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JUL

2021

Newsletter: Volume 6 (2021) Chinese IP Information

(English and Chinese)

  • Block-chain technology provides scientific and technological support for copyright protection and operation
  • [Law Interpretation by case] Can LEGO minifigures be registered as a three-dimensional trademark?
  • National first case of trademark rights in a live-streaming scene was pronounced
  • Determination regarding "for the purpose of production and operation" in the judgment of patent infringement

Block-chain technology provides scientific and technological support for copyright protection and operations

At present, the NCAC issued the "Report on the Development of China's Online Copyright Industry in 2020" (hereinafter referred to as the "Report"). According to the report, China's online copyright industry market in 2020 broke one trillion yuan for the first time, a year-on-year increase of 23.6%. Meanwhile, copyright disputes have also become one of the current issues for the copyright industry to achieve high-quality development.

As for this, cutting-edge technologies like block-chain may provide technical support for solving the tricky points of copyright disputes and help the high-quality development of the copyright industry. The use of block-chain technology to upload digital works in real time, and to record right holder information, time stamps and other key information at any time, can confirm the copyright immediately. Its characteristics of non-tampering of data and real-time confirmation of copyright online can quickly solve the problem of authenticity of copyright registration and certification so as to protect copyright.

The smart contract technology represented by the block-chain can strongly promote the collaboration and cooperation of all parties in the industry chain. Participants such as copyright content parties, secondary creators, merchants (licensed parties), service providers, who communicate and trade point-to-point in the industry chain can all achieve deep cooperation instantly through the smart contract technology of block-chain, and copyright content parties can also convert the creator's digital content into digital goods more quickly through NFT and other related block-chain technologies. After the product is profitable, the benefits will be distributed in terms of the smart contract in real time, finally reaching the mutual benefit and win-win situation of the participants in the online copyright content industry chain.

In accordance with the Supreme People’s Court, based on the understanding of technical feature C by those of general skill in the art, who have already read the claims, descriptions and attached drawings of the patent involved in the case, the object defined by the technical feature C is in fact the product value of the diameter and number of spokes in the same plane. The core content of the value is the coordination between the two physical parameters of spoke thickness and arrangement density. The pursuing technical effect is to maximize the purification rate of the dynamic physical shielding purifier, rather than the number of planes composed by spokes. In other words, the “in the one identical plane” mentioned in the technical feature C should be understood as “in the same plane”, and this understanding has no relation to the number of planes formed by the spokes.

Through the trial of this case, the Supreme People’s Court clarified a rule of adjudication, that is, if a patent claim contains the number “one”, it should not be identified as a quantitative limitation, but ensure its specific meaning according to those skilled in the art after reading the documents. This case has certain reference significance for the interpretation of specific numbers in the claims.

From: people.cn

June 4, 2021

[Law Interpretation by case] Can LEGO minifigures be registered as a three-dimensional trademark?

The LEGO Group filed an application for registering No. 34022807 three-dimensional trademark (referred to as the disputed trademark) to the CNIPA, designating it for use in the 28th category of commodities like "toys, toy tricks". The CNIPA rejected its application for registration due to the disputed trademark’s lacking distinctive features used on the designated goods.

The LEGO Group then filed an administrative lawsuit for trademark refusal reexamination to the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, and stated that the disputed trademark itself involves distinctiveness. Even though the trademark is not distinctive, it has already had distinctiveness through extensive use of the claimant, it should be approved for registration. The Beijing Intellectual Property Court made a judgment dismissing the plaintiff's claim.

The Intellectual Property Court held that, firstly, as a three-dimensional trademark, the disputed trademark is a puppet image as a whole, which shows the characteristics of a cylindrical head, half-circle hands, a three-dimensional trapezoid body, and a curved cuboid leg on one side. The trademark does not specify a color.

On account of the disputed trademark as a toy doll overall, it is designated to be used on toys and other commodities. In combination with the characteristics of the goods, it is not only easy for the relevant public to regard it as a component or other accessory accessories of toy commodities, instead of discerning it as a trademark as a whole, but also unable to function as identifying the source of goods.

Secondly, the disputed trademark itself is not a graphic trademark, but a three-dimensional trademark being the basic shape of the minifigures. The evidence in the case indicates that, during the use of the LEGO products, the image of the minifigure shows as different forms in various scenes, different colors and accessories will also cause significant changes of the minifigures’ appearance. Therefore, the image of the puppet in different periods and different scenes has no consistency and relevance with the image presented by the disputed trademark.

Considering that in actual use, the basic structure of dolls includes simplified structures of the head, body, and limbs, which is similar to those dolls in different kinds of commodities. The multi-category dolls manifested in the evidence of the case have long been appeared as partial accessories of toys. As a result, the relevant public cannot summarize the basic structural characteristics of the doll from the long-term and multi-variable image classification, nor can they directly and uniquely connect with the product provider. In addition, the use of evidence reflected in the case is not enough to prove that the disputed trademark involves distinctiveness of trademark registration and has been recognized by the relevant public through propaganda and use.

Therefore, the judge reminded companies or individuals of taking the relevant public as the main body, and making judgments from the aspects of relationship between the logo and its designated goods or services for use, as well as the service condition of the logo when registering trademarks. If it is difficult for the relevant public to recognize a certain mark as a trademark, the mark cannot play a role in identifying the source of goods, which indicates that the mark lacks distinctiveness and cannot be registered as a trademark.

From: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

June 4, 2021

National first case of trademark rights in a live-streaming scene was pronounced

A few days ago, the Beijing Haidian Court pronounced a judgment on the national first trademark right case that identified a live broadcast platform in a live-streaming scene as an e-commerce platform. In this case, Agatha China found that Laizhou Hongyu Arts & Crafts Co., Ltd. sold handbags with the word "AGATHA" and its specific icon on Tik Tok. Therefore, it sued Hongyu Company and Beijing Microseeding Horizon Technology Co., Ltd. to the court for infringing trademark exclusive rights.

After the trial, the Haidian Court judged that Hongyu Company should compensate Agatha China for economic losses of 300,000 yuan and reasonable expenses of 10,598 yuan in the first instance. In addition, the court determined that Microseeding Company, as the operator of Tik Tok, is an e-commerce platform operator. Considering that Microseeding Company has performed measures such as pre-review, reminder, and timely handling afterwards, that is to say, it has fulfilled its duty of reasonable care, so it should not be responsible for it.

The court held that, in combination of the trademark pattern involved in the case, the category of goods approved for use, the product involved and its accused logo on the price tag, the fact that Agatha China did not sublicense the trademark involved to a third party, and that Hongyu Company failed to submit sufficient evidence to prove its behavior complying with the provisions of the Trademark Law on the exemption of vendors, the conduct of Hongyu Company selling the goods involved in the case violated the provisions of Article 57, Paragraph 3 of the Trademark Law, which constituted infringement.

As for determining that Tik Tok belongs to which type of platform, the court held that with the innovation of Internet technology and the diversification of online marketing models, the current platforms for carrying out e-commerce activities are no longer limited to the traditional platforms with e-commerce as their main services, platforms whose main business is to produce and provide content, for example, Internet live broadcast platforms, Internet audio and video platforms, are gradually providing online live-marketing services for their users; for the latter, if the services they actually provide for the parties of the transaction conform to the aforementioned relevant definitions of the Commercial Law, the platform they operate should also be recognized as an e-commerce platform. Based on this, in this case, users of Tik Tok can engage in Internet marketing by opening the "window shop" function. The live-streaming interface of Tik Tok displays the name, picture, price and other information of the product involved. Users click the "window shop" in the platform, and they can directly enter the product page without jumping to other platforms. Tik Tok users can directly find about their order information for purchasing the goods involved in their Tik Tok account. When watching the live broadcast, they need to click the shopping cart in the interface and enter the small shop platform to complete shopping. With all the mentioned-above facts, it is determined that Tik Tok is a platform that provides transaction matching, information release and other services on itself in the form of supplying live-streaming marketing services, and enables transaction parties to independently conduct transaction activities, which means it belongs to e-commerce platform. And Microseeding Company, as the operator of Tik Tok, is the operator of the e-commerce platform.

This case is the national first case in which the live broadcast platform in the live –streaming scene is determined as an e-commerce platform. It is also the first judicial case to confirm the nature of this type of platform since the implementation of the "Management Measures for Webcast Marketing (Trial)". The case timely responded to the relevant legal issues in the mode of anchor live-streaming on the broadcast platform. It provided not only introduction for further regulating the behavior of webcast marketing platform, but also a reference perspective for judging similar cases.

From: people.cn

June 9, 2021

Determination regarding "for the purpose of production and operation" in the judgment of patent infringement——(2020) Supreme People’s Court Final Civil Judgment No. 831

The “for the purpose of production and operation” mentioned in Article 11, term 1 of the Patent Law cannot be simply equated to engaging in profit-making activities, nor can it be determined only by the institutional nature of the patent subject, but should focus on the patent implementation and comprehensively consider factors like that whether it is market activity and whether it affects the market interests of the patentee, etc. Subjectsfor example, government agencies, public institutions, public welfare organizations and other entities, are mainly engaged in public management, social services, and public welfare activities, their conducts of implementing patents, participating in market activities, and that may harm the market interests of the patentee can be determined as constituting "for the purpose of production and operation."

In the dispute case of infringing invention patent rights between the appellant Jiao Ruili and the appellee, the Feed Research Institute Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (hereinafter referred to as the Feed Research Institute), and Daxing District Agriculture and Rural Bureau of Beijing Municipality (hereinafter referred to as the Daxing District Agriculture Bureau), the invention patent (hereinafter referred to as the patent involved) entitled "A Chinese Medicinal Feed Additive for Enhancing Strong Cows and Its Preparation Method" with the patent number ZL031, is involved. Jiao Ruili believed that the Feed Research Institute and the Daxing District Agriculture Bureau used the method of patent involved and manufactured the patented products without permission in the 2006-2008 scientific and technological cooperation project, so a case was filed with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court (hereinafter referred to as the court of first instance) for requesting an judgment to order the Feed Research Institute and Daxing District Agricultural Bureau to stop the infringement and compensate 2,618,180 yuan for economic losses and reasonable expenses for rights protection.

The court of first instance held that the Feed Research Institute is a public institution, and Daxing District Agriculture Bureau is a government agency, neither of them had the qualifications for production and operation, and there is no evidence that their implementation of the cooperative project is for the purpose of production and operation, and the alleged infringement did not conform to the requirements of patent infringement "for the purpose of production and operation", therefore, Jiao Ruili's claims was rejected by the judgment. Jiao Ruili refused to accept it and appealed to the Supreme People's Court, claiming that the court of first instance had an error in determining that the alleged infringement did not have "purpose of production and business ".

The Supreme People's Court ruled to revoke the original judgment on November 25, 2020, and judged the Feed Research Institute compensated Jiao Ruili for economic losses of 600,000 yuan and reasonable expenses of 15,000 for rights protection, and Daxing District Agriculture Bureau assumed joint and several liabilities for 215,000 yuan of the compensation.

The second instance of the Supreme People's Court held that the Patent Law included "for the purpose of production and operation" as one of the requirements of patent infringement is aimed at reasonably balancing the interests of the patentee and the public.

When determining patent infringement, the interpretation of "for the purpose of production and operation" should focus on the specific alleged infringement, and comprehensively consider whether the act belongs to participating in market activities, whether it affects the market interests of the patentee, and other factors. It cannot be simply equated to engaging in profit-making activities, nor can it be determined solely by the institutional nature of the patent subject.

Even though government agencies, institutions and other entities have attributes such as public services and public welfare, they are not aimed at production and operation themselves. However, those implemented market activities and harmed the market interests of the patentee can still be deemed to have the requirements of "for the purpose of production and operation". In this case, the scientific and technological cooperation between the Feed Research Institute and Daxing District Agricultural Bureau aims to propel the transformation of scientific research results into productivity, guide and support the transformation and development of agriculture in Daxing District, which has certain attributes of public services and public welfare, with no direct purpose of production and operation. However, in the second phase of scientific and technological cooperation between the Feed Research Institute and Daxing District Agriculture Bureau, through the latter providing financial support and the former providing scientific and technological achievements, the model of "collaboration between district and institute + demonstration base + farmers" was formed. The natural feed additives for dairy cows produced by the Feed Research Institute and the Agriculture Bureau of Daxing District have been demonstrated and promoted in major dairy farms and livestock farms of Daxing District, achieving good results.

In accordance with statistics, in the second phase of scientific and technological cooperation, both parties have trained 10,320 (times) technicians and farmers in total, directly benefiting over 4,500 farmers and creating direct economic benefits of 114 million yuan. It is obviously that the project involved has produced certain economic benefits and directly benefited farmers.

The behaviors that manufacturing and using the patented products and methods involved in the case by the Feed Research Institute and Daxing District Agriculture Bureau will inevitably invade the possible market of Jiao Ruili’s patent involved, and damage the market interests of the patentee. Therefore, the relevant acts of the Feed Research Institute and Daxing District Agriculture Bureau are requirements of "For the purpose of production and operation".

From: The Intellectual Property Court of the Supreme People’s Court

June 15, 2021

  • 区块链技术为版权保护与运营提供科技支撑
  • 【以案释法】 乐高人仔是否可以作为立体商标注册?
  • 全国首例直播带货场景商标权案宣判
  • 关于专利侵权判断中“为生产经营目的”的认定

区块链技术为版权保护与运营提供科技支撑

日前,国家版权局发布了《2020年中国网络版权产业发展报告》(以下简称《报告》)。报告显示,2020年中国网络版权产业市场规模首次突破1万亿元,同比增长23.6%。与此同时,版权纠纷也成为当下版权产业实现高质量发展的难题之一。

对此,区块链等前沿技术或可为解决版权纠纷痛点提供技术支撑,助力版权产业高质量发展。运用区块链技术对数字作品进行即时上传,随时记录权利人信息、时间戳等关键信息,可立即对作品进行版权确权。其数据不可篡改以及线上即时确权的特点,可快速解决版权权利登记与证明的真实性问题,从而对版权进行保护。

以区块链为代表的智能合约技术能够有力促进产业链各方协同合作。在产业链上点对点沟通交易的版权内容方、二次创作者、商家(被授权方)、服务商等参与者,都可以通过区块链的智能合约技术即时完成深度合作,版权内容方还可通过NFT等相关区块链技术,使创作者的数字内容更快地转化成数字商品。待产品盈利后,再按智能合约实时进行利益分配,最终实现线上版权内容产业链条参与者的互利共赢。

摘自:人民网

202164

【以案释法】 乐高人仔是否可以作为立体商标注册?

乐高集团将第34022807号立体商标(简称诉争商标)向国家知识产权局提出注册申请,指定使用在第28类“玩具、玩具积木”等商品上。国家知识产权局以诉争商标使用在指定商品上,缺乏作为商标应有的显著特征为由,驳回其注册申请。

乐高集团遂向北京知识产权法院提起商标驳回复审行政诉讼,并指出诉争商标本身具有显著性,即使商标本身不具备显著性,但通过原告的大量使用,诉争商标已具有显著性,应当予以核准注册。北京知识产权法院作出判决,驳回原告的诉讼请求。

知产法院认为,首先,诉争商标系三维立体商标,其整体为人偶形象,整体呈现圆柱形头部、半圆环手部、立体的梯形身体,一边有曲线的长方体腿部等特征,该商标未指定颜色。

由于诉争商标整体为玩具人偶,指定使用在玩具等商品上,结合商品的特点,相关公众容易将其作为玩具类商品的组件或者其他附属配件,不易将其整体识别为商标,更不能起到识别商品来源的作用。

其次,诉争商标本身并非图形商标,而是作为人偶基础造型的立体商标。在案证据体现的乐高积木玩具商品在使用过程中,人偶的形象在不同场景中表现为不同形态,不同的颜色及配饰导致人偶外观也产生显著变化,因此,不同时期及不同场景的玩偶形象与诉争商标所呈现的形象缺乏一致性和关联性。

考虑到实际使用中,玩具人偶的基础结构包括头部、身体、四肢的简化结构,在不同类别的商品中也存在类似基本结构的玩偶,在案证据中体现的多类别玩偶长期作为玩具的部分配件形式出现,因此,相关公众不能从长期、多类变化的形象归类总结玩偶的基础结构特征,也不能将其与产品的提供者产生直接唯一的联系,在案证据所体现的证据使用,不足以证明诉争商标经宣传使用,具备商标注册的显著性,已被相关公众识别。

因此,法官提示企业或个人在注册商标时,应当以相关公众为主体,从标志与其指定使用的商品或服务的关系上,以及对标志的使用情况等方面进行判断。如果相关公众难以将某一标志识别为商标,该标志也不能起到识别商品来源的作用,则表明该标志缺乏显著性,无法作为商标注册。

摘自:北京知识产权法院

202164

全国首例直播带货场景商标权案宣判

日前,北京海淀法院宣判了一起全国首例认定直播带货场景下的直播平台为电商平台的商标权案。该案中,赛饰贸易(上海)有限公司发现莱州市弘宇工艺品有限公司在抖音平台售卖带有“AGATHA”字样和其特定图标的手提包,因此以侵害商标专用权为由,将弘宇公司、北京微播视界科技有限公司诉至法院。

海淀法院经审理,一审判决弘宇公司赔偿赛饰公司经济损失30万元及合理开支10598元。此外,法院认定微播公司作为抖音平台运营者,系电子商务平台经营者。鉴于微播公司就被诉行为履行了事前审核、提示,以及事后及时处置等措施,已尽到合理注意义务,因此不应承担责任。

法院审理认为,结合涉案商标的图样、核定使用的商品类别、涉案商品及其价签上的被诉标识、赛饰公司未将涉案商标转授权给第三人等事实,以及弘宇公司未提交充分的证据证明其行为符合商标法关于销售商免责的规定,弘宇公司销售涉案商品,违反了商标法第五十七条第三项之规定,构成侵权。

关于抖音平台所属平台类型的认定,法院认为随着互联网技术的创新和网络营销模式的多样化,当前开展电子商务活动的平台已经不再局限于传统的以电子商务为其主营业务的平台,互联网直播平台、互联网音视频平台等以生产、提供内容为主营业务的平台,也逐渐为其用户提供网络直播营销服务;对于后者,如其为交易各方实际提供的服务本身符合前述电子商务法的相关定义,则亦应认定其所运营的平台系电子商务平台。据此,综合本案中抖音平台用户可通过开通“商品橱窗”功能从事互联网营销活动,抖音平台的直播界面显示有涉案商品的名称、图片、价格等信息,用户点击抖音平台中“商品橱窗”后未跳转至其他平台即直接进入商品页面,抖音用户可在其抖音账号中直接查询其购买涉案商品的订单信息,观看直播时需点击抖音平台界面中的购物车才可进入小店平台完成购物等事实,认定抖音平台系以提供网络直播营销服务的形式在其平台中为交易各方提供了交易撮合、信息发布等服务,供交易各方独立开展交易活动的平台,属于电子商务平台;微播公司作为抖音平台运营者,系电子商务平台经营者。

该案系全国首例认定直播带货场景下的直播平台为电商平台的案件,亦是《网络直播营销管理办法(试行)》施行以来对该类平台性质进行认定的首个司法案例。该案及时回应了直播平台主播带货模式下的有关法律问题,既为网络直播营销平台进一步规范行为提供了指引,也为类案裁判提供了参考视角。

摘自:人民网

202169

关于专利侵权判断中“为生产经营目的”的认定——(2020)最高法知民终831

专利法第十一条第一款所称“为生产经营目的”既不能简单等同于从事营利性活动,也不能仅仅根据专利实施主体的机构性质认定,而应着眼于专利实施行为本身,综合考虑该行为是否属于市场活动、是否影响专利权人市场利益等因素。政府机关、事业单位、公益机构等主要从事公共管理、社会服务、公益事业活动的主体实施专利、参与市场活动、可能损害专利权人市场利益的,可以认定其行为构成“为生产经营目的”。

上诉人焦蕊丽与被上诉人中国农业科学院饲料研究所(以下简称饲料研究所)、北京市大兴区农业农村局(以下简称大兴区农业局)侵害发明专利权纠纷案中,涉及专利号为ZL03143241.7、名称为“一种增乳壮牛中药饲料添加剂及制备方法”的发明专利(以下简称涉案专利)。焦蕊丽认为,饲料研究所、大兴区农业局未经许可,在2006-2008年的科技合作项目中使用了涉案专利方法、制造了涉案专利产品,故向北京知识产权法院(以下简称一审法院)提起诉讼,请求判令饲料研究所、大兴区农业局停止侵害并赔偿经济损失及维权合理开支2618180元。

一审法院认为,饲料研究所属于事业单位,大兴区农业局属政府机关,二者均不具备生产经营的资质,且无证据显示二者合作项目的实施系以生产经营为目的,被诉侵权行为不符合“为生产经营目的”的专利侵权要件,故判决驳回了焦蕊丽的诉讼请求。焦蕊丽不服,向最高人民法院提起上诉,主张一审法院关于被诉侵权行为不具有“生产经营目的”的认定错误。

最高人民法院于20201125日判决撤销原判,饲料研究所赔偿焦蕊丽经济损失60万元及维权合理开支1.5万元,大兴区农业局对其中21.5万元承担连带赔偿责任。

最高人民法院二审认为,专利法将“为生产经营目的”作为专利侵权构成的要件之一,系出于合理平衡专利权人和社会公众利益之目的。

在专利侵权判定时,对“为生产经营目的”的理解,应着眼于具体的被诉侵权行为,综合考虑该行为是否属于参与市场活动、是否影响专利权人市场利益等因素,既不能将“为生产经营目的”简单等同于从事营利性活动;又不能仅仅根据实施主体的机构性质认定其是否具有生产经营目的。

即使政府机关、事业单位等主体具有公共服务、公益事业等属性,其自身不以生产经营为目的,但其实施了市场活动、损害了专利权人市场利益的,仍可认定具备“为生产经营目的”之要件。本案中,虽然饲料研究所、大兴区农业局开展科技合作旨在促进科研成果向生产力转化,引导和支持大兴区农业转型发展,带有一定的公共服务和公益事业属性,不直接以生产经营为目的。但是,饲料研究所和大兴区农业局在第二期科技合作中,通过大兴区政府提供资金资助、饲料研究所提供科技成果,形成“院区合作+示范基地+农户”的模式。饲料研究所、大兴区农业局生产的奶牛天然物饲料添加剂产品已经在大兴区主要奶牛场、畜场进行了示范和推广,取得了很好的效果。

据统计,双方在第二期科技合作中共计培训技术人员和农民10320人(次),使4500余农户直接受益,创造直接经济效益1.14亿元。可见,涉案项目产生了一定经济效益,并使农民直接获利。

饲料研究所、大兴区农业局制造、使用涉案专利产品和方法的行为不可避免会侵占焦蕊丽涉案专利的可能市场,损害专利权人的市场利益,故饲料研究所、大兴区农业局的相关行为具备“为生产经营目的”之要件。

摘自:最高人民法院知识产权法庭

2021615

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