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”)


Whether Patented Products’ Profit Influences the duty to Reward Inventors?


Other local laws and regulations cannot be used in legal judgments. Furthermore, enterprises shall award to the employee proper remuneration regardless of profitability.

(By Luo Yanjie) Patent carries huge value to enterprises; key patents can be especially valuable, because they are often only gained after a great deal of expense. Because of this, according to relevant provisions in the Patent Law, the right to apply for a patent belongs to an entity for any invention-creation, either made by a person in the course of executing tasks of the entity he belongs to, or made by him by primarily utilizing material and technical means belonging to the entity. Inventors having rights over inventions is well accepted, but a difficult position for the inventor to be in; often, we find the laws to be inadequate to properly serve and protect the interests of the inventor-creator. In today’s post, we will introduce to you a case touching upon this legal issue.


Analysis over the Patented Design Dispute between FIAT and GWM in China


You may click here for the simplified version of this post, if you feel the current one is too long to read.

Case summary:

On June 30, 2003, the Plaintiff FIAT AUTO S.P.A (“FIAT”) applied for a design patent named “automobile” with the State Intellectual Property Organization (the “SIPO”). That application was approved on May 19, 2004 with patent number ZL03353217.6 (the “Patent”).

In November 2006 and April 2007, Great Wall Motor Company Limited (GWM) exhibited its vehicle, the “GreatWall Jingling” in the Beijing Auto Show and Shanghai Auto Show. FIAT alleged that the vehicle exhibited by GWM infringed upon its patented design, and subsequently filed a lawsuit in the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court, demanding an apology and compensation.


Introduction and Legal Analysis on the Patent Design Dispute between the Honda CRV And Shuanghuan Auto


(By Luo YanjieThe patented design dispute between Shuanghuan Auto and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (the “Honda”) has been a subject of strong focus within the industry. With the review of the case in the Supreme People’s Court, it determined the patented design right enjoyed by Honda and overthrew the annulled sentences in the first and second instance, The case has been battled through the courts for eight years, and now returns to its starting point. This post will discuss the arguments adopted in a review of the sentence, and why it shall be different from those in the first and second instance.


How Do Chinese Courts Distinguish “Manufacture” and “Sale” When Hearing Design Patent Infringement Cases?


(By Luo Yanjie) Generally, the manufacture and sale of patented products are easily distinguished. Sale normally refers to infringing sale and purchase of patented products with no engagement in assembly or manufacture. In the case introduced in this essay, however, whether the behavior of the defendant was “manufacture” or “sale” is the key point argued. Now we would like to use the case and relevant law to introduce the difference between design patent “manufacture” and “sale.”


How to Record Patents with Chinese Customs?

(By Luo Yanjie) According to the Customs Protection Regulations for Intellectual Property (“Regulations”) patent protection through customs recordation means that customs protects the intellectual property rights related to import and export as well as those rights protectable under Chinese laws and regulations. It generally covers the protection of trademark’s exclusive use right, copyright, and patent. As to trademark protection through custom recordation, you may check our past article “How to Apply for Trademark Recordation in China Customs”. Today we would focus on patent protection through customs recordation.


What Financial Support and Tax Preferential Policies can be enjoyed for Patent Application?

Nowadays, the State and local governments have issued serious financial support and tax preferential policies to encourage innovation of patents.

I. Financial Support Policies

Firstly, from the perspective of the State, the Chinese applicants applying to the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) for patents can enjoy the policy of reduction or postponement of the payment of the patent fee. The relevant expenses include the application fee (excluding printing expense and surcharge), substantive examination fee of the invention and 3 years’ annual fees from the year when the patent right is granted. On the other hand, for the Chinese applicants applying for patents overseas, they can obtain the financial support to the extent of certain amount, which includes the official fee of application for foreign patent, retrieval expense paid to patent retrieval organization, service expenses paid to the agency and so forth.


Why Apple Store’s Design Patent Application is Not Necessary? II

The post will be published on our website for two days, and today is the second half of it. (the image is the picture of Apple Store in Lujiazui from the www.apple.com.cn)

III. The legal risk in the lawsuit filed against design infringement

Furthermore, once Apple initiate the lawsuit basing on the design, it may be trapped in the patent validity and serial lawsuits, and it’s also a common challenge of patent lawsuits in China.

1. The poor stability of design patent

Despite the design patent is granted by the administration after approval, the organ will not examine the novelty and creativity of the patent applied for it being instable at all. For example, in the design dispute between SECO and HONDA (note: the link is in Chinese), when HONDA sued against SECO for the claimed plagiarism of SECO’s S-RV to its CR-V, the defendant filed the application of patent validity, and present the evidence including the previous design patent applied by HONDA.


Why Apple Store’s Design Patent Application is Not Necessary? I

The post will be published on our website for two days, and today is the first half of it. (the image is the picture of Apple Store in Lujiazui from the www.apple.com.cn)

By the report of Shanghai Daily, Apple Inc filed an application to the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the appearance design of its store in Lujiazui, Pudong New Area. In consideration of the fake Apple Store in Kuning, Yunan Province in south and west China, the application made this time may be the international application, and will enter into China soon to stem the flooding knock off stores. More interesting is that the journalist of the Daily interviewed our attorneys before the report, and we reserved our opinion on the application. To complete our comments on it, here’s our analysis on the issue:


Reconciliation in Patent Dispute between Ericsson and ZTE: While No Release of the Actual Compensation

According to the report (in Chinese) of Donews, a tech website in China, Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and ZTE (SEHK: 0763, SZSE: 000063) have signed a global cross license agreement and agree to withdraw all the lawsuits against each other, while, on the other hand, no disclosure on the patent fee paid by ZTE to Ericsson.

In April of 2011, Ericsson filed a lawsuit against ZTE in Germany, UK and Italy, claiming the infringement against its patent of GSM and 3G/UMTS wireless technology. After that, there saw a heavy fall of the stock price both in A and H market of ZTE, which was the new lowest price then. And until closing on Wednesday then (19th, January), the price of it in the A stock market was encountered a decline limit and a plunge of 7% in H stock market. According to the stock agent, that mainly resulted from the possible influence of the lawsuit initiated by Ericsson on the achievement in 2011 of ZTE.


The Patent Application of 2-Dimensional Bar Code in China

According to the New York Times, 2-dimensional bar code technology has been applied in some television shopping programs in USA, where a scan of the onscreen 2-dimensiaonal bar code would put the product directly in the viewer’s shopping cart. In the mobile internet age, 2-dimensional bar code technology could enjoy a wide application area, however, that also necessarily leads to the battle of intellectual property on such technology just like other patent competitions over mobile technology.

The 2-dimensional bar code technology has been rapidly developing in recent years in China. According to the preliminary retrieval by Bridge IP Commentary concerning the application of 2-dimensional bar code in China on October 9th, 2011, there were over 650 patents applied with the 2-dimensional as the key word, and through preliminary analysis, these patents have the following characteristics: