originally was not on the list of places to visit; it was later added on the recommendation of the writer. Despite this, the BSA received us with a chief inspection officer. The following is a record of our discussion carried out on that day. The topic of this post only concerns part of the discussion, and the reader may skip to the last part of this article if it interests you.
(By Albert Chen) On the issue of jurisdiction in online infringement cases, Article 1 of the Supreme People’s Court’s Interpretation on Several Issues Concerning Application of Law in Hearing Network Copyright Disputes Involving Computers (the “Network Dispute Interpretation”) previously stated that:
“Online copyright infringement dispute cases are within the jurisdiction of the court in the place where infringement occurred or the residence of the defendant. The place where infringement occurred includes the place where the network server or computer terminal used to conduct the accused infringement is located. For situations where it is difficult to determine the place where the infringement occurred or the residence of the defendant, the place where the computer terminal or other device that the plaintiff used to discover the infringement is located may be used as the place where the infringement occurred.”
(By You Yunting) As reported, the CEOs of tech giants Apple, Intel, and Google might be forced to go to court to account for mutual unwritten agreements about not soliciting each other’s workers for employment. These cases started due to the dissatisfaction of relevant employees, who believed that such “do not hire agreements” damaged that legal rights and interests. The news has also revealed emails from former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, threatening Palm and Google and demanding that they stop using headhunters to obtain the email addresses of Apple employees. This news also raised the concerns within the industry.
(By Albert Chen) Recently, in the right to network dissemination of information dispute between Li Chengpeng, a well-known Chinese writer, and Apple, a Beijing judge held Apple as the actual operator of the App Store, even though the company had maintained that iTunes S.A.R.L (“iTunes”) is the actual operator, a fact afterwards admitted by iTunes. So, today’s post will introduce the reasoning used by the first instance court in its decision.
Li filed the lawsuit with the Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court (“Intermediate Court”) on January 16, 2012, claiming that his latest work “李可乐抗拆记” was made into an app downloadable in App Store for free reading, which infringed his right to network dissemination of information. Additionally, as the operator, manager, and owner of the App Store, Apple should assume liability. Based on these points, Li demanded compensation for economic damages in the amount of 305,000 yuan and reasonable expenses in the amount of 5,425 yuan.
(By You Yunting) Update: Apple made the following statement to the recently made court decision:
In AppStore, Chinese users could get more than 700,000 best apps from Apple developers. And as a holder of intellectual property, it has always been Apple’s awareness the importance of IPR protection, and thereby we carefully treat each infringement complaint. Apple cherishes the opinions and advices put forward by China Written Works Copyright Society, China Writers Association and Internet Society of China. For a better aid to the right protection of the content owners, Apple would continue improving the service quality.
By Albert Chen
The most watched copyright battle between Chinese Writer Alliance (the “Alliance”) and Apple was heard in Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court on the 11th of this month. You may have read our previous essay on the private hearing of the case, and in fact, Apple has also filed an objection to the jurisdiction in the case. Nonetheless, the application was refused by the intermediate court and upheld by the high court after appeal. The lawsuit has been delayed by procedure for nearly half a year, as favored by Apple. Today, we are going to introduce the regulation on the objection to civil jurisdiction in China.
By Albert Chen
The most watched dispute between Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) and Chinese Writers Alliance (the “Alliance”) is heard on 11th of October in Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court. That lawsuit is filed following the battle against Baidu by the Alliance. Before the hearing on 11th, Apple applied to the court for the hearing in camera with the claim that the case is with trade secret related. After the consideration by the court, such an application was refused by the judge, yet it still decided the procedure may switch into be in private when one the interrogation involves the business secret. In today’s post, you may see our analysis on the “lawsuit in camera” in China.
By You Yunting
As reported by media, Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court made the first instance decision for infringement claims made by Encyclopedia of China Publishing House (Encyclopedia) agains Apple’s AppStore. With the decision, Apple shall compensate Encyclopedia RMB 520, 000 yuan and immediately cease the infringement. In current, no intention to appeal has been expressed by Apple.
Case: Encyclopedia discovered Apple’s user could purchase and download apps of its copyrighted works, which could be read in iPhone and iPad. With the anger of the infringement, Encyclopedia filed a lawsuit against Apple, who counter-stroke that the actuall operator of AppStore is a company registered in Luxembourg, not Apple. And Apple provided no services in the process of software uploading, and therefore Apple shall be with no engagement in the dispute.
By You Yunting
In March of 2012, 22 Chinese authors filed a lawsuit against Apple in Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court and claimed compensation of more than ten million. In the case, the plaintiffs stated that their works have been adapted into apps used on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, free of being charged at App Store. The case is the first lawsuit with the operator of App Store being the defendants, and will produce a prominent influence on the newly developed online store, which was launched in 2008 and with more than 360 million users . Now the litigation is under the spotlight, and this essay is focusing on the legal status of Apple and the defects in the process complaints of the store.