Chinese Supreme Court’s New Patent Infringement Trial Rules Effective on 2016.4.1

Chinese Supreme Court recently issues its judicial rules regarding patent infringement trial, which will be effective since April 1, 2016. The judicial rules touch a plurality of substantial issues (damages, injunction, SEP, claim construction, etc.) in patent infringement.

A brief index is as follows. 

Article 1 [Pleading requirement: designating specific claims]

Article 2 [Dismiss the lawsuit immediately after patent being invalidated by PRB]

Article 3 [Stay of court trial if claim construction is impossible]

Articles 4-13 [Claim Construction], in particular, Article 8 [Functional claim feature]

Articles 14-17 [Design patent infringement]

Article 21 [Contributory and Induced Infringement]

Article 22-23 [Prior art defense]

Article 24 [SEP]

Article 25 [Exception of Injunction against end users of infringing products]

Article 26 [Exception of Injunction in view of public interest or national interest]

Article 27 [Evidence burden shifting to defendant in deciding damages]

Article 28 [Damages being agreed upon in advance]

Article 29-30  [Review of effective judgment after patent being invalidated]

Article 31 [Effective since April 1, 2016]

The non-official English translation is here: 

SPC Patent Infringement Trial Rules (2016.4.1) CN&EN

INTRODUCTION OF PATENT ADMINISTRATIVE ENFORCEMENT IN CHINA

Further to the new version of Measures on Patent Administrative Enforcement of July 01 last year, the China State Intellectural Property Office releases a new Guidelines for Patent Administrative Enforcement on February 4, 2016 to guide the operations of respective local patent authorities.

Unlike the lengthy and exhausting patent infringment litigation before a court, the patent administrative enforcement is an alternative approach to protect your intellectual properties quickly, which may just take several months to get a result. With the new Measures and the new Guidelines, the administrative procedures are significantly improved and will play a crucial role in the future. People has started to realizing the advantages of this approach and will take advantage of it.

1. How to file an application for patent administrative enforcement?

A patentee or an interested person can become the applicant and file the application for patent admistrative enforcement. The interested person inlcudes a licensee of a patent licensing agreement and the patentee’s successor. Generally, the licensee refers to a solo licensee, who can file an application sololy, and an exlcusive licensee, who can file an application under a condition where the patentee waives the right. Unless otherwise specified in the license agreement, a simple licensee cannot file the application sololy.

However, in practice, a simple license actually provides a good way for an oversea patentee to file an application. Sometimes, a patentee would not like to give a solo license or an exclusive license. But, it is really unconvenient for them to do it themselves. One reason may be the requirements of notarization and legalization for preparing materials. Another reason may be the time comsumption of communication and delivery of documents and evidences. In this situation, it can give a simple license to an entity in China. The requirement for the license is that it shall specifically grant the right for filing an application and suing the defendant in China to the Chinese entity. By the way of such a simple license, the patentee will fully benefit from the express procedure of the patent administrative enforcement.

Another thing is that the application can be filed with the local Patent authorities, rather than the court. The jurisdiction of the case shall be the place where the domicile of the defendant is located or at the place of infringement. The place of infringement includes the place where the infringment act is carried out and the place where the result of infringement is.

2. How long will it take to get a decision?

A local patent authority has three months to make a decision and this timelimit can be prolonged by one month.

In some cases, the patentees felt that the actual time taken by the procedure was a little bit longer than that timelimit. This is becaue the start of the procedure is the date when the local patent authority accepts the application, rather than the date when the applicant file the application. Another reason is that the time for services of public notice, judicial apprasal, suspension and so on will be excluded from the timelimit.

Since the timelimit is short, if it is easy to detect the infringement in the patent used in the application, it will help the local patent authority to make a decision. In this regard, an utility model patent or a design patent might be a good choice to be used in the patent administrative enforcement.

3. Whether to file a patent evaluation report and when to file it?

In China, a patentee or a licensee of a utility model patent or a design patent can request a patent evaluation report from the Patent Office to faciliate the procedure of patent administrateive enforcement.

The patent evaluation report is not a compulsory document for filing the application. However, it is a factor for the authority to determine whether to suspend a case.

Thus, it might be benefitial if the applicant request early and submit the patent evaluation report at the time of application filing. On one hand, it may be useful to avoid a suspension of the case. On the other hand, it may help the applicant to preliminarily determine the validity of the patent to be used.

4. Rapid Enforcement

Generally, in the litigation before the court of China, there are two instances for a case. This is, even if the patentee gets a favorable judgement through a lengthy procedure before a first court, the judgement will not take into effect and he still have to wait for the defendant to appeal in a higher court, which is another lenthy and exhausting procedure.

Unlike the court procedure, the administrative decision will come in to effect immediately after being made. It can be enforced even if the defendant apeals to the court for the decision.

This will give a great benefit to the patentees, because justice delayed is justice denied. Through the patent administrative enforcement, the insterest of the patentee will be protected timely.

5. Conclusion

The patent administrative enforcement provide a patentee with a rapid and efficient way to enforce his right. However, the patentee’s interest will not be protected automatically without a effort. There are still a lot of work to do. For example, what patent to choose, how to select a jurisdiction, how to avoid a suspension, how to use the decision to stop the infringement such as through a patent administrative authority or through a online e-economy platform, and so on.

In a word, the measure of the administrative procedure shall be a part of the IP strategies and shall comprehensively be linked with other measures.

印度关于计算机相关发明的专利审查规则的最新变化

最近,一则关于印度取消软件专利申请的报道(参见http://tech.163.com/16/0224/10/BGJ67QMV000915BF.html),给众多国内企业带来了许多疑惑,尤其是对于希望在印度申请专利的软件相关企业。

报道称,印度专利设计和商标管理局于2016年2月19日发布了新法令,印度不再保护与计算机相关的软件专利不再受法律。乍一得到这个消息,很多国内企业前来咨询,迫切想知道,他们的与软件相关的技术将来如何在印度得到保护。

那么,软件专利申请是否真的在印度不受保护了么?

1、印度关于计算机相关发明的最新变化

大多数消息的来源都指向了科技网站ZDNet(http://www.zdnet.com/article/indian-government-says-no-to-patenting-software/)。为了搞清印度关于软件专利的最新变化,笔者在查阅了ZDNet网站之后,还查阅了印度专利局网站(http://www.ipindia.nic.in/)。

根据印度专利局网上公布的信息,印度的确在2016年2月19日发布了一个专利局令,公布并实施了新的CRI审查指南。

但是,仅仅根据上述报道,大多数人可能会误解这个专利局令及CRI(Computer Related Invention)审查指南。

首先,修改的仅仅是审查指南,印度专利法并没有改变。换句话说,现在不合法的东西,之前也不合法。从这个方面来说,其实,哪些是可授权的主题,哪些是不可授权的主题,在印度印度并没有变化。

那么产生变化的是什么呢?产生变化的是对于在计算机相关发明中哪些主题属于可授权主题的具体判断方式。

其次,报道中认为,与计算机相关的软件专利不再受法律保护。这也是很容易误导读者的方面。

一方面,什么是“软件专利”?这在报道中其实是一个比较混乱的概念。

一般读者在看过所述报道之后所理解的软件专利可能与所谓的CRI指南中的软件专利可能不是同一个含义。读者所理解的软件专利可能指的是能够通过软件来实现的技术方案。然而,CRI指南中的软件专利可能指的是智力活动的规则和方法、商业方法或软件本身等。这里,使用“可能”一词是由于目前印度专利局对于可授权主题的理解还比较混乱,后文会进行解释。

另外,CRI指南中所涉及的是计算机相关发明,而不是软件相关发明。而且,在CRI指南中提供的例子中,没有讨论主题是软件、存储介质等的权利要求。

另一方面,报道中称“软件专利不再受法律保护”,这一点容易产生误导,似乎软件本身之前在印度能够得到保护似的。这可能也是这个报道给人如此大的震撼的一个原因。

2CRI审查指南中关于计算机相关发明的审查规定

在修改的CRI审查指南中,关于计算机相关发明的可专利性,提供了三个标准:

(1)正确解释权利要求并确定实际贡献;

(2)如果贡献仅在于数学方法、商业方法或算法,则否定该权利要求。

(3)如果贡献在于计算机程序领域,则检查它是否与新颖的硬件相结合并进行其他步骤以确定发明的可专利性。计算机程序本身是绝对不可专利的。如果贡献仅在于计算机程序,则否定该权利要求。如果贡献在于计算机程序及硬件,则进行到其他确定专利性的步骤。

接着,在CRI审查指南中列举了15个例子,说明什么的技术主题是不可专利的。这些例子主要涉及的是商业方法、数学方法和算法。

从这些方面来看,修改的CRI指南采用了欧洲的所谓的“贡献论”的判决可授权主题的方式,或者说通过“技术特性(technical character)”来判断可授权主题的方式。

从某些方面来说,实际上,修改后的CRI审查指南与中国、欧洲的实践是比较相似的,并没有太大的改变。

3、关于CRI指南的评价

采用“技术特性”的判断方式,是欧洲专利局所提出的一个比较失败的方法。从始至终,欧洲专利局也没有能够为“技术特性”给出一个明确的定义。最终结果造成了欧洲关于这个方面的审查的混乱。正像欧洲专利局扩大上诉委员会就IBM的专利申请所评述的那样,对于一个技术的方案,在其中增加了某些内容,反而使得该方案变成非技术的了,这不符合逻辑。

印度专利局修改的CRI指南采用了这种不确定的判断方式。例如,在这个指南中没有为“商业方法”给出一个明确的定义。这让申请人无从把握什么样的方法是商业方法?什么样的方法不是商业方法?如果一个方案无法在商业上应用,那么各个申请人还会有兴趣和动力来申请专利么?从这个方面来说,是不是所有的专利都是商业上可行的,或者商业方法?

可以预见,印度专利局采用的这种方式实际上是不具有可操作性的,最终的审查尺度可能会由审查员来把握,而没有一定的标准,这会带来许多混乱。以后,印度专利局应该会纠正这个错误。但是,何时能认识到并纠正这个错误,目前还无法预测。

4、对于申请专利的指导意义

对于有意在印度申请专利的申请人来说,可以明确两个方面。一方面,仍然可以就与计算机相关的发明在印度申请专利。另一方面,在印度申请专利时有一些注意事项。

第一,在撰写专利说明书时,应当强调现有技术的“技术”难度、“技术”缺陷。这里需要说明的是,关于什么是“技术”,在认识上还存在很大混乱。在撰写时,应当选择那些公认有“技术性”问题作为撰写的出发点,例如,如何使得机器运转更快、散热较小、功耗降低等等。

第二,根据CRI指南中所给出的例子,在撰写时应当尽量避免使用容易让审查员向着“商业方法”、数学公式等方面联想的词,例如,决策、积分、利息、计算、库存等。

当然,上述两个方面,对于中国专利申请,也同样适用。

转载:Unwired Planet在诉三星和华为专利侵权案中取得首场胜利

Carpmaels & Ransford LLP的简讯转载

英国法院判定标准必要专利有效并且遵照LTE标准必然侵权

本周早些时候,英国专利法院对Unwired Planet发起的一系列专利侵权纠纷作出了第一项判决。这些侵权纠纷涉及的专利都是Unwired Planet从爱立信(Ericsson)购买获得的。Unwired Planet声称这项判决涉及的专利对4G移动通信LTE标准是必要的,因而三星和华为两家公司生产的符合LTE标准的产品必然侵犯了该专利。审理此案的法官Mr Justice Birss判定该专利有效并且被侵权。涉及其它五项专利的技术审判定于2016年进行,之后还会有一项非技术审判对FRAND授权和违反公平竞争原则的一些事项作出判决。

此案法官考虑了一系列相关问题,包括权利要求解释、优先权要求、专利有效性、侵权认定、以及专利的标准必要性判定。其中,在权利要求解释和侵权/专利标准必要性方面,法官分析了LTE标准草案应如何实施以及该专利的权利要求是否应该涵盖LTE标准中的可选方案。在优先权要求方面,因为对权利要求给与了广义解释,但优先权申请文本只提供了一些特定实施例,由此出现了该专利是否在权利要求整个保护范围内都享有优先权的问题。法官最终判定该专利的优先权要求有效,理由是权利要求的保护范围与优先权申请作出的技术贡献是‘相匹配’的。

此案还涉及到了相关日期的考虑。该专利的优先权申请是提交给美国专利商标局的一个临时申请(provisional application)。爱立信,即当时的申请人,在提交这个临时申请的‘同一天’就同一发明向标准化组织的工作小组提交了一份工作文本草稿。在此案审理的过程中,被告方提出了该专利缺乏新颖性的抗辩,依据是按照某一特定时区(夏威夷地区)考虑,爱立信这份工作文本的公开时间比该优先权申请的申请日早一天,因而该工作文本应被认为是该专利申请的现有技术从而剥夺了该发明的新颖性。法官拒绝了这一抗辩,认定相关日期应该按照美国专利商标局所在地的时区考虑,所以该优先权申请提交的时间和该工作文本的公开时间都落在同一天,因而该工作文本不属于现有技术。

判决书全文可在这里这里查阅。

 

 

Dr. Song LiuPing (VP of HUAWEI) Comments on SIPO’s SEP Regulation as “Disarming Chinese Domestic Companies”

On Nov 7, 2015, Dr. Song LiuPing, VP of HUAWEI, was invited to give a speech in a national IP forum. Dr. Song spoke on SEP (Standard Essential Patents). The full text of his speech is available here(《宋柳平:全面深刻准确地再认识标准必要专利》).

I think Dr. Song made two critical points. 

1. Given the fact that International standards (e.g., telecommunication standards) involve certain extremely complicated issues, such as SSO organization, parties negotiation, international adoption and national application,  it seems premature for Chinese regulators (SIPO, NDRC, MOFCOM, etc.) to make rules at this stage. There is a dangerous risk that regulators might simplify the circumstances. 

2. In particular, Dr. Song comments on Art. 85 of the draft of pending patent amendment bill, which proposes to impose restrictions on how to enforce SEPs contained in Chinese national standards. However, Dr. Song pointed out that such a legislation scheme is likely to create a double standard for international SEP holders and domestic SEP holders. For example, assuming China voluntarily adopts an international standard as a domestic one, the Chinese patent law will not be applied to the international SEP holders.  In this case, the Chinese companies are “disarmed” by its own regulators.  

HUAWEI might be the first Chinese company who publicly criticized the pending antitrust legislation drafts involving SEP.  As a background information, HUAWEI is said to be the biggest SEP holders in China. According to an earlier report in 2013, HUAWEI contributes a large share of SEPs to LTE (Long Term Evolution, which is alleged to be the 4G communication standard).  A more recent report issued by Samsung in 2014 says that HUAWEI owns about 3% of SEPs in LTE. 

 

转载:Global Antitrust Institute 对发改委的《国务院反垄断委员会 关于滥用知识产权的反垄断指南(征求意见稿)》的回复

Global Antitrust Institute(GAI)对发改委的《国务院反垄断委员会 关于滥用知识产权的反垄断指南(征求意见)》提出了建议,虽然观点可能和发改委有较大分歧,但笔者认为还是比较精彩,值得学习和研究,附件是中英文。

gai-ndrc-comment_11-12-15_final

gai-ndrc-comment_11-12-15_final-cn-translation

转载: German court awards injunction to NPE in first post-Huawei v ZTE standard essential patent decision

在Sisvel v. Haier之间的涉及SEP的专利诉讼中(Hair是被告,Sisvel是专利权人),德国法院在2015年11月3日作出决定,给予Sisvel禁令救济。本案是欧盟关于Huawei v. ZTE之后的第一个判例。

值得注意的是,适用Huawei v. ZTE一案中确定的规则,法院额外要求,在被告(涉嫌侵权者)拒绝专利权人的offer之后,应当立即提出counter-offer,并专利权人拒绝counter-offer之后的1个月内提供相关账号和担保。

更多内容请阅读 IAM blog《German court awards injunction to NPE in first post-Huawei v ZTE standard essential patent decision》

知识产权滥用的反垄断指南(征求意见稿)【Antitrust Guidelines for Abuse of IP (NDRC’s Draft for Public Comments)】

节选:

三、涉及知识产权的滥用市场支配地位行为

 (一)不公平的高价许可费

权利人有权就其知识产权获得合理的经济补偿,这是弥补其研发投入和激励创新的基本动力,权利人收取许可费的行为,通常不会受到《反垄断法》的规制。但是,如果权利人滥用其具有的市场支配地位,向被许可人收取不公平的高价许可费,会排除、限制竞争,损害消费者利益。

分析和认定知识产权权利人是否收取不公平的高价许可费,可考虑以下因素:

  1. 相关知识产权许可历史或者可比照的许可费标准;
  2. 权利人是否超过知识产权覆盖的范围收取许可费;
  3. 权利人是否迫使被许可人接受不合理的许可方式或者许可期限;
  4. 权利人进行一揽子许可时是否迫使被许可人接受过期或者无效的知识产权。

(二)拒绝许可

拒绝许可是权利人行使知识产权的一种表现形式,一般情况下,权利人不承担与竞争对手或者交易相对人进行交易的义务。但是,具有市场支配地位的知识产权权利人无正当理由拒绝许可,同时符合下列条件的,可能排除、限制竞争:

  1. 拒绝许可可能导致相关市场上的竞争或者创新受到不利影响,损害消费者利益或者公共利益;
  2. 许可该知识产权不会对权利人造成损害。

拒绝许可的正当理由,需要在个案中根据具体情况进行分析,通常考虑的因素包括:被拒绝的潜在被许可人缺乏必要的质量、技术保障或支付许可费的能力,能够确保技术的正当使用或者产品的安全和性能;被拒绝的潜在被许可人使用知识产权行为可能会对节约能源、保护环境等社会公共利益产生不利影响等。

(三)搭售

搭售是指权利人就一项知识产权以许可、转让等方式行使时,违背交易相对人的意愿要求其接受另一项知识产权的许可或转让,或者从权利人处或者权利人所指定的第三人处购买某种商品。

搭售可能对相关市场的竞争产生不利影响,主要表现为排除了被搭售品市场中其他供应商的交易机会,并损害了消费者的选择权。同时,搭售也可能对相关市场的竞争产生有利影响,主要表现为可以降低交易成本,促进产品功能的完善等。

具有市场支配地位的经营者没有正当理由,违背交易惯例、消费习惯等或者无视不同知识产权或商品的性质及相互关系,将不同知识产权,或者知识产权与商品强制捆绑销售或者组合销售,并且使该经营者将其在搭售品市场的支配地位延伸到被搭售品市场,可能排除、限制竞争。

搭售的正当理由,需要在个案中进行具体分析。如果搭售是基于技术兼容、产品安全、产品性能、交易成本等方面的考虑而实施的,可能被认为具有正当理由。

(四)附加不合理的交易条件

具有市场支配地位的权利人在交易中附加下列限制条件,可能排除、限制竞争:

  1. 要求交易相对人将其改进的技术进行独占性回授;
  2. 禁止交易相对人对其知识产权的有效性提出质疑,或者针对其提起知识产权侵权诉讼;
  3. 限制交易相对人利用竞争性的商品或者技术;
  4. 对过期或者无效的知识产权主张权利;
  5. 禁止交易相对人与第三方进行交易,或者对交易相对人与第三方的交易行为在对象选择、交易地域等交易条件方面进行限制。

(五)差别待遇

一般来说,知识产权权利人对不同的被许可人实施不同的许可条件,是权利人的自由。但是,具有市场支配地位的知识产权权利人对被许可人实施差别待遇,同时符合下列条件的,可能排除、限制竞争:

  1. 拒绝被许可人提出与其他被许可人实质相同的交易条件;
  2. 差别待遇对被许可人参与相关市场的公平竞争产生了显著不利影响。

分析和认定是否构成差别待遇,在考虑被许可人的交易条件是否与其他交易对象实质相同时,主要从权利人的角度考量不同许可行为的交易成本是否相同。同时,还会综合考虑该知识产权的用途和使用该知识产权生产产品的属性、销售范围、销售量、销售额与利润率等因素。

四、涉及标准必要专利的知识产权行使行为 继续阅读

北京市高级人民法院 关于网络知识产权案件的审理指南(征求意见稿)

最近,北京高院发布了《北京市高级人民法院有关网络知识产权案件的审理指南(征求意见稿)》,信息量很大,尤其是第35条吸收了这几年来互联网公司(搜索引擎百度、输入法搜狗、安全软件360、浏览器UC公司、视频内容网站youku等)之间不正当竞争的判决思路:

35、被告通过信息网络实施下列行为之一,足以损害原告合法权益、扰乱正常的市场交易秩序、违背公平竞争原则、且违反诚实信用原则和公认的商业道德的,可以认定为反不正当竞争法第二条规定的不正当竞争行为:

  • (1)未经许可,擅自使用能够为原告增加交易机会和竞争优势的网站内容,并足以替代消费者对原告网站的访问,致使原告合法权益受到损害的;
  • (2)未经许可,且无合理理由,修改原告搜索栏中的下拉提示词,致使原告合法权益受到损害的;
  • (3)未经许可,且无合理理由,利用原告网站的访问量,在其界面弹出广告,致使原告合法权益受到损害的;
  • (4)未经许可,且无合理理由,干扰原告所从事经营活动的完整性,致使原告合法权益受到损害的;
  • (5)其他构成反不正当竞争法第二条规定的情形。

在笔者看来,上述第35条大致体现了北京高院的石必胜法官提出“非公益必要不干扰”原则。

不过,一些学者并不同意以此种方式来适用《反》第2条,例如薛军教授曾撰文《质疑“非公益必要不干扰原则”》(《电子知识产权》2015年第1-2期,第66页)。此外,薛军教授在某次研讨会上的发言互联网不正当竞争的民法视角也鲜明阐述了他的反对意见,笔者在此摘录其中部分精辟论述如下:

现在不少法院在处理互联网企业提出的不正当竞争诉讼的时候,频繁运用《反不正当竞争法》第二条。这一条在性质上是个一般条款。法官的理由是,互联网领域的许多行为无法纳入到传统的框架之中,因此必须借助于一般条款来进行裁判。但问题是,无法纳入典型的不正当竞争行为框架之中的行为,在性质上完全可能仅仅构成一种侵权行为。因为根据民法学界的通说,侵权行为中也包括了故意以违背善良风俗的方法导致他人损失的“不典型的”侵权行为。我们不能仅仅因为某种权益侵害行为具有不典型的特征,就认为它可以理所当然地被纳入不正当竞争法的规制领域。考虑到在是否存在竞争关系的界定中,对于广义竞争关系理论的引入,使得这一控制性要件已经基本上虚化,那么注意二者之间的差别就尤其重要。

 这二者之间的差别是什么?一言以蔽之,《反不正当竞争法》第二条的一般条款,在适用上应该更加严格,不能仅仅要考虑相关个体利益的微观层面,还要考虑国家的竞争政策和竞争秩序的宏观层面。尤其需要避免的是,在司法政策的导向上,依据反不正当竞争法第二条认定是否构成不正当竞争行为,反而比依据侵权法认定是否构成侵权行为更加宽松。我前面提到的“向反不正当竞争法的逃逸”现象,恰恰可能就是某种过于宽松的反不正当竞争行为的认定思路所导致的。

 作为例子,我想评析一下最近一段时间颇受关注的几个与不正当竞争行为认定有关的司法导向,作为我上面提出来的理论分析的具体运用。一个就是有法官提出来的“非公益必要不干扰原则”。我之所以认为这个原则不是很妥当,最主要的考虑就是,这样一个提法,其实是降低了不正当竞争行为认定的门槛。这一思路,把某一特定类型的案件(具体来说就是安全软件运营者之间发生商业模式冲突的案件)处理中可能要考虑的一个因素,毫无依据地上升到法律一般原则的层面,把关于不正当竞争行为的认定,进行了过于简单化的处理。这种思路(包括后续提出来的所谓和平共处原则)把企业之间展开的正常竞争行为界定为“干扰行为”,言下之意是要行为人自己证明其行为是出于维护公共利益的考虑,否则就不能去“干扰”别人。这种思路与鼓励市场主体自由竞争,以及对于任何市场竞争行为应该首先推定其具有正当性的思路可谓南辕北辙,甚至突破了民法层面上在界定民事责任的时候,特别强调要在行为自由的维护与相关权益的保障之间寻求合理均衡的底线。以其作为认定不正当竞争行为的原则,是很危险的。

 另外,在司法实践中,也有法官提出了“地盘”理论。基于“谁的地盘谁做主”这样的直观理念,将侵入了他人地盘的行为界定为不正当竞争行为。但这个思路也值得反思。地盘不是一个严格的法律上的概念,至多只是一个比喻性的说法。“地盘”通常情况下是指某个企业的商业模式,那么这个商业模式是不是已经达到了可以被认定为构成类似于绝对权一样的权利?是否具有了法律意义上的不可侵犯性(用学理上的话来说,就是其利益归属的指引功能如此强大,以至于可以认为相关的侵入他人地盘的行为,一旦给他人造成损害,其行为自动具有了推定的不法性)?我认为这种“地盘”理论所试图概括的利益状态,并没有达到构成绝对权所需要的密度,因此在司法实践层面上加以运用的时候要格外谨慎。德国学理上有营业权概念,实践上试图通过这一概念来保护非典型的与企业运营相关的利益。但这种营业权在性质上属于框架权,侵犯这种框架权并不当然具有不法性,法官对于相关的案件要进行非常慎重的利益衡量,就个案所涉及的具体行为,来判断是否具有违法性。营业权这个概念,本身虽然有权利的名称,但没有被认为具有绝对权的属性。从这个角度而言,德国司法实践中对于非属于绝对权的营业利益的保护范围,其实施加了严格的限制。认定相关的行为是否具有民事层面上的不法性尚且如此严格,认定其是否构成不正当竞争行为当然需要采取更加严格的标准。只有这样才符合制度设计的内在逻辑。

笔者试图简单概括薛军教授的观点:

  1. 《反不正当竞争法(1993)》第二条的适用应该比《侵权责任法(2009)》更严格,现在这种“向反不正当竞争法逃逸”的现象是不太正常的。
  2. 某些法院判决所认定的构成不正当竞争的“干扰”,实际上是企业之间的正常竞争,因为商业模式并不等于“权利”(或不可侵犯的“利益”)。

本次征求意见稿是否会再次激起学界和实务界的激烈讨论,可以拭目以待。

 

Top Chinese Patent Litigations in 2014

I am invited as a panel speaker of the 4th Annual US-China IP Conference, co-hosted by Berkeley Law School, Loyola Law School, Renmin Law School, at SF on October 8-9, 2015.

For more information about the program, please visit the following links to the conference website:

My topic is Top Chinese patent cases in 2014, covering the following four patent cases.

  • 1. Huawei v. IDC
  • 2. GoerTek v. Knowles
  • 3. Nokia v. Huaqin
  • 4. Zhi Zhen v. Apple

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电视节目模式的可版权性探讨(Copyrightability of Reality TV Format)

【作者:左玉茹、宋海宁】

引言

随着真人秀类娱乐节目占据荧屏,电视节目模式(TV Program Format)开始受到社会各界的关注。真人秀类娱乐节目是一类所谓“无脚本”的节目,需要参与者在预先设定的情境中即时表演和自发反应。当然,这种所谓的“无脚本”是相对的,只是参与者的对白不会完全预先设定而已,但其中的情境设定、节目框架和流程、故事主线与推进等,均需要预先设计,更不必提舞美、灯光、布景等。真人秀节目的巨大商业成功,让电视节目模式的保护备受关注。与传统电视节目的吸引力在于故事情节的跌宕、演员的表演所不同的是,真人秀节目的吸引力在于参与者所展现的真实反映,这种真实反映本身是不能复制的,但却可以完全用另一波演员来重现。竞争者只需要设定相同的情境、节目框架和流程、故事主线和推进等,用一批不同的参与者,即可重现真人秀节目的吸引力。因此,对于真人秀节目而言,价值更高的元素转变为情境设计、节目框架和流程、故事主线和推进方式,这些元素的集合也就是节目模式的最初形态。

电视节目模式自受人关注到迅猛发展,其实先后不过几十年时间,它的生命是年轻而富有活力的,也是这份年轻和活力让它不断发展变化,今天的电视节目模式已经从最初节目制作人的一个简单的idea具化为一部厚重的节目制作宝典(Format Bible)。

继续阅读

中国互联网技术创新观察报告(2014)

【笔者参与了本报告的调研和编写工作,发布单位:北京大学法学院互联网法律中心  & 中国科学技术法学会

目录

中国互联网技术创新观察报告(2014… 1

前言… 7

l      互联网专利技术更新的速度… 7

l      国内外企业在中国的专利布局概况… 8

l      国内企业的创新状况… 8

l      中国互联网产业创新面临的挑战… 9

数据统计方法说明… 10

l      数据库来源… 10

l      工具软件… 10

l      统计方法… 10

l      统计方法之局限性… 11

互联网各技术领域专利分析… 13

概述… 13

1.即时通讯领域… 14

2.互联网支付领域… 19

3. 网络游戏领域… 25

4.社交网络领域… 30

5.搜索引擎领域… 35

6.网络安全领域… 38

7.大数据时代的云计算领域… 41

8.小米的专利分析… 45

9.Google的专利分析… 47

结论… 50

特别说明… 52

全文下载:互联网技术创新观察报告(2014)

Google隐私案概述及对欧洲个人数据保护的影响

一.           Google Spain AEPDMario Costeja一案概述

  1. 相关事实及法律焦点

1998年,西班牙报纸先锋报(La Vanguardia)在其印刷版发布两条消息,涉及从社保所产生的强制出售物业债务。该公告是依据于西班牙劳动和社会事务部(Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs)的指令而发布,目的是为了吸引尽可能多的投标人来参与拍卖。后来,该报纸的网络版也在互联网上提供。报纸上公布的一个物业属于马里奥·冈萨雷斯(Mario Costeja González),他的名字出现在拍卖公报中[1]。

2009年11月,Costeja联系该报纸并抱怨说,当他的名字被输入到谷歌搜索引擎时,会显示这份拍卖公告。Costeja认为强制拍卖已经结束了十几年,不再有相关性,因此要求报社把有关他的数据删除。报社回答说,数据删除是不恰当的,因为这份公告是基于劳动和社会事务部西班牙的命令而发布的。

2010年2月,Costeja联系了谷歌的西班牙子公司(以下简称“谷歌(西班牙)”),要求其将对上述通告的链接删除。谷歌(西班牙)把该请求发到注册于美国加利福尼亚州的谷歌公司,并认为谷歌公司才是负责这件事的恰当主体。

随后,Costeja向西班牙数据保护局(AEPD)提出诉讼,要求:

  • (1) 报社删除或更改这些页面以使得与原告有关的个人信息不再显示,或者使用搜索引擎工具来保护这些信息;
  • (2) Google删除或隐藏与原告有关的个人信息,以使得这些信息不再出现在搜索结果或搜索链接中。

2010年7月30日,APED判决:

  • (1)驳回原告针对报社的起诉,理由在于:报社对涉案信息的公开是合法的,其根据劳动社会事务部的要求进行的公开,并且其目的在于最大程度地宣传所述拍卖以吸引尽可能多的竞拍者;
  • (2) 支持原告针对Google的起诉,理由在于:搜索引擎的经营者需遵守信息保护法,因为他们从事的是他们必须承担责任的信息处理,并且他们是信息社会的媒介。[2]

针对AEPD的决定,谷歌(西班牙)和谷歌公司随后向西班牙国家高等法院提起上诉,上诉是基于以下四点:

  • (1)   谷歌公司不受欧盟指令95/46 / EC(以下称《数据保护指令》)的管辖,而谷歌(西班牙)也不对搜索引擎负责;
  • (2)   在搜索功能中,并没有针对个人数据的“处理”操作;
  • (3)   即使存在“处理”操作,谷歌公司或谷歌(西班牙)也不应被视为“数据控制者”;
  • (4)   任何情况下,数据主体(Costeja)都没有权利去删除合法出版的资料。

受理本案之后,西班牙高院中止了审理,并请求欧盟法院(Court of Justice of EU针对上述法律问题预先给出裁决。具体而言,西班牙高院认为本案涉及的法律问题为:

当第三方网站公布的特定信息包含可将该信息与个人联系起来的个人信息时,如果该个人不同意该特定信息被定位、索引、或无限制地可被网民获取,搜索引擎经营者负有何种义务来保护个人信息?该问题的回答取决于在新的背景下该如何适用和解释Directive 95/46,该法律在搜索引擎出现之前的1995年实施。”[3]

继续阅读

专利交易的统计和趋势分析

【注:本文已经发表在《科技与法律》2015年第4期,链接http://journal.chinalawinfo.com/Article_Info.asp?Id=207123

一、           近年的专利交易概述

由于大多数专利交易都是保密进行,一直以来研究专利交易面临的最大困难是如何获取原始数据。很多机构、个人花费了大量时间和精力来收集原始数据,主要有以下三方面的来源:

  • 第一,相关数据来源于交易方的主动披露。例如,交易方是上市公司,有义务对相关的交易进行披露。或者,出于公司的战略需求,交易方有时也对自己的交易进行主动公告。
  • 第二,专利交易之后需要在专利局进行登记,从而专利局公开的转让信息也从为研究提供了重要线索。但是,许多转让是登记在空壳实体之下,加之众多交易涉及到了兼并、收购和证券交易,而非一组资产从一个实体转移到另一个的单纯交易。这时需要专业人士对原始数据进行细致的梳理,才能捕获和理解众多交易背后的市场趋势。
  • 第三,来自中介机构(例如,专利交易经纪人)。作为圈里人,经纪人往往掌握着专利交易的第一手资料,因此可以对市场进行分析和预测,例如ROL Group的《2014 BROKERED PATENT MARKET》[1]。

针对过去5年的专利交易,很多机构已经作出了杰出的研究成果。笔者这里与读者分享两个例子:IPOffering的《Patent Value Quotient》[2]、AST(Allied Security Trust)的《Back in the old routine》[3]。 继续阅读

Recent Chinese Patent Legislation & Proposals

Recent Chinese Patent Legislation Proposal 

1. Chinese Patent Law Amendment Proposal

SIPO Patent Law Revision (for Public Comments)

2. Chinese Draft Service Invention Regulations

Draft Regulations on Service Inventions(Draft for Review)

3. Chinese Supreme Court’s Judicial Interpretation on Injunctions

SPC-Judicial Intepretation-on-Injunctions (for Public Comments)

4. SAIC’s IP Abuse Rule

Rules on Stopping the Abuse of Intellectual Property to Eliminate or Restrict Competitive Conduct (Effective Since Aug 1, 2015)

游戏产业的知识产权问题浅析【Recent IP Disputes in China Video Game Industry】

一.           游戏产业概述

根据WIPO的2014年的报告《Video Games and IP: A Global Perspective》,游戏产业已经成长为价值650亿美元的全球化产业。 游戏产业的分类以及相应特点归纳如下:

控制台 PC(电脑) 移动端
在专用硬件上运行 在Windows、Mac、Linux上运行 在平板或智能手机上运行
开发成本高 开发成本和游戏题材 开发成本低
游戏种类题材丰富 游戏平台没有唯一的控制人 社交和休闲类游戏
游戏被IP权利人所控制 主要以数字游戏销售为主 最大数量的潜在玩家
以游戏机销售为主,数字游戏销售为辅

近年来,随着智能手机的推广普及,手机游戏(简称“手游”)产业进入了爆炸性的增长期。根据中国游戏产业协会发布的《2014年中国游戏产业报告》,2014年手游实际销售收入为274.9亿,首次超过PC页面游戏(简称“页游”)。此外,根据腾讯数据开放平台等发布的《2014年手游市场年度数据分析报告》,2014年是手游行业爆发年,移动游戏的用户规模比2013年增长62.3% 。截至2014年11月中旬,手机网络游戏用户规模为5.04亿。

二.          中国游戏产业近期的IP纠纷

伴随着游戏产业的蓬勃发展,越来越多的创业团队投入到这一行业中,IP纠纷也频频出现。笔者关注到2014年至今的如下一些有较大影响的案件。

1. 暴雪、网易起诉成都七游(2015.3)

  •  侵权游戏:《全民魔兽:决战德拉诺》
  • 被侵犯的IP:《魔兽世界》的世界背景、角色、人物养成等要素
  • 法律焦点:著作权侵权、不正当竞争
  • 诉讼请求:停止侵权及赔偿
  • 当前状态:诉前禁令,禁止《全民魔兽:决战德拉诺》的发行、传播等。

点评:本案是中国法院针对游戏侵权的首例诉前禁令。2015年3月9日,广州知识产权法院裁定:禁止七游公司(及其合作伙伴)复制、发行及通过信息网络传播该游戏,该临时禁令将一直持续到做出判决时。(更多内容可以参见相关报道

2. 暴雪、网之易起诉上海游易(2014.12)

  •  侵权游戏:《卧龙传说》
  • 被侵犯的IP:《炉石传说:魔兽英雄传》的著作权(炉石标识、游戏界面、牌面设计、视频动画特效等)、游戏规则(卡牌构成、使用规则、基本战斗规则)
  • 法律焦点:著作权侵权、不正当竞争(虚假宣传、知名商品特有装潢、其他)
  • 诉讼请求:停止侵权及赔偿
  • 当前状态:已审结,上海一中院判决上海游易停止发行《卧龙传说》,赔礼道歉、赔偿共计38万元左右。

本案的判决书:暴雪娱乐有限公司等诉上海游易网络科技不正当竞争纠纷案暴雪娱乐有限公司等诉上海游易网络科技有限公司侵害著作权纠纷案

3. 暴雪投诉苏州蜗牛(2014.11)

  •  涉嫌侵权游戏:《太极熊猫》
  • 被侵权的IP:《魔兽》的游戏人物“熊猫”的形象
  • 法律焦点:著作权侵权
  • 请求:《太极熊猫》从苹果商店下架
  • 当前状态:进行中

点评:苹果、Google的应用商店都有投诉渠道,可以请求侵权产品下架,例如Apple Store的链接:http://www.apple.com/legal/intellectual-property/。关于本案的更多内容可以参见相关报道

4. 卓越游戏起诉昆仑万维(2014.11

  •  涉嫌侵权游戏:《超级MT》
  • 被侵犯的IP:《我叫MT》的著作权(改编权,涉及游戏的动漫形象、音乐、音效等)
  • 状态:进行中。 关于本案的更多内容可以参见报道

5. 畅游诉乐逗(2014.7

  •  侵权游戏:《三剑豪》
  • 被侵犯的IP:金庸原创的武侠小说中的人物、情节(金庸已经授权给畅游)
  • 当前状态:和解

点评:据报道,乐逗在2014年2月底已经秘密提交了上市申请,预计在2014年下半年赴美上市,因此畅游的起诉时机应该也是精心选择的。本案的更多内容可以参见报道

6. 畅游公司诉玩蟹科技(2013.10

  •  侵权游戏:《大掌门》
  • 被侵犯的IP:金庸原创的武侠小说中的人物、情节(金庸已授权给畅游)
  • 法律焦点:著作权侵权
  • 当前状态:双方和解,玩蟹科技支付费用,但只能在《大掌门》中低限度使用金庸小说的人物,且不能开发其余金庸元素产品。 关于本案的更多内容可以参见报道

7. 中国手游起诉北京赫德时代、成都手先酷动、深圳时代首游互动、北京最淘和南京昂信网络(2014.12

  •  侵权游戏:《小小忍者》、《全民火影》、《火影大人》、《火影世界3D》、《海贼VS火影》
  • 被侵犯的IP:《火影忍者》、《航海王》的IP
  • 当前状态:5款侵权游戏都已经下架

点评:根据报道,2014年8月份,中国手游与日本聚逸(GREE)株式会社共同合作研发基于《火影忍者》IP的卡牌手游,并负责在中国大陆地区进行发行和打击盗版工作。这表明了中国手游不仅有《火影忍者》的游戏改编权,还拥有打击盗版的权利,这也构成了中国手游开展维权行动的基础。

三.           手游产业的知识产权(IP

 1. 游戏涉及的知识产权(IP

继续阅读

Qualcomm Fined 6.088 Billion RMB and Required to Change Licensing Policy By Chinese Regulator

On February 9, Chinese National Development and Reformation Committee (hereinafter “NDRC”) made an administrative decision regarding the anti-monopoly investigation against Qualcomm Inc. Qualcomm is fined 6.088 billion RMB and required to change its licesning policy in at least five aspects.

The Chinese text of this decision is published today and available here:NDRC’s Decision – Qualcomm’s AML Case (Chinese)

This investigation started on November 2013. According to the staff of NDRC, during the past 14 months, Qualcomm held 28 meeting with NDRC, wherein Qualcomm’s CEO participated eight of these meetings. Probably because Qualcomm works with NDRC in a highly positive manner, the final decision of the NDRC is milder than expected. Qualcomm also said that they would not appeal.

I briefly summarize this NDRC Decision as follows.

继续阅读

 中国专利代理行业年报(2013)【Annual Report for Chinese Patent Agent Industry (2013)】

与读者分享:中国专利代理行业年报(2013)。来源:国家知识产权局条法司

根据这份报告,2013年的专利代理机构数量为1002家,执业人数为8950人,代理机构营业收入已经达到87亿元,其中北京的专利代理机构营业收入为47亿元,占到50%以上。

年报的内容目录:

一. 专利代理从业人员情况

  • 第一节 数量分布
  • 第二节 区域分布
  • 第三节 其它分布

二. 专利代理机构分布情况

  • 第一节 数量及区域分布
  • 第二节 机构规模

三. 专利代理机构业务经营情况

  • 第一节 业务开展情况
  • 第二节 营业收入情况

四. 全国专利代理人资格考试情况

  • 第一节 2013 年专利代理人资格考试情况
  • 第二节 近10 年专利代理人资格考试情况
  • 第三节 倾斜政策及试点扶持政策实施情况
  • 第四节 具有专利代理人资格证人员情况
  • 第五节 港、澳、台专利代理人资格证人员情况

中国企业应诉337调查之年度回顾(2013)

冉瑞雪律师在代理中国企业应诉337方面拥有着极为丰富的经验,可以说是中国首屈一指的337律师。本人有幸分享到了冉律师的团队对中国337案件的法律分析,极为精辟,特与读者共享:中国企业应诉美国337调查2013年度评论》。

冉律师的2013年度评论报告内容非常丰富,笔者引用年度报告的若干部分以进行说明:

一. 337案件的统计数据

  • 中国企业被337调查的数量、比例、行业分布、产品分类;
  • 中国企业被337调查的案由(专利侵权、商标侵权、商业秘密侵权等);
  • 中国企业被337调查的结果(胜诉、败诉或和解)

二. 重大影响的337案件

  • 三一重工被337调查案(337-TA-887,尚未审结);
  • 华为、中兴的首次337胜诉案(337-TA-800)

三. 重大影响的法律变化

1. 涉及标准专利(SEP)的禁令规则

美国总统否决了ITC针对苹果公司发出的禁令。美国贸易代表认为:对于标准关键专利,只有在美国联邦地区法院无法获得有效救济的情形下(例如存在过错的被许可人拒绝接受条件公平合理的许可),ITC给予排除令救济才较为合适(三星对苹果的337调查案,337-TA-794)。

2. NPE提起337调查的主体资格

2013年6月24日,ITC颁布了一项试点计划,以检验提前审理337调查中的一些处置性问题(dispositive issues)是否可以减少不必要的诉讼、节省时间以及降低各方的成本。是否存在“国内产业”是典型的处置性问题,即如果没有相关的国内产业,原告的救济主张将无法获得支持。这对于NPE提起337调查的主体资格加强了限制。

3. 间接侵权

CAFC推翻了ITC在生物扫描仪(337-TA-720)案中关于某些生物指纹扫描仪侵犯了7,203,344方法专利(以下简称“344专利”)的认定。CAFC认为:ITC享有管辖权的产品必须在进口时存在侵权(Suprema, Inc. and Mentalix, Inc. v. ITC)。

4. 涉及中国企业的商业秘密337调查之趋势

CAFC在2011年对天瑞案做出的上诉裁决确定了:ITC对发生在美国之外的商业秘密侵权行为拥有管辖权。因此,针对中国大陆企业的商业秘密337调查案件在这两三年爆发性增长。

 

 

 

 

Teva v. Sandoz一案尘埃落定:上诉法院采用何种标准来审查权利要求之保护范围, De Novo 或 Clearly Erroneous?

2015年1月20日,美国最高法院对Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc.一案作出了判决。最高法院的大法官以7:2撤销了联邦巡回法院(CAFC)的判决,指令联邦巡回法院重审。

一.           诉讼的背景

Teva公司是一家国际制药公司。Teva制造和销售一种用于治疗多发性硬化症的药品:Copaxone(克帕松)。根据报道,2011年Copaxone的销售额为29.5亿美元,平均每天销售额为800万美元。Sandoz也是一家制药公司,准备制造Copaxone的仿制药。基于其拥有的美国专利US5800808,Teva起诉Sandoz构成专利侵权。相应的,Sandoz提出了专利无效请求。

事实上, US Patent 5800808于1995年提交,1998年被授权,即将在2015年到期。如果输掉专利,Teva公司仅损失几个月的销售额,但也是一笔巨额收入。

二.           美国最高法院的判决概述

1.  双方争议事实:权利要求1的技术术语“molecular weight”是否清楚

涉案美国专利5800808仅包含一个权利要求:

1. A method of manufacturing copolymer-1, comprising reacting protected copolymer-1 with hydrobromic acid to form trifluoroacetyl copolymer-1, treating said trifluoroacetyl copolymer-1 with aqueous piperidine solution to form copolymer-1, and purifying said copolymer-1, to result in copolymer-1 having a molecular weight of about 5 to 9 kilodaltons.

权利要求1限定的copolymer-1是Copaxone药物中的有效成分,它的分子重量为5-9 千道尔顿。但是,关于“分子重量(molecular weight)”,Sandoz认为存在如下3种不同的计算方式:

  • (1)   仅考虑与copolymer-1最相关的分子的重量;
  • (2)  考虑构成copolymer-1的所有分子,求出其平均分子重量;
  • (3)  考虑构成copolymer-1的所有分子,求出其加权平均分子重量。

Sandoz认为,不能确定权利要求1的分子重量是上述哪一种方式计算的,导致权利要求不清楚(indefinite),应当被无效。

2.地区法院的判定

在充分考虑了双方提供的大量证据(包括专家证人证言)之后,地区法院接受了Teva的专家证人的技术解释,即,对于本领域技术人而言,“分子重量”应当以第(1)种方式来计算【可以参见Teva提交的brief】。因此,地区法院认为Teva的专利足够清楚,维持有效。

3.CAFC法院的认定

Sandoz上诉之后,CAFC推翻了地区法院的认定。CAFC认为,“分子重量”的计算方式不清楚,导致权利要求1不清楚,因此专利应当被无效。

CAFC认为,因为权利要求之解释是个法律问题,上诉法院应当采用de novo(重新审查)的标准来审查。对于地区法院对于“如何计算分子重量”的事实认定,CAFC并没有给予充分的尊重或考虑。

 4.提交给最高法院的争议焦点 继续阅读

Beijing Court Issues Permanent Injunction against TV Series “Palace 3: The Lost Daughter (宫锁连城)” and Awards 5 Million RMB damages

On Dec 25, 2014, Beijing No.3 Intermediate Court issued an opinion in Chiung Yao v. Yu Zheng, Wan Da Inc. Hu Nan Jing Shi Inc. etc., which ruled that the defendants have jointly infringed the copyrighted works “Plum Blossom Scar” of Chiung Yao, awarding 5 million RMB damages and a permanent injunction against the infringing TV series “Palace 3″. [see Chiung Yao v. Yu Zheng, Judgement No.07916 by Beijing No.3 Intermediate Court]

 I. Background of the litigation

 1. Chiung Yao and her copyrighted novel and script

Chiung Yao is one of the most popular Chinese romance novelists. Many of her works have been made and remade into movies and TV series, and she has a huge group of fans in Mainland China. In this case, she asserted the defendants have infringed the copyrights of her following two pieces of works.

  • The script of TV series: Plum Blossom Scar (梅花烙), created in 1992 and publicly performed in 1993;
  • The novel: Plum Blossom Scar  (梅花烙), created and published in 1993.

 It is little disputed that the novel and the script substantially tell the same story.

2.  YU Zheng’s accused TV Series

YU Zheng is a famous Chinese scriptwriter. He is noted for the script Palace, which earned him a Best Writing Award at the 16th Asian Television Festival.

In April, 2014, after YU Zheng‘s new TV series production Palace 3: The Lost Daughter (宫锁连城) had been publicly performed in a few local cable TV stations, Chiung Yao sued Yu Zheng for copyright infringement, requesting for (1) 20 million RMB damages; (2) permanent injunction; and (3) public apology. The accused TV series was co-produced by three studios, with investment from Wan Da Inc., the Chinese real-estate company that purchased AMC cinema chain a few years ago. Thus, in addition to YU zheng, the accused infringer script writer,  three studios and Wan Da Inc. have all been sued as co-defendants for joint liabilities in this case.

Even in the beginning of the litigation, it was obvious that the public seem to be more on the side of Chiung Yao. For example, one widely circulated news report stated that this is not the first time YU Zheng was accused of plagiarism. Wikipedia also gives details of YU Zheng’s plagiarism allegations.

 II. Court’s Reasoning and Ruling

 1. Legal standards

 (1)  Idea/expression dichotomy: special experience test

One basic principle in copyright law is that copyright does not protect ideas, but only expression of ideas. This is known as idea–expression dichotomy.

继续阅读

TPK’s Touch Screen Patent Is Declared Invalid by Beijing High Court

Beijing High Court recently made a ruling in a patent invalidation administrative litigation TPK v. the Patent Reexamination Board (PRB) and Wintek to declare TPK’s patent is invalid, by reversing the lower court’s ruling and affirming the PRB decision. [Judgement: (2014) Gao Xing Zhong Zi No.1198]

I represent Wintek in the above patent invalidation litigation and a co-pending infringement litigation. To some extent, this case is interesting because it sheds light on the landscape of the on-going patent wars in smart phone industry.

I. Background

Both TPK and Wintek are manufacturers of touch sensitive film used in touch screen of smart phones. According to NOMURA’s 2012 Smart Phone Guide, as leading players in the industry, TPK has 15-20% share of the global market, while Wintek has 10-15% share. Their products are used by the major smart phone manufacturers, including Apple and Nokia. In addition, while their headquarters are based at Taiwan, they both have factories in China Mainland and business entities in U.S.

In the beginning of 2013, TPK filed a patent infringement suit against Nokia (China) before Chinese Xiamen Court, asserting that Nokia’s smart phone (model type: Lumia 610) had infringed its Chinese Patent 200720142844.5.  Later, TPK added Wintek as a co-defendant because it believed Wintek is the supplier of the touch screen used in the accused smart phone. TPK asked for a permanent injunction and more than 26 million RMB damages.

As a counter measure, Wintek raised an invalidation request before the Patent Reexamination Board (hereinafter “the PRB”) to declare the patent 200720142844.5 to be invalid.

继续阅读

书评:《Justifying Intellectual Property》

前言

尽管越来越多的国家效仿美国建立起强知识产权保护制度,对知识产权制度的反思和争论却一直没有停止过。例如,随着专利诉讼的大规模增加,专利制度受到的质疑也越来越强烈。Mark A. Lemley教授于2009年出版的《Patent Crisis》一书就直呼:美国的专利系统处于严重的危机中,需要深入地改革。学者James Bessen和Michael J. Meurer则走的更远,在2008年出版的《Patent Failure》一书中,他们宣称美国的专利制度是失败的,甚至质疑了专利权作为一种财产权的正当性。

当然,也有为专利制度辩护的声音。例如,2011年出版的《Justifying Intellectual Property》一书中,Robert Merges教授旗帜鲜明地指出:知识产权是一种财产(property),而且如同其它财产一样,知识产权也具有内在的限制和例外。

笔者认为,本书的贡献之一在于,扩展了自然权利学说的哲学基础。Merges教授不仅在洛克的理论框架中证明了知识产权是一种基本财产,还试图证明知识产权是财产权利这一观点与康德和罗尔斯的哲学框架也是相容的。

此外,Merges教授指出了以社会为本位的功利主义学说在解释知识产权制度的正当性时所面临的困境。但是,笔者认为,对Merges教授在功利主义学说的框架下讨论知识产权制度之利弊时,似乎考虑了全球社会作为一个整体的来进行计算的难度极大,因而得出功利主义学说缺乏实证和经验证据支持。但是,如果换一个角度:以国家为单位来计算知识产权制度的利弊(例如,知识产权是否是为美国国家利益服务的国际政治经济工具),也许会有不同的答案。

继续阅读

《21世纪资本论》读后感

摘要

马克思于1867年出版了《资本论》。《资本论》诞生的时代背景是原始工业资本主义迅猛发展的时候,大批农村人口失去土地后来到城市,工业利润快速增加而工人工资却停滞不前、生活困顿。在这个背景下,马克思在《共产党宣言》里预言了“资产阶级的灭亡和无产阶级的胜利是同样不可避免的”,并撰写了《资本论》,试图从理论上分析资本主义及其崩溃的原理。然而,马克思的悲观预言并没有实现,随着19世纪、20世纪一直到今天的经济发展,人们认识到了马克思《资本论》的局限性,马克思经济学也不断被边缘化。

今年,托马斯·皮凯蒂所著的《21世纪资本论》一经出版就引起学术界、经济、政治领域的广泛关注和激烈争论。托马斯的核心结论是:收入不平等是长期必然存在、且与市场形式无关,因此应当对富人采用高税制来对财富分配进行调节。在研读了该书之后,笔者认为,《21世纪资本论》一书基于过去几百年所积累的相关数据,对马克思经济学理论有很大发展和突破。笔者试图简要介绍该书对马克思经济理论进行的贡献,并结合该书谈谈对中国的启示。

继续阅读

Alice走的有多远?转载《Software Patents after CLS Bank: US – China Comparison》

在美国最高法院判决CLS Bank v. Alice一案之后,软件专利在美国的前景非常暗淡。应用Alice一案的标准,很多涉及商业方法的软件专利已经被法院以不符合专利法第101条而无效。然而,Alice一案的影响不止于此。近期的McRO一案表明,美国的软件专利的审查标准之严格程度甚至已经超过了中国。

在本博客的《Alice v. CLS Bank一案之后我们还能得到什么专利》一文中所介绍的,Alice一案所设立的第101条有2个判断步骤:(1) 确定涉案的权利要求是否指向一个抽象概念(determine if the claim at issue is directed toward an abstract idea);(2) 检查权利要求的技术特征,以确定它是否包含“创造性构思”足以将抽象概念转换为可授予专利的申请( examine the elements of the claim to determine whether it contains an “inventive concept” sufficient to transform the abstract idea into a patent-eligible application)。

然而,美国地区法院在适用上述2个判断步骤时,似乎走的有点太远了。近期,加州地区法院在McRO v. Activision Publishing, Inc.【2014 WL 4759953 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 22, 2014) (Wu, J.)】一案中,判定McRO的专利US6307576B1也属于抽象概念而不符合第101条的规定。

针对本案,Berkeley法学院的Merges教授与其学生Bian Renjun联合撰文:Software Patents after CLS Bank – US and China ComparisonMerges教授指出,加州地区法院不当地适用了Alice一案的标准,扩大了“抽象概念”的范围,导致软件专利在美国被授权的难度甚至超过了中国。

笔者同意Merges教授的观点。

McRO的美国专利名称为“Method for Automatically Animating Lip Synchronization and Facial Expression of Animated Characters”,旨在基于三维动画人物的台词、为动画人物自动地快速生成嘴唇动作和面部表情。根据笔者在中国十几年的专利代理经验,以中国的审查标准(例如,专利法第2条),这个专利应当被视为解决了“技术问题”,构成技术方案,属于可以授予专利权的客体

尽管尚没有类似的中国法院判例,但是作为辅助证据,专利局授权的中国专利 CN200910003083.9, “语音驱动嘴唇形状变化的方法、获取嘴唇动画的方法及装置”(腾讯公司为申请人),说明了“自动生成嘴唇动画”在中国专利局是被视为“技术问题”的。

读者也可以自行判断,涉案美国专利6,307,576的权利要求1(如下所示)是否符合中国专利法第2条的规定:

1. A method for automatically animating lip synchronization and facial expression of three-dimensional characters comprising:

  • obtaining a first set of rules that define output morph weight set stream as a function of phoneme sequence and time of said phoneme sequence;
  • obtaining a timed data file of phonemes having a plurality of sub-sequences;
  • generating an intermediate stream of output morph weight sets and a plurality of transition parameters between two adjacent morph weight sets by evaluating said plurality of sub-sequences against said first set of rules;
  • generating a final stream of output morph weight sets at a desired frame rate from said intermediate stream of output morph weight sets and said plurality of transition parameters; and
  • applying said final stream of output morph weight sets to a sequence of animated characters to produce lip synchronization and facial expression control of said animated characters.

 

1. 一种自动地仿真三维人物的嘴唇同步和面部表情的方法,包括:

  •  获得第一组规则,其定义输出变形权重集流,所述输出变形权重集流是音素序列以及所述音素序列的时间的函数;
  • 获得具有多个子序列的音素的定时数据文件;
  • 通过以所述第一组规则评估所述多个子序列,生成两个相邻变形权重集之间的输出变形权重集的中间流和多个相邻的的过渡参数;
  • 基于所述的输出变形权重集的中间流和所述多个过渡参数,以所希望的帧速率生成输出变形权重集的最终流;和
  • 把所述输出变身权重集的最终流应用到动画人物序列,以产生动画人物的嘴唇同步和面部表情控制。

 

11月美国洛杉矶召开的第三届中美知识产权高峰论坛【November 2014 US-China IP Conference】

2014年11月7日,第三届中美知识产权高峰论坛在洛杉矶的Loyola法学院召开。该高峰论坛由Berkeley法学院、人民大学法学院、Loyola法学院联合举办,第一届(2012)、第二届(2013)的高峰论坛分别由Berkeley(旧金山)、人民大学(苏州校区)主办。

本次会议邀请了美国的法官、美国专利局和美国版权局的官员、中美知识产权领域的知名学者、企业代表、律师等,发言人以及议题安排可参见这里。Berkeley法学院的官方网站对会议进行了简单总结:Recap of Conference

我也有幸受邀参加会议,并在会场与PatentExpressO的3位学术顾问:Berkeley法学院的Merges教授、北大法学院的张平教授、Loyola法学院的宋海燕教授合影留念。

Photo of 3rd US-China IP Summit (LOYOLA)

本次会议的议题广泛而有针对性,涉及如下5个方面:

  • Revisions to the Chinese Copyright Law; 【中国著作权法的修改】
  • Role of specialized IP courts; 【知识产权法院的作用】
  • IP issues related to the entertainment industry; 【娱乐产业中的知产问题】
  • Updates on patent and trade secrets legislation and protection;【专利和商业秘密的立法动态】
  • Challenges and strategies in cross-border IP enforcement.    【跨境知识产权执法的挑战和策略】

得到Merges教授、张平教授、宋海燕教授的授权之后,我把他们的发言加以概括并简短介绍如下:

1.  “Court Coordination: The New Era of Patent Invalidity Proceedings at the PTO”(Merges教授)

Merges教授指出了AIA于2012年9月实施之后,美国的专利制度与世界其它主要专利系统更为接近。美国专利局实施的专利行政无效程序对于专利申请有深远影响。Merges教授以PGR(Post-Grant Review)和IPR(Inter Parties Review)为例,说明这些行政程序与传统的司法程序如何相互作用。最后,Merges教授认为,这些行政程序有利于减少诉讼泛滥和专利海盗的现象。

2.标准必要专利的FRAND许可费率如何确定?-评析华为诉IDC一案(张平教授)

张平教授对美国近期涉及SEP(标准必要专利)的FRAND(平等、合理、无歧视原则)许可费率的判决进行了总结和回顾,各个美国法院的判决采用的标准尚待统一,尤其在以下问题还存在争议:

  • 确定FRAND费率时,法院是否必然考虑“专利占位(Patent hold-up)”和“专利堆叠(royalty stacking)”;或者,专利实施人必须提供证据来证明存在确实的专利占位和专利堆叠;
  • 法院采用何种方法来确定FRAND 费率;
  • 什么是“具有可比性的许可”;
  • 许可费的基础是否应限于“最小可销售专利实施单元(SSPPU)”?如何定义SSPPU(例如,是智能电话还是智能电话的芯片组)?

张平教授对于中国法院判决的华为诉IDC一案也进行了精彩点评,该案是中国法院首次直接判断标准必要专利的FRAND许可费率,在若干法律问题上进行了创新。

张平教授的PPT:标准必要专利的FRAND许可费率判决(SEP’s FRAND Decision)

3. 真人秀电视模板的著作权保护(宋海燕教授)

中国这几年的电视真人秀非常火爆,从“非诚勿扰”、“超级女生”、“我是歌手”到“爸爸去哪了”等层出不穷。由于涉及的经济利益巨大,各个制片方(或电视台)之间的模仿(甚至抄袭)也屡见不鲜。如何保护原创的电视真人秀的?针对上述问题,宋海燕教授的演讲从以下几个方面进行回答:

  •  何谓“真人秀”
  • “真人秀节目”是否受著作权保护?
  • 各国的判定标准(例如New Zealand/UK, The Netherlands, Brazil, the United States, France and China)
  • 宋海燕教授的建议

宋海燕教授的PPT:电视真人秀的著作权保护(Copyright Protection of Reality TV)

 

 

 

北京大学发布《互联网企业个人信息保护测评标准》【“Standard for Evaluating Measures Employed by Internet Companies in Personal Information Protection”】

笔者有幸参加了11月22、23日在北京大学召开的“北大-斯坦福-牛津互联网法律与公共政策研讨会”。本次会议上,北京大学法学院的张平教授做了主题发言,代表北京大学互联网法律中心发布了《互联网企业个人信息保护测评标准》。经过授权,笔者把张平教授的发言的摘要转发如下:

大数据时代个人信息的法律保护

“大数据”开发已经成为互联网时代新的商业契机,在人们享受着越来越多的个性化服务和精准广告的同时,也越来越遭遇个人信息被滥用的烦恼。商人在大数据挖掘时“见利忘义”、“先斩后奏”、不当收集数据、违规使用、恶意篡改、无限次倒卖数据;政府部门、学校、医院、科研等公共机构也掌握着大量的个人信息,也希望抓住大数据时代的机会开发各种应用数据库;互联网公司的开放平台更是一座挖不尽的数据宝藏。但是,在无限商机的后面,人们却感到了个人信息的保护危机。

2012年12月28日全国人民代表大会常务委员会颁布了《关于加强网络信息保护的决定》,2013年7月16日工信部发布了《电信和互联网用户个人信息保护规定》,但由于这些立法过于简单和宏观,并带有明显的行业部门的局限性,加上我国长期处于个人隐私保护欠缺的社会环境,若要进一步拓展到个人信息的有效保护实为困难。为此,北京大学互联网法律中心在2014年消费者权益保护日时发布了《互联网企业个人信息保护测评标准》,冀望通过社会中立机构对互联网企业个人信息保护状况进行测评,以提升企业个人信息保护意识和能力,降低运营风险,并在国际信息流通中占据有利地位,也希望该《标准》的应用,能加快推动我国建立个人信息保护政策法律体系,提高公民的个人信息保护意识。

测评标准确立的原则是:知情同意原则、合法必要原则、目的明确原则、个人控制原则、信息质量原则、安全责任原则。给出的指标体系如下:

测评指标

 

对个人信息的保护水平(隐私政策)在未来可能会影响到企业参与国际电子商务的市场准入,特别是上市公司如果在隐私政策上没有充分的准备,可能导致“因小失大”。《测评标准》从不及格–及格—良好—优秀四个层次对企业的隐私政策进行测评,可以起到对企业预警的作用。在《测评标准》发布后选择了若干国内外在互联网领域有代表性的企业进行了测评,以广泛征求社会意见,检验和体现《测评标准》的客观中立性。

—————————————————————————————————

Legal Protection of Personal Information in Big data Age

 — “Standard for Evaluating Measures Employed by Internet Companies in Personal Information Protection” and Sampled Cases Study

Keynote Speech by Prof. Zhang Ping, Peking Law School

3rd Joint Conference by Peking University – Stanford University – Oxford University on Internet Law and Public Policy Conference (2014.11.22)

 “Big Data Mining” reflects a new and tremendous business opportunity in our Internet age. While people enjoy more and more customized services and target-specific advertisements through data mining technologies, the abuse of personal information has also become a serious concern. We have observed the improper collection, usage, manipulation and re-sales of personal information by private business entities. In addition, for public facilities, such as the governments, schools, hospitals that have access to personal information of the great public, it is also a challenge as to how to manage, develop, and even commercialize their users’ personal information. The Internet provides an open platform to explore the treasure of big data, but also exposes a serious crisis of personal information protection.

On December 28, 2012, the standing committee of the National Congress issued “Provisions on Strengthening Protection of the Network Information”. On July 16, 2013, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued “Telecommunications and Internet users’ Personal Information Protection Regulations”. However, these legislations are either too abstract to put into practical implementation, or lack an overall consideration of different industries.

Considering the protection of personal information as a demanding challenge, especially in China where it is still at an early stage of privacy protection, the Internet Law Center of Peking University issued “Standard of Evaluating Measures Employed by Internet Companies in Personal Information Protection” (hereinafter “the proposed Standard”) on March 15, 2014.  The proposed Standard aims at improving public awareness of the protection of personal information, and setting a framework for recommended industry practice as well as future legislation.

The principles established by the proposed Standard are Notice and Consent; Legal and Essential; Purpose Specific; Personal Control; Information Quality; Safety Liability. 

Applying the proposed Standard, a company will be grouped into one of the following four levels, un-qualified, qualified, good or excellent. Since the proposed Standard already incorporates certain foreign privacy protection practice, it might serve as an early alert for companies that plan to enter into foreign countries but have no preparation of any privacy protection policy, and accordingly, help reduce the risk of being barred an market entry. We have selected a number of leading Internet-related companies operating in either China or foreign countries. In order to test our proposed Standard, we will publish the results of our evaluation. Any feedback or comments are greatly appreciated. 

=========================

The Bi-lingual PowerPoint presentation of Professor Zhang Ping is available here(更多内容请参看张平教授的PPT讲稿)《互联网服务个人信息保护测评标准》PPT讲稿(张平)

China Supreme Court Affirmed that “Incompatible Software Setting Aimed at Forcing Users to Uninstall Competitor’s Software” Does Not Violate Anti-Monopoly Law in Qihoo v. Tencent

On October 8, 2014, the China Supreme Court issued a 115-page judgment [(2013) Min San ZhongZi No.4] in Qihoo, Inc. v. Tencent, Inc., affirming Guangdong High Court’s ruling [(2011) Yue Gao Fa Min San Chu Zi No.2] that Tencent does not violate Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law (AML), despite the fact it had intentionally set its software to be incompatible with Qihoo’s software so as to force users to uninstall Qihoo’s software.

I. Background

Qihoo, Inc. started its business as an anti-virus software provider. Being the first Chinese company to provide anti-virus software for free, Qihoo quickly achieved a tremendous success and accumulated a huge population of users.

Tencent, Inc. has been the leader of instant message (IM) service in China for the past two decades. Almost every Chinese internet user owns an IM account of Tencent’s QQ software or Wechat software.

As both parties’ service/products expand and start overlapping in various areas  of internet-related services (such as on-line ads, on-line games, web explorers, search engines, clouding service), it is not surprising to see the competition between Qihoo and Tencent eventually goes out of control.

The climax came on November 3, 2010. Tencent issued a public announcement, saying it would stop providing service to any user that has installed Qihoo’s software. By adopting certain technical measures, Tencent intentionally made its own software QQ incompatible with Qihoo’s software, and left its QQ users with no choice but to uninstall Qihoo’s software.

Although Tencent explained that such unprecedented measures were merely aimed at defending against Qihoo’s bad-faith competing acts — e.g., Qihoo’s acts of defaming, destroying, and revising Tecent’s QQ software, all of which had been affirmed by the Chinese Supreme Court as a violation of Anti-Unfair Competition Law in a separate litigation brought by Tencent against Qihoo, [see (2013) Min San ZhongZi No.5] — it still upset lots of QQ users and became a serious PR crisis for Tencent. For whatever reason, in the next day, Tencent revoked its “incompatible technical software settings” and resumed its normal service.

Despite the fact that Tencent’s “intentional incompatible software setting” lasted for only one single day, Qihoo filed a lawsuit, accusing that Tencent had forced users to uninstall Qihoo’s software by abusing its “predominant position” in the IM market, and thus constitutes a violation of AML. Qihoo asked for monetary damages of 150 million yuan.

My first impression is Qihoo has a pretty strong case, except for its damages claim. Being a regular user of Tencent’s QQ software for more than ten years, I never see any company has a chance to seriously compete with Tencent. Moreover, what Tencent did to its own users on November 3, 2010 was so reckless that it is still a joke today.

However, both the Guangdong High court and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Tencent. Accordingly, in this post, I discuss some of my initial thoughts regarding this 115-page judgment, focusing on the Supreme Court’s answer to one simple question: why Tencent’s “intentional technical measures aimed at forcing its users to uninstall Qihoo’s software” does not constitute a violation of AML?

继续阅读

My New Book: Selected Chinese Patent Cases

Last year I spent six month to co-edit and co-translate the book《中国专利案例精读》 into English with Professor Seagull Song. This book gives a detailed and systematic introduction of Chinese patent law and cases. The chief editor is Justice Luo Dongchuan, who is the Chief Judge and President of the Fourth Civil Division of Chinese Supreme People’s Court. More importantly, all the twenty milestone cases in the book are commented by the senior IP judges who personally heard and decided these cases.

I am glad to see the English version  “SELECTED CHINESE PATENT CASES” has recently been published by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business. It is now available at Amazon.

I am deeply grateful to Professor Robert Merges for his helpful advice during my translation/editing process. Here, I post the Forward written by Professor Merges as a good introduction of this book.

—————————————————————————————————

Foreword

Professor Robert P. Merges

UC Berkeley

It was good fortune indeed when my former student, Seagull Song, asked me to write a Preface to this volume. Without such an invitation, I would probably have taken note, because an important collection of cases on Chinese patent law is still a novelty. But I doubt I would have taken the time to read the translated cases closely. Having done so now, I can say that they are a revelation. We in the patent field have lived through some remarkable times in the past 30 years. The Federal Circuit’s (and now the Supreme Court’s) entry into the field in the US, the maturing of the EPO in Europe, the modernization of Japanese patent law, TRIPs, etc. – the list goes on. But now we must add another remarkable event to the list: the lightning-fast emergence of a sophisticated body of modern Chinese patent law.

继续阅读

China Issued Rules To Regulate Use of Internet Against Infringement of Personal Rights

On October 9, 2014, Chinese Supreme People’s Court issued the judicial interpretation “Supreme People’s Court Regulations concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law in Handing Civil Dispute Cases involving the Use of Information Networks to Harm Personal Rights and Interests”. 【最高人民法院关于审理利用信息网络侵害人身权益民事纠纷案件适用法律若干问题的规定,法释〔2014〕11号】

An English translation (with my summary of each article in square bracket) is as follows. 

Article 1 [Scope of Personal Rights and Interests]

Civil dispute cases involving the use of information networks to harm personal rights and interests as mentioned in these Regulations, refers to dispute cases triggered by harm to another persons’ right to a name, right to reputation, portrait right, right to privacy and other such personal rights and interests through the use of information networks.

Article 2 [Jurisdiction and Venue]

The People’s Court of the location of the infringing act or of the domicile of the defendant has jurisdiction over litigation raised over the use of information networks to harm personal rights and interests.

The location of the infringing act includes the location of the computer or other terminal equipment through which the infringing act is committed, the location where the result of the infringement takes place and the domicile of the person whose rights were infringed.

Article 3 [Eligible Defendant: Internet User and Internet Service Provider ("ISP")]

Where plaintiffs sue network users or network service providers on the basis of the provisions of Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 36 of the Tort Liability Law, People’s Courts should accept these cases.

Where plaintiffs only sue network users, and a network user requests to add the network service provider suspected of infringement as a joint defendant or a third person, the People’s Court shall allow this.

Where plaintiffs only sue network service providers, and a network service provider requests that an identifiable network user is added as a joint defendant or a third person, the People’s Court shall allow this.

Article 4 [ISP's Obligation to Disclose Identity and Contact of an Infringing User]

Where plaintiffs sue network service providers, and a network service provider defends itself on the grounds that the information suspected to be infringing was published by the network user, the People’s Court may, on the basis of a request by the plaintiff and the concrete circumstances of the case, order network service providers to provide the People’s Court with the name, contact method, network address and other such information by which the network user suspected of infringement can be determined.

Where network service providers refuse to provide this without proper cause, the People’s Court may, on the basis of the provisions of Article 114 of the Civil Procedure Law, take punitive measures against the network service provider.

Where the plaintiff requests that a network user is added as defendant on the basis of the information provided by the network service provider, the People’s Court shall allow this.

Article 5 [Notice-Deletion Procedure Adopted by ISP]

On the basis of the provisions of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Tort Liability Law, where the person suffering infringement sends notice to the network service provider in written form or using a method published by the network service provider, containing the following content, the People’s Court shall find [the notice] valid:

(1) the name and contact method of the notifier;

(2) the network address where it is demanded that necessary measures are taken, or corresponding information can sufficiently accurately be determined as infringing.

(3) the reason the notifier demands deletion of corresponding information.

Where notices sent by persons suffering infringement do not meet the above criteria, and the network service provider holds they are exempt from responsibility, the People’s Court shall support this.

Article 6 ["Timely" Deletion]

When the People’s Court applies the provisions of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Tort Liability Law, to determine whether deletion, blocking, severance of links and other such necessary measures adopted by network service providers are timely or not, it shall judge the matter comprehensively on the basis of factors such as the nature of the network service, the form of valid notification and its degree of accuracy, the type and extent of the infringement of rights and interests through online information, etc.

Article 7 [ISP Protected by "Notice-Deletion" Procedure]

Where a network user whose published information was subject to measures such as deletion, blocking, severance of links, etc., holds that the network service provider bears liability for violation of contract or tort liability, and the network service provider refutes this on the grounds of received notification, the People’s Court shall support this.

Where network users who are subject to measures such as deletion, blocking, severance of links, etc., request the network service provider to provide the content of the notification, the People’s Court shall support this.

Article 8  [Liability for Falsely "Notice"]

Where a notifier’s notice leads to a network service provider mistakenly adopting measures such as deletion, blocking, severance of links, etc., and network users demand that the notifying person bears tort liability, the People’s Court shall support this.

Where the network user subject to mistaken measures demands that the network service provider adopts corresponding restorative measures, the People’s Court shall support this, except where restoration is not possible because of technological limitations.

Article 9 [ISP's "Knowledge" of Infringement]

Where a People’s Court determines, on the basis of Paragraph 3 of Article 36 of the Tort Liability Law, whether a network service provider “knew”, it shall comprehensively consider the following factors:

(1) whether or not network service providers, through manual or automatic means, recommended, ranked, selected, edited, arranged, revised or in other ways processed the infringing online information;

(2) the ability to manage information that network service providers should have, as well as the nature and method of the provided service, and the extent of the probability that it might cause infringement;

(3) the category of personal rights and interests infringed by the online information concerned, as well as the degree of clarity;

(4) the extent of the social influence of the online information concerned, or its browsing rates for a determined period;

(5) the technological possibility for network service providers to adopt measures to prevent infringement, and whether corresponding reasonable measures have been adopted;

(6) whether or not network service providers have adopted corresponding reasonable measures against the same network users’ repeated act of infringement or the same infringing information;

(7) other factors related to the specific case.

Article 10 ["Fault" in Retweeting]

When people’s courts determine fault in retweeting online information by network users or network service providers, as well as its degree, they shall comprehensively consider the following factors:

(1) the duty of care borne by the retweeting subject that is corresponding to its nature and scope of influence;

(2) the extent to which it is clear that the reprinted information infringes another person’s personal rights;

(3) whether or not the reprinted information is substantially altered, whether or not titles of articles are added or revised, the probability that it leads to grave inconformity with content or might mislead audiences.

Article 11 [Liability From Defamation/Libel]

Where network users or network service providers adopt libellous and slanderous methods, and harm the public’s trust in commercial subjects, lowering the social valuation of their products or services, and the commercial subject demands that the network user or network service provider bears tort liability, the People’s Court shall support this according to the law.

Article 12 [Liability From Disclosure of Privacy ; Exceptions]

Where network users of network service providers use the network to publicize genetic information, medical history materials, health inspection materials, criminal records, household addresses, private activities and other personal information or personal privacy of natural persons, resulting in harm to the other person, and the person suffering infringement demands they bear tort liability, the People’s Court shall support this. Except under the following circumstances:

(1) the natural person has agreed in writing and publication takes place within the scope of the agreements;

(2) in order to spur the social public interest, and it is within the scope of necessity;

(3) by schools, scientific institutions, etc., for the purposes of scientific research for the public interest, or for statistical purposes, with the written agreement of the natural person, and the method of publication does not allow the identification of a specific natural person;

(4) where natural persons themselves publish this information online or other personal information that is already lawfully published;

(5) personal information that is obtained through lawful channels;

(6) except where laws or administrative regulations provide otherwise.

Where network users or network service providers publicize personal information as provided in Items 4 and 5 of the previous Paragraph in a manner that violates the social public interest or social morality, or the publication of the information concerned harms major interests of rights holders that merit protection, and the rights holder requests that network users or network service providers bear tort liability, the People’s Court shall support his.

Where State organs publish personal information in the exercise of their duties, the provisions of this Article do not apply.

Article 13 [Liability From Inaccurate/Misleading/Out-of-Date Disclosure]

Where network users or network service providers, publish information from sources such as documentation created by State organs according to their duties and openly carried out official acts, etc., which infringes another person’s personal rights, one of the following circumstances is present, and the person suffering infringement requests that the infringer bears tort liability, the People’s Court shall support this:

(1) information published by network users or network service providers does not conform to the information source described above:

(2) where network users or network service providers cause misunderstanding by adding humiliating content, libellous information, improper titles or through modifying information, adjusting its structure, changing its order, and other such methods;

(3) where the above-mentioned information sources have been publicly corrected, but the network user refuses to correct it, or the network service provider does not correct it;

(4) where the above-mentioned information sources have been publicly corrected, and network users or network service providers continue to publish the pre-correction information.【Note: This rule seems to endorse the “right to be forgotten” as recently established in Google privacy case decided by European court

Article 14 [Black PR: Infringee and Infringer's Paid Agreement Is Invalid]

People’s Courts shall find invalid agreements between persons suffering infringement and network users or network service providers who committed infringement, in which one sides pays remuneration, and the other side provides deletion, blocking, severance of links and other such services.

Where specific online information is distorted, deleted or blocked without authorization, or other persons are prevented from obtaining online information through the method of severing links, and the network user or network service provider publishing the information concerned request that the infringer bears tort liability, the People’s Courts shall support this. Where entrustment by others is accepted to carry out the acts concerned, the entrusting person and the entrusted person bear joint liability.

Article 15 [Black PR: Participating Parties' Joint Liability]

Where another person is employed, organized, instigated to or assisted with the publication or reprinting of online information that infringes another person’s personal rights and interests, and the person suffering infringement requests that the actors bear joint liability, the People’s Courts shall support this.

Article 16 [Remedy in the Form of Public Apology]

Where People’s Courts find that the infringer bears a duty to make a formal apology, remove the influence, restore the reputation or other forms of responsibility, this shall correspond to the concrete method and the scope of the resulting influence of the infringement. Where the infringer refuses to carry this out, the People’s Courts may adopt reasonable methods including publishing an online declaration or publishing the judgement documents to enforce the matter, the expenses resulting therefrom are borne by the infringer.

Article 17 [Remedies: Invoking Chinese Tort Liability Law]

Where network users or network service providers infringe another person’s personal rights and interests, resulting in asset losses or grave spiritual harm, and the person suffering infringement requests that they bear liability for compensation on the basis of Articles 20 and 22 of the Tort Liability Law, the People’s Courts shall support this.

Article 18 [Damages Calculation; Statutory Damages Below 500,000 RMB]

Reasonable expenses incurred by the person suffering infringement to terminate the act of infringement may be considered as asset losses as provided in Article 20 of the Tort Liability Law. Reasonable expenses include reasonable expenses that the person suffering the infringement, or an entrusted agent incurs in investigating the infringing act and gathering evidence. The People’s Courts may, on the basis of the requests of the parties concerned and the concrete circumstances of the case, include lawyer’s fees that conform to provisions of relevant State departments in their scope of calculating compensation.

Where it is not possible to determine the asset loss the person suffering infringement suffered because of harm to personal rights, or the profit the infringer obtained from this, People’s Courts may determine the amount of compensation, on the basis of the concrete circumstances of the case, to the extent of 500.000 Yuan or less.

Compensatory amounts for spiritual harm are to be determined according to the provision of Article 10 of the “Supreme People’s Courts Interpretation concerning Some Questions on Determining Liability for Compensating Spiritual Harm in Civil Infringements”.

Article 19 [Application Scope and Effective Date]

After these Regulations take effect, these Regulations will apply in first and second instance cases that are currently being adjudicated in People’s Courts.

These Regulations do not apply to cases that have been terminated before these Regulations took effect, where a concerned party requests a re-trial or a re-trial is decided through the judicial monitoring procedure after these Regulations take effect.

====

Recommended further reading:

  1. Parsing the New Internet Rules of China’s Supreme Court
  2. 《理性的谦抑,可贵的沉默》

书评:宋海燕教授的《娱乐法》

很高兴PatentExpressO博客的顾问宋海燕教授(Prof. Seagull Song)的《娱乐法》一书终于出版了!

本书出版之前,我有幸曾于今年5月在洛杉矶参加北大法学院与Loyola法学院合办的第一届中美娱乐法培训班,当时聆听了宋海燕教授对于娱乐产业纷繁复杂的现象背后的法律问题的精彩分析,印象十分深刻。与培训班的课程相比,《娱乐法》一书更系统、更全面的总结了中美娱乐产业背后的常见法律问题,让我这个门外汉读的津津有味。

在我看来,本书的一大特色是密切结合法律实务,精选了中美的众多经典案例,对于产业界的从业人员处理实际问题有极大帮助。本书的另一大特色是,不仅涵盖了娱乐产业从产生创意、剧本、签约演员直至形成电影、电视整个过程中涉及的各个法律领域(第2章至第7章,合同法、劳动法、著作权法、商标权法、商业秘密法、人格权等),还对好莱坞娱乐产业的制度结构(第1章)、投资融资方式(第8章)、财务准则(第9章)、中美合作(第10章)等有精辟介绍,对有兴趣与美国合作或投资的中国企业如何规避风险将会有很大帮助。

刚刚过去的十.一假期,我读到两篇涉及娱乐产业的新闻。巧合的是,新闻其背后所隐含的法律问题均已被《娱乐法》一书所覆盖。因此,我就基于这两篇新闻来对本书做个简单介绍。

  1. 《人在囧途》与《人再囧途之泰囧》之间的不正当竞争诉讼

9月份北京高院宣判了武汉华旗诉光线影业等之不正当竞争一案。法院认定《人再囧途之泰囧》的制片方光线影业构成不正当竞争,应赔偿《人在囧途》的制片方武汉华旗500万元。

尽管得到了500万的赔偿额,已经拍摄了《人在囧途》的武汉华旗事实上丧失了拍摄续集的机会。与侵权方所拍摄的《人再囧途之泰囧》创下的12.6亿票房收入相比,诉讼之胜利并不能弥补武汉华旗所失去的巨大商业机会。

在我看来,《娱乐法》第3章所介绍如何保护“电影名称”、第2章所介绍的如何保护“故事角色与造型”以及附录二的“翻拍与续集相关条款”,也许能帮助电影产业界注意到续集拍摄所存在的法律风险,从而避免重蹈武汉华旗之覆辙。

  1. 什么是“First Dollar”分成方式

还例如,昨天读到虎嗅网10月6日转载的文章:《好莱坞薪酬大起底:从超级巨星到猴子演员》。文中提到了两个有意思的情节:

  • 小罗伯特·唐尼(《钢铁侠3》(Iron Man 3)的男主演)可以从票房收入的第一分钱(first-dollar)就开始分享7%的分账,一共获得了7500万美元;
  • 《The Big Bang Theory》的吉姆•帕森斯(Jim Parsons,饰谢耳朵)等3位主要演员的片酬已经涨到每集100万美元。

什么是“first-dollar”分成方式?为什么演员片酬可以高达每集(仅半小时)100万美元?先容许我卖个关子,请读者在《娱乐法》一书中寻找答案。

然而,上述问题确实至关重要,因为它们涉及到巨大的利益。例如,电影《Harry Potter》的票房收入高达$938.2 million,是历史上最卖座的电影之一。假设你是投资人,最后来分享这部电影的“净利润(Net Profits)”,能分到多少?一分钱也没有,反而要赔钱。因为《Harry Potter》的净利润是负$167 million。相比之下,小罗伯特·唐尼的“first dollar”分成方式就精明的多,做吃第一口蛋糕的人。

《娱乐法》第9章“影视产业的经济学”就介绍了如何避免掉入上述好莱坞会计准则的陷阱。

  1. 美剧演员的片酬

首先,大部分美剧在7季以内结束。例如,《The West Wing》有7季,《Lost》有6季,《Gossip Girl》有6季,《Boston Legal》有5季,《Prison Break》有4季。当然也有例外。有些极为成功的美剧超过7季,例如:《Friends》、《The Big Bang Theory》、《24Hours》等。

其次,美剧的第7季之后,演员往往能够大幅提高片酬。例如,《The Big Bang Theory》的第8季到第10季,与Warner Bros TV重新谈判合同之后,吉姆·帕森斯等3位主要演员的片酬涨到每集100万美元。拍摄第7季时片酬才是每集35万美元。(见相关报道)。

《Friends》的演员片酬也是如此。第3季,演员的片酬为每集7万5千美元;第4季,每集8万5千美元;第5季,每集10万美元;第6季,每集12万5千美元;第7、8季,每集75万美元;第9-10季,6个主演每集片酬都达到100万美元,每季有22集,每个演员每季的收入为2200万美元(见相关报道)。

原因:加州的Seven-Year Rule。为什么美剧的第7季之会成为一个分水岭?原因在于加州的劳动法。根据加州法律,制片人与演员签署的合同不能超过7年,否则合同可能被法院认定为无效。

上述法律规定的目的在于寻找制片人与演员之间的利益平衡点。制片人都希望能以低片酬的长期合同来锁定某个演员。默默无名之际,演员为了能够有机会演戏,也愿意接受这样的合同。当合同到期之后,演员就有机会重新谈判以要求更高的片酬。如果合同时间太长,演员就始终没有机会涨片酬;如果合同时间太短,制片人很快就需要与演员谈判,不利于吸引投资和稳定出品。

有趣的是,真有违反Seven-Year Rule的案例。《Modern Family》是近年来大受欢迎的美剧。主要演员最初的片酬为每集3万到6万美元。然而,在拍摄第4季之前,律师发现合同期限超过了7年的法定期限(仅超出几个月),并向法院提起了诉讼。最后双方和解,主要演员的片酬也涨到了每集35万美元

从这个例子可以看出,劳动法的一条法律规定就可以深刻地影响产业链中各个环节之间的巨大利益分配。《娱乐法》一书的附录二中提供了多个合同范本,都是好莱坞的经典模板,相信对于中国电影产业界也有一定的参考价值。

《好莱坞薪酬大起底》一文提到好莱坞的娱乐法律师的年收入在200万到600万美元之间。看了《Modern Family》这个例子,我觉得确实配得上这个收入。

以上几个例子仅仅是对《娱乐法》的管窥式的介绍。希望大家读了本书之后都有所收获,也许可以成为中国未来第一流的娱乐法律师!

====

另外,打个广告:上文所提到的北京大学法学院和Loyola法学院合办的第一届中美娱乐法培训班,学员(包括我)的反馈极好,可以浏览采访视频(Youtube上也有采访视频)。

2015明年还将继续举办第二届中美娱乐法培训班。该培训班师资力量强大,课程内容丰富,详情可以关注北大法学院以往的招生简章

Violation of Robots Rules Does Not Constitute Unfair Competition, Decided by Chinese Court in Baidu v. Qihoo

On August 7, 2014, Beijing No.1 Intermediate Court announced its Judgment in Baidu v. Qihoo. The most important issue in this case is whether Qihoo’s intentional violation of Baidu’s Robots rules constitutes unfair competition. Interestingly, the answer is both Yes and No, according to the Court.

The original 31-page Judgment is available here Baidu v. Qihoo [2013] Yi Zhong Min Chu Zi No.2668. The head of the panel is Judge Yi Jun. A brief summary of the Judgment is as follows.

I. Facts

1. Parties

Baidu runs the biggest Internet searching engine (www.baidu.com) in China, with a market share of more than 60%. Qihoo only started providing Internet searching service (www.360.cn) since August 16, 2012, but has quickly grown to be the second biggest with a market share of more than 20%.

Baidu is also a content provider running 19 categories of content services, including music, games, news, encyclopedias, traveling, clouding storage, etc.

Qihoo provides similar content services to compete with Baidu. 

2. Robots Rules

As a common practice, Internet searching engines use a web crawler (or web robot) to browses the World Wide Web, typically for the purpose of Web indexing. Robots Exclusion Protocol (hereinafter, “Robots rules”) is a convention to advising cooperating web crawlers and other web crawlers about accessing all or part of a website. In simple words, a web crawler shall visit a target website’s Robots.txt file (in the root of the web site hierarchy, e.g., https://www.example.com/robots.txt) to know whether it is allowed to crawl the target website.

In the present case, Baidu’s Robots.txt contains a whitelist of allowable web crawlers. Qihoo is not in the list.

3. Qihoo’s accused unfair competition acts

Despite Baidu’s Robots rules, Qihoo intentionally and constantly crawls Baidu’s 19 categories of content-service websites and then provides the crawled data in its own search engine. After a few rounds of unproductive talks, Baidu sued Qihoo for unfair competition and copyright infringement. At the early stage of the litigation, Baidu dropped its copyright infringement claim.

Baidu asked for (1) a permanent injunction against Qihoo’s crawling action; and (2) 100 million RMB in damages, which is asserted to be Qihoo’s profit derived from unfair competition. 

 4. Establishment of “Self-discipline Convention of Internet Search Engine Service”

Shortly after Baidu brought the lawsuit, the Chinese Internet Association leaded twelve Chinese search engine companies, including both Baidu and Qihoo, to jointly sign “Self-discipline Convention of Internet Search Engine Service” (hereinafter, “the Convention”).

According to Articles 7-9 of the Convention, members are obliged to

  • Obey Robots rules set by each other; and
  • Provide a legitimate explanation for disallowing a web crawler from crawling one’s website, so that the Robots rules will not be abused for unfair competition;
  • Follow a “negotiation-notice” procedure to solve any dispute between members.  

II. Issue

The key issue in this case is whether Qihoo’s violation of Baidu’s Robots rules constitutes unfair competition.

III. Ruling and Reasoning

1. Rulings

 (1)   Qihoo’s early-stage violation of Baidu’s Robots rules, which started since August 2012, constituted unfair competition.

(2)  Qihoo’s later-stage violation of Baidu’s Robots rules, which started since both parties signed the Convention in November 2012, does not constitute unfair competition. Accordingly, the Court allows Qihoo to continue crawling Baidu’s websites. 

(3)  Qihoo is ordered to pay Baidu (i) 500,000 RMB in damages, and (ii) 200,000 RMB to compensate Baidu’s legal costs.

 2. Reasoning

As evident from the rulings, the Court considered the establishment of the Convention as a watershed. In the Judgment, the Court elaborated why the Convention is more important than the Robots rules. 

(1) Judges’ Comments on the Robots Rules

  • Not a legal contract;
  • Not a compulsory technical measure;
  • A unilateral declaration;
  • A widely complied practice;
  • Created for achieving two goals: (1) avoid high workloads imposed by web crawlers on target websites’ servers; (2) protect target websites’ privacy. According to the court, the first goal is no longer a serious concern as technologies evolve; the second goal is not raised in the present case either. 

(2) Judges’ Comments on the Convention

  • Not directly applicable laws;
  • But will be given sufficient consideration because it reflects the standard practice agreed by most members (including both the plaintiff and the defendant) in the industry;
  • A “negotiation-notice” procedure set forth in the Convention is highly recommended. According to the Court,  such a negotiating procedure will promote a balanced and healthy development of the Internet searching industry. 

(3) Baidu failed to follow the “negotiation-notice” procedure set forth in the Convention

According to the Court, Qihoo had made sufficient efforts to start a negotiation with Baidu. However, Baidu failed to provide any explanation why it disallows Qihoo’s web crawler in Robots Rules.  

On the other hand, the Court stated that, regarding certain specific content service (e.g. music service), Baidu is not required to provide an explanation for its Robots rules. For example, music service is based on a pay-to-download model, and is inherently incompatible with web crawling.

(4) Damages calculation

Baidu’s 100 million RMB damages claim is based on an “infringer’s profit” theory. Baidu asserted that it had spent 100 million RMB in building its 19 categories of content services. By crawling Baidu’s content services and then providing them in its own search engine, Qihoo had actually “saved” the same amount of costs.

The Court rejected Baidu’s above theory. Instead, the Court applied the statutory damages 500,000 RMB. 

IV. Applicable Laws

Chinese Unfair Competition Law [Effective since 1993]

 Article 2.   

Business operators shall firmly adhere to the principles of voluntariness, equity and fairness, maintain honesty and trustworthiness and observe the generally accepted commercial ethics in the conduct of trade.

The term “unfair competition” as mentioned in this Law refers to acts by business operators which are in violation of the provisions of the Law, are harmful to the legitimate rights and interests of other business operators and whichdisrupt the socialist economic order.

Article 20.  

A business operator shall pay compensation for damages caused to other business operators in violation of the provisions of this Law and if the damages are unable to be calculated, the amount of profits obtained by the infringing party together with reasonable fees arising from the investigation shall be paid.

A business operator whose rights were infringed upon may file a lawsuit with the People’s Court in cases where its legitimate rights and interests have been infringed upon by acts of unfair competition.

======

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* 专利号 8,000,005 — 另一个大规模专利族,也需要等候一会时间。

* 专利号 5,856,737 — 还是一个大家伙。

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观点分享:专利间接侵权和专利复审问题研究

本月初,专利代理人协会邀请北京法院的法官讲课,其中刘庆辉法官和蒋利玮法官等人对如下两个问题进行了深入分析:

  1.  专利复审问题研究(刘庆辉法官,北京高院)
  2.  专利间接侵权(蒋利玮法官,北京第三中院;贾庆忠律师)

我简单概括一下几位老师的观点。

一.专利复审问题研究

1. 事实概述

审查员以不符合专利法第33条(修改超范围)为依据发出驳回决定。申请人提出复审请求,并且进行了修改,复审委认可申请人的修改符合专利法第33条,但又指出其不符合专利法第22条(创造性),因此维持了驳回决定。

北京一中院和北京高院都认为上述复审决定程序违法,最终撤销了复审委的第30895号决定【(2012)高行终字第1486号】。

2. 涉及法律问题

(1)复审的法律性质

本质上是行政复议,在专利法无特别规定时,适用《行政复议法》。

(2)复审的客体

复审的客体应该是驳回决定,具体而言,是审查驳回决定依据的事实、法律、程序。复审不应该以专利申请为审查客体。

(3)复审的范围

基本审查范围和延伸审查范围,复审委有扩大性的解释“明显实质性缺陷”来滥用延伸审查范围的趋势。应当依据《审查指南》的定义来正确理解“明显实质性缺陷”的范围。

本案中,北京一中院和北京高院都认为:创造性不属于“明显实质性缺陷”。

(4)复审决定的类型

  • 撤销驳回决定
  • 维持驳回决定
  • 撤销驳回决定+作出新的驳回决定

二. 专利间接侵权

蒋利玮法官回顾了从2001年到2014年的相关司法意见对“间接侵权”的规定,并结合美国的Limelight v. Akamai一案介绍了美国的相关规则。贾庆忠律师总结了过去20多年中国法院涉及间接侵权的判例,非常宝贵!

关于“间接侵权”的最新进展,最高人民法院关于审理侵犯专利权纠纷案件应用法律若干问题的解释(二)(公开征求意见稿)规定:

第二十五条 明知有关产品系专门用于实施发明创造的原材料、零部件、中间物等,未经专利权人许可,将该产品提供给无权实施该专利的人或者依法不承担侵权责任的人实施,权利人主张该提供者的行为属于侵权责任法第九条规定的帮助侵权行为的,人民法院应予支持。

明知有关产品、方法可以用于实施发明创造,未经专利权人许可,通过提供图纸、传授技术方案等方式积极诱导无权实施该专利的人或者依法不承担侵权责任的人实施,权利人主张该诱导者的行为属于侵权责任法第九条规定的教唆侵权行为的,人民法院应予支持。

蒋法官认为,教唆、帮助侵权责任的要件:

  • 教唆、帮助行为
  • 主观故意
  • 被教唆人、被帮助人从事了侵权行为

不过,我一直存疑的是上述规定中的“提供给无权实施该专利的人或者依法不承担侵权责任的人实施”可能会引起一些问题。

无权实施专利的人”应该是指《专利法》第11条中规定的:“任何单位或者个人未经专利权人许可,都不得实施其专利,即不得为生产经营目的制造、使用、许诺销售、销售、进口其专利产品,或者使用其专利方法以及使用、许诺销售、销售、进口依照该专利方法直接获得的产品”。

依法不承担侵权责任的人”应该是指《专利法》第69条中规定的:“有下列情形之一的,不视为侵犯专利权…”。

因此,《解释(二)征求意见稿的》的上述规定导致了:不存在直接侵权者(例如,第69条规定的“不视为侵权”)、但仍构成帮助侵权或引诱侵权。

Chinese Court Decides FRAND Licensing Rate of Chinese SEP in Huawei v. InterDigital

Following my previous post, I give a brief overview of the second ruling made by the Guangdong High Court in Huawei v. IDC in this post.

An edited copy of the second ruling, (2013) Yue Gao Fa Min San ZhongZi No.305 (hereinafter “Judgment (2013) No.305”) is available here. It has been redacted in order to protect the parties’ confidential business information. 

 I. Ruling

The High Court affirmed the finding of the lower court that the FRAND licensing rate of InterDigital’s Chinese Standard Essential Patents (“SEPs”) should be 0.019% of sales revenue of Huawei’s involved smart phones.

According to a local newspaper, InterDigital initially asked for 2% of Huawei’s sales revenue.  

II. Issues and Reasoning

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Chinese Court Announces Test for “Abuse of Predominant Market Position” in Huawei v. InterDigital

In April 2014, the Guangdong High Court of China (“High Court”) made two rulings affirming judgments made by the lower court in Huawei v. InterDigital.

In the first ruling, the High Court affirmed the lower court’s finding that “InterDigital Group” (the court’s collective name for InterDigital Communications Inc., InterDigital Technology Corporation, InterDigital Patent Holdings Inc., and IPR  Licensing  Inc.) had violated the Anti-Monopoly Law of China. The High Court also affirmed the lower court’s award of 20 million RMB in damages to Huawei.

In the second ruling, the court affirmed the lower court’s finding that the FRAND (“Fair, Reasonable, and non-discriminatory”) licensing rate for InterDigital’s Chinese Standard Essential Patents (“SEP”) should be 0.019% of sales revenue from the implicated smart phones manufactured by Huawei.

In this post, I will provide a brief overview of the first ruling, which, in the original Chinese version, is a 89-page judgment. I will discuss specifically the standard adopted by the High Court for determining when a party occupies “predominant market position.”

An edited copy of the first ruling, (2013) Yue Gao Fa Min San Zhong Zi No.306 (hereinafter “Judgment (2013) No.306”) is available here. This ruling has been redacted to protect the parties’ confidential business information.

I. Overview of the Judgment and the High Court’s reasoning

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读《专利凶猛》有感

这个周末一口气读完了卢学红和黄晶两位合著的《专利凶猛》,收获颇大,特别向大家推荐一下。

黄晶是奇虎360公司的知识产权法务总监。不过,本书主要是以黄晶以前在华旗资讯公司的经历为原型,围绕U盘和MP3等电子消费产品的设计、销售、展览等所衍生的故事。

卢学红是资深审查员,现在在国知局办公室宣传处工作,因此本书对于专利局、专利行业的很多深刻见解很可能是出自卢学红的亲身经历。

一. 故事概要

(以下公司名称均为我个人推测,非原书批露):

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功能性限定:惩罚?还是救济?[Interpretation of a functional feature, Remedy or Punishment?]

【宋海宁注:8月1日出台的《最高人民法院关于审理侵犯专利权纠纷案件的司法解释(二)(征求意见稿)》第10条是有关功能性特征的规定。本文中,作者杨国权对于“功能性特征”的概述有利于理解这条司法解释的历史背景和立法精神,尤其是第三部分对于功能性特征的相关规则的立法建议,也值得我们借鉴。】

在2009年最高人民法院《关于审理侵犯专利权纠纷案件应用法律若干问题的解释(法释【2009】第21号)》中引入了功能性限定的概念。司法解释2009第4条规定:

对于权利要求中以功能或者效果表述的技术特征,人民法院应当结合说明书和附图描述的该功能或者效果的具体实施方式及其等同的实施方式,确定该技术特征的内容。

这条司法解释涉及所谓的功能性限定,它指的是以功能或者效果的方式来限定技术特征。根据这条规定,功能性限定的特征的保护范围被解释成说明书中的具体实施方式及其等同的实施方式。

在实践中,专利权人一般都不希望侵权法院对其专利适用这条规定,因为,他们认为这会在侵权案件中限缩专利的保护范围,不利于专利权人。具体而言,专利权人通常认为,根据《专利审查指南》第二部分第二章第3.2.1节规定,对于权利要求中所包含的功能性限定的技术特征,应当理解为覆盖了所有能够实现所述功能的实施方式。相比较于审查指南中的这种规定,司法解释2009第四条的规定似乎缩小了功能性限定的特征的保护范围。

功能性限定真的不利于专利权人,是对专利权的一种限制或惩罚吗?要解释这个问题,还得从功能性限定的起源说起。

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广东省的专利代理机构调研之体会

2014年8月20-22日,我跟随国家知识产权局组织的团队去广东调研,走访了广州、东莞、深圳三地。

本次调研的人员组成为:国家知识产权局条法司的领导、广东省知识产权局的领导、北京法院的法官、北京的资深律师、专利代理人、研究院的专家、高校教授等。

本次调研是服务于国务院制定的《专利代理行业发展中长期规划》,其中进一步细分为若干个子课题,包括:

  • 专利代理国际化服务能力研究
  • 专利律师制度探索
  • 专利代理人才培养机制创新
  • 专利代理服务规范研究
  • 《专利代理惩戒规则(试行)》立法后评估
  • 《专利代理行业发展规划(2009-2015)》实施情况的评估

调研的对象以广州本地的专利主管部门、专利代理机构、企业,调研形式主要是召开座谈会、填写调查问卷。

我本人参与的是“专利代理国际化服务能力研究”的子课题研究。以下谈谈这几天的所见所闻以及一些深刻体会。

一.政府资助

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Chinese Supreme Court Invites Comments On Its Proposed Draft of “2014 Judicial Interpretation of Patent Infringement Trial” — Part V

My Comments on Articles 25-37

Article 25 [Contributory infringement and Induced infringement]

If a party has knowledge that certain product is a raw material, component, or intermediate product, etc. that is solely used for implementing an invention creation, and still provides said product to a third party who has no right to implement the patent or who is not liable for infringement under the law, the court may find the act of providing said product by the party constitutes “contributory infringement” under Article 9 of the Chinese Torts Law.

If a party has knowledge that certain product or process can be used for implementing an invention creation, and actively induces a third party to implement the patent by providing documents, disclosing technical solutions, etc., where said third party has no right to implement the patent or is not liable for infringement under the law, the court may find the inducing act of the party constitutes “induced infringement” under Article 9 of the Chinese Torts Law.

Comments:

  1. Elements for “contributory infringement”
  • Subjective intention (i.e., clear knowledge)
  • Objective contributory behavior: providing materials, components, etc. solely used for implementing the invention to a third party…
  • The third party has infringed the patent
  1. Elements for “induced infringement”
  • Subjective intention (i.e., clear knowledge)
  • Objective inducing behavior: to induce a third party implementing the invention by providing drawings, documents, technical solutions, etc.
  • The third party has infringed the patent
  1. As to the “third party”, the above Article defines it as “…who has no right to implement the patent, or who is not liable for infringement under the law.” Such a language covers two categories:

(1)  First, “…who has no right to implement the patent” refers to “infringers” under Article 11 of the Chinese Patent Law.

Article 11 says “… no individual or entity shall implement the invention without permission of the patentee, that is, to make, use, promise the sale of, sell or import the patented product, or use the patented process and use, promise the sale of, sell or import the product directly obtained from the patented process, for production or business purposes.”

(2)  Second, “who is not liable for infringement under the law” refers to “non-infringers” under Article 69 of the Chinese Patent Law.

Article 69 defines five circumstances where it does not constitute patent infringement even if a party has implemented the patent. Said circumstances include:

  • Patent exhaustion;
  • Prior use;
  • Used in transporting devices that temporarily pass China territory;
  • Scientific and experimental use;
  • Bolar exception, that is, for administrative review of medicine or medical equipment
  1. Two further questions:

(1)  Does “contributory/induced infringement” require a finding of “direct infringement” as a premise?

The answer seems to be “NO.”

For example, when a third party is a “non-infringer” under Article 69 of the Chinese Patent Law, there is no direct infringer. Yet the contributing or inducing party still has liability.  

(2) Is a “third party” in this Article broad enough to cover “an ordinary consumer,” that is, someone who exploits the invention for non-business/non-production purpose?

I guess no. Given that an ordinary consumer typically refers to someone who has no “production or business purpose,” it does not fall into the first category of Article 11. Nor does it fall into the second category of Article 69.

  继续阅读

Chinese Supreme Court Invites Comments On Its Proposed Draft of “2014 Judicial Interpretation of Patent Infringement Trial” — Part IV

Following my previous post, I give my comments on Articles 10-16. 

Article 10 [Definition of a functional feature; Literal scope of a functional feature; Equivalent of a functional feature] 

A functional feature, i.e., a claim feature defined in terms of effect or function, refers to a claim feature that solely uses the function or effect achieved by said feature in the invention to define the claimed structures, components, steps, conditions, or relations. However, if a party has provided evidence to prove said claim feature is a technical term well-known in the field, or that contents of said claim feature can be directly and definitely determined by a person skilled in the art by reading the claim alone, then said claim feature shall not be deemed as a functional feature.

Compared to essential technical features described in the specification and figures for achieving said functions or effects, if a corresponding technical feature of an alleged infringing solution utilizes substantially the same means, achieves the same function, obtains the same effect, and can be figured out by those skilled in the art before the filing date without any inventive efforts, such a corresponding feature shall be considered as literally identical to the functional feature.

Compared to essential technical features described in the specification and figures for achieving said functions or effects, if a corresponding technical feature of an alleged infringing solution utilizes substantially the same means, achieves substantially the same function, obtains substantially the same effect, and can be figured out by those skilled in the art after the filing date, but before the date of infringement without any inventive efforts, such a corresponding feature shall be considered as an equivalent of the functional feature.

Comments:

1. When this draft was circulating among academic community in June, I wrote a post “Chinese Proposed Judicial Interpretation on Deciding Patent Infringement (I)【最高法院关于专利侵权司法解释的讨论稿 (一)】” to explain the structure of Article 10.

2. Compared with the earlier draft, the 1st paragraph changed a little bit (see the underlined language).

“A functional feature” is decided by a two-step test:

(a) Whether a feature meets a general definition, i.e., “it defines structure, steps, components, etc. solely in terms of function or effect”; and

(b) Whether said feature falls into any of the following two exceptions:

  • (i)  Is a well-known technical term in the field; or
  • (ii) Its content can be directly and definitely decided by a person skilled in the art after reading the claim alone

The above underlined language addresses my previous question. Without such a limitation “after reading the claim alone”, exception (ii) is broadly vague. Further, this language, in my opinion, ensures that a “non-obvious feature” (i.e., a feature that is distinguished from the prior art, and is less likely to be understood by reading the claim alone) cannot be considered as an exception of a functional feature, provided it is defined solely by its function or effect.

Recalling Nokia v. Huaqin, the key claim term “a message editor configured for…” is construed as a functional feature by the court. Will it be considered as an exception to a functional feature under this new rule? Probably no. In the litigation, the patentee had always argued that this “message editor” is not disclosed by any prior art and renders the patent as a whole non-obvious. Accordingly, such a feature is unlikely to be understood by reading a claim alone, and thus is not qualified to fall into exception (i) or (ii).
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Chinese Supreme Court Invites Comments On Its Proposed Draft of “2014 Judicial Interpretation of Patent Infringement Trial” — Part III

Before I give specific comments on each article, I’d like to make three general observations regarding this 2014 Judicial Interpretation Draft.

1. This draft codifies many rules developed in precedential cases, in particular, patent retrial cases decided by the Supreme Court in 2010-2013.

2. This draft attempts to make breakthroughs on certain new and controversial legal issues:

  • “contributory infringement” [Art. 25],
  • “induced infringement” [Art. 25],
  • “Standard Essential Patent and FRAND obligations” [Art. 27],
  • “bad faith patent practice” [Art. 35].

3. Between the public and patentee, this draft seems to impose more restrictions on a patentee, such as,

  • Failure to give a definite and consistent claim scope will directly render a patent unenforceable. [Art. 4, 5, 6, etc.]
  • Prosecution history estoppel is broadened [Art. 8], while doctrine of equivalents is narrowed. [Art. 10, 14, 15, etc.]
  • An injunction is no longer a default remedy, but will be withheld under specific circumstances.[Art. 27, 29, 30]

My specific comments are as follows. 

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Chinese Supreme Court Invites Comments On Its Proposed Draft of “2014 Judicial Interpretation of Patent Infringement Trial” — Part II

Following my previous post, “Chinese Supreme Court Invites Comments On Its Proposed Draft of “2014 Judicial Interpretation of Patent Infringement Trial” — Part I”, I provide my translation and summary of Chapters IV to VI in this post. 

 

Chinese Supreme Court’s Judicial Interpretation for Several Issues Involving Patent Infringement Disputes (2014.8.1) 

[Draft for Public Opinions] 

Chapter IV – Infringement test for an Invention and Utility Model Patent

Article 22 [Fees for using a patented device/process after its publication, before issuance]

(translation omitted)

Article 23 [A valid contract constitutes “sale” under Art. 11 of Patent Act]

(translation omitted)

Article 24 [what constitutes “using a product directly obtained from a claimed process” under Art. 11 of Patent Act]

(translation omitted)

Article 25 [Contributory infringement and Induced infringement]

If a party has knowledge that certain product is a raw material, component, or intermediate product, etc. that is solely used for implementing an invention creation, and still provides said product to a third party who has no right to implement the patent or who is not liable for infringement under the law, the court may find the act of providing said product by the party constitutes “contributory infringement” under Article 9 of the Chinese Torts Law.

If a party has knowledge that certain product or process can be used for implementing an invention creation, and actively induces a third party to implement the patent by providing documents, disclosing technical solutions, etc., where said third party has no right to implement the patent or is not liable for infringement under the law, the court may find the inducing act of the party constitutes “induced infringement” under Article 9 of the Chinese Torts Law.

Chapter V – Defense; Injunction; Damages

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Chinese Supreme Court Invites Comments On Its Proposed Draft of “2014 Judicial Interpretation of Patent Infringement Trial” — Part I

On August 1, 2014, the Chinese Supreme Court published “Draft of 2014 Judicial Interpretations of Several Legal Issues in Patent Infringement Trial“, and invited public comments on it. The draft is available here.

As a background, in 2009, the Chinese Supreme Court issued 2009 Judicial Interpretations concerning Legal Issues in the Patent Infringement Trial (bilingual version)which is still effective now.

There are 37 articles in this 2014 Judicial Interpretation Draft. I roughly divide it into six chapters:

  • Chapter I – Formality and Procedures
  • Chapter II  - Claim Construction
  • Chapter III – Infringement test for design patent
  • Chapter IV – Infringement test for invention and utility model patent
  • Chapter V - Defense; Injunction; Damages
  • Chapter VI - Retroactive force of an invalid patent

I have prepared an English translation of certain articles I believe important. I will post my translation and summary in two posts (Part I and Part II),  and my comments and questions in another two posts (Part III and Part IV). 

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The Story of Battling Giants — GoerTek Acoustics v. Knowles Electronics

[WORKING PAPER]

(The final version of this article is intended to be published by Chinese Patent and Trademark this October. Many thanks to Yin Huang‘s valuable editing work and insightful comments. The author invites further comments and suggestions for improvement, his email address is: haining.song@gmail.com)

In April 2014, the Weifang City Intermediate People’s Court made decisions in two of five patent infringement lawsuits between GoerTek Acoustics and Knowles (Suzhou) Electronics. In both decisions (Judgments [2013] Wei Zhi Chu Zi No. 255, [2013] Wei Zhi Chu Zi No. 256), the Weifang Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff GoerTek Acoustics (hereinafter, “GoerTek”), issuing an injunction against the Knowles (Suzhou) Electronics (hereafter, “Knowles (Suzhou)”), and awarding damages of RMB 74.4 million.

This is truly a spectacular figure, even as patent cases are constantly breaking records of damages in the past few years. As I learn more details about the case, I cannot help being reminded of Malcolm Galdwell’s latest book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, which tells stories in which an obscure small man beats a giant. Knowles (Suzhou) is a subsidiary of Knowles (U.S.), who has been a leader in the industry for more than a decade. GoerTek started as an OEM company only a few years ago. Knowles (Suzhou) is represented by Fangda Partners, which is a top-tier law firm in the region, while GoerTek is represented by Beyond Talent IP firm, which was founded no more than two years ago by two partners. In view of firms’ respective reputations, it is no wonder that the Court’s ruling came as a big surprise.

After a close analysis of the case, I believe the Weifang Court has made some innovative (and probably controversial) efforts in deciding certain issues, such as damages and injunction. I’d like to share my knowledge and comments of the case in this article.

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Basics of American and Chinese Patent Law (V) – 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) 【中美专利法基础比较(五) – 美国专利法第102(b)条】

Section 102(b) Defines Exceptions to Prior Art Rules under Section 102(a)

The previous post discussed 35 U.S.C. § 102(a) and the categories of prior art enumerated therein. As outlined in that post, prior art under American law includes a variety of acts that have the effect of disclosing a claimed invention to the public before a patent application for the invention is filed. Section 102(b), however, states that actions otherwise within the scope of section 102(a) are not treated as prior art if they fulfill certain conditions. In effect, section 102(b) enumerates “exceptions” to the general rules of prior art defined in section 102(a).

Section 102(b) provides:

(b) Exceptions.—

(1) Disclosures made 1 year or less before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.— A disclosure made 1 year or less before the effective filing date of a claimed invention shall not be prior art to the claimed invention under subsection (a)(1) if—

(A) the disclosure was made by the inventor or joint inventor or by another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor; or

(B) the subject matter disclosed had, before such disclosure, been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor.

(2) Disclosures appearing in applications and patents.— A disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under subsection (a)(2) if—

(A) the subject matter disclosed was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor;

(B) the subject matter disclosed had, before such subject matter was effectively filed under subsection (a)(2), been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor; or

(C) the subject matter disclosed and the claimed invention, not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention, were owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person.

继续阅读

中国最高院的专利法第33条之“三部曲” 【Chinese Supreme Court’s Trilogy on Deciding “New Matter” in Patent Law】

一.       引言

《专利法》第33条规定:“对发明和实用新型专利申请文件的修改不得超出原说明书和权利要求书记载的范围”。基于该条款,专利局决定什么样的修改可以被接受。该条款也是专利无效程序的法定理由,可以导致专利被无效。

适用第33条时,如何确定“原说明书和权利要求书记载的范围”一直是颇受争议的焦点问题,专利局、专利代理行业、产业界、法院都有自己的观点。

在研究了最高法院2011-2013年涉及第33条的再审案例之后,笔者认为有三个判例颇为典型,基本确定了适用该法条的框架,笔者将其称为 “三部曲案例”:

基于三部曲,笔者在本文中想讨论如下四个法律问题:

  1. 原说明书和权利要求书记载的范围,除了文字和附图记载内容之外,还包含哪些内容?
  2. 当事人的意见陈述对于判断第33条有何作用?
  3. “发明点”的修改以及“非发明点”的修改,是否应该区别对待?
  4. 说明书的修改与权利要求的修改,是否应该区别对待?

继续阅读

Basics of American and Chinese Patent Law‏ (IV) – Novelty and Prior Art 【中美专利法基础比较(四) – 新颖性标准的图表表示】

《中美专利法比较(二)》《中美专利法比较(三)》中,黄寅律师已经概括介绍了中美新颖性的概念。本文中,我尝试用图表来更直观地对比中美的新颖性标准。

新颖性标准可以概括为如下问题:何人(who)、何时(when)、何处(where)、何事(what),能够破坏新颖性?

继续阅读

如何应对跨国公司利用知识产权避税?【IP Solutions to Multinationals’ Tax Avoidance Strategy 】

跨国公司,尤其是诸如Apple、Google、Microsoft等科技巨头利用知识产权(专利、著作权、商标等)进行合理避税的问题早已经不是新闻,各国政府都注意到了这一现象并且在研究对策。不过,近来人们吃惊地发现像Starbuck这样的传统消费企业也在利用知识产权进行大规模的避税【参见2012年Reuters的报道】,Starbuck也因此而在英国遭遇了严重的公共关系危机,甚至其产品也遭到抵制,以至于她不得屈服于英国公众压力,承诺在接下来的两年里每年支付一千万欧元的公司税款【参见2012年的金融时报报道】。

尽管跨国公司避税的现象存在由来已久,但是税法领域一直没有很好的应对方案。近期Andrew Blair-Stanek的论文《Intellectual Property Law Solutions to Tax Avoidance》中提出了利用知识产权法的改革来遏制这种避税的现象,笔者阅读之后感到深受启发。Andrew提出的一些思路将深刻地影响专利侵权诉讼的规则(例如,专利有效性、是否颁发禁令、如何计算赔偿额等问题),从理论方面、可操作性方面,都有值得我们借鉴之处。

本文的第一部分简单介绍了跨国公司避税的现象,其中以Apple、Google、Microsoft等科技公司和Starbuck、McDonald’s等传统消费公司为样本进行分析;第二部分则与读者分享Andrew提出的观点;第三部分则是笔者结合了Andrew的观点对中国专利实践的一些思考。

继续阅读

Judge Rader辞职引发的对知识产权法院的思考 【Thoughts on Special IP Court after Former Chief Judge Rader Step Down】

自从党的第十八届三中全会提出“探索建立知识产权法院”以来,“知识产权法院”这一议题一直是相关学者、法官和律师讨论的焦点。

主流观点认为建立知识产权法院是大势所趋。支持的理由包括:有助于统一审判标准;有利于克服地方保护主义的影响;保证了有足够专业知识储备的法官来审理专业性强、复杂度高的知识产权案件。

有趣的是,在说明建立知识产权法院的必要性的时候,美国联邦巡回上诉法院(United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, CAFC)通常会被作为一个值得学习的成功范例而被屡屡提及。

然而,近期CAFC的首席法官Judge Randal R. Rader因为电子邮件丑闻而被迫辞职的事件引发了美国学术界、律师界对建立CAFC的反省,其中的一些批评意见也颇值得我们思考。

继续阅读

苹果公司真的漠视中国市场吗?- 再议苹果公司在中国遭遇的知识产权诉讼【Why Is Apple Inc. Frequently Sued in China?】

近日读到一篇文章《苹果中国连遭知识产权案:漠视的代价》,文章的主要观点是:苹果公司近年来在中国频繁卷入知识产权诉讼是它漠视中国市场而造成的,颇有点苹果公司“自食恶果”的味道。

这篇文章的背景应该是近期宣判的一起诉讼案件。2014年7月8日,北京一中院宣布苹果公司对中国专利“一种聊天机器人系统”提起的专利无效诉讼案件败诉。如果把视角再拉远一点,过去几年来苹果公司确实在中国涉及多起诉讼争议。2012年的“iPad”商标争议案,苹果最终向唯冠支付了6000万美元的和解费以获得iPad商标。2013年,苹果公司在中国又卷入多起专利诉讼案,例如,iPhone手机中的Siri功能被控侵犯了上海智臻公司的中国专利“一种聊天机器人系统”;iPhone手机中的iMessage功能被控侵犯了中国专利ZL201010232834.7 “手机短信向即时通通信业务平滑过渡的双模式客户端及方法”。

然而,笔者在细读了这篇文章之后,觉得“漠视中国论”的观点以及论据似乎都有瑕疵,不能让人信服。对于该文中的一些观点及论据,笔者摘录如下:

  • “苹果中国这几年遭遇多起商标权、域名、专利诉讼,一点都不偶然。看上去似乎是大陆相关企业故意搞它,其实跟它过去多年轻视中国直接相关。”
  • “苹果在中国申请的专利数量,不及IBM的1/5。查询下来,它在中国累积申请获批过大约2500多项专利。而IBM要12000多项。其他IT巨头也大都胜过苹果中国的专利布局。”

继续阅读

Basics of American and Chinese Patent Law (III) – 35 U.S.C. § 102(a) 【中美专利法基础比较(三) – 美国专利法第102(a)条】

Prior Art under American Law as Defined in 35 U.S.C. § 102(a)

In American law, novelty and prior art are defined in 35 U.S.C. § 102 (“section 102”). Section 102 is further divided into section 102(a), which defines the scope of the prior art, and section 102(b), which defines exceptions for materials that otherwise fall within the scope of section 102(b). This discussion will focus on section 102(a). Section 102(b) will be discussed in a future post.

Section 102(a) provides:

(a) Novelty; Prior Art.— A person shall be entitled to a patent unless—

(1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or

(2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued under section 151, or in an application for patent published or deemed published under section 122(b), in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.

继续阅读

Basics of American and Chinese Patent Law‏ (II) – Novelty and Prior Art 【中美专利法基础比较(二) – 新颖性与现有技术】

The first of the three requirements for patent eligibility of a claimed invention under both American and Chinese patent law is that the claimed invention is novel. As noted in a previous post , novelty means that the claimed invention does not exist within the prior art.

On a conceptual level, prior art is the body of all preexisting inventions. Indeed, the Chinese term for prior art literally means “existing technology” (现有技术). In practice, however, prior art actually consists of the body of inventions whose preexistence can be proven through some form of documentation. A common method to show the preexistence of a claimed invention is to show that an invention regarded as identical is described in a paper document, such as an issued patent or a scientific publication. Another way to show preexistence is to produce evidence showing that the claimed invention has been disclosed to the public. These, and several other types of documentation proving the preexistence of a claimed invention, are enumerated in both American and Chinese patent law, though the details of enumeration vary between the two countries.

Both countries additionally recognize certain exceptions to the usual rules concerning prior art. In the United States, for instance, certain printed documents that would otherwise qualify as prior art are ignored during patent examination if they were made public within a “grace period” defined by statute. In China, a similar exception exists for disclosures of an invention made within certain kinds of academic conferences or trade exhibitions.

It is useful to note that “novelty” and “prior art” are simply opposite ways of referring to the same underlying concept. If an invention is novel, then by definition it is not within the prior art. Likewise, if an invention is within the prior art, then by definition it is not novel. Thus “novel” is synonymous with “not within the prior art,” and “within the prior art” is synonymous with “not novel.” In future posts, the terms within each synonymous pair will be used interchangeably where appropriate.

Basics of American and Chinese Patent Law‏ – Introduction 【中美专利法基础比较(一) :序言】

Introduction

American patent law and Chinese patent law define roughly analogous requirements for the patent eligibility of inventions in their respective jurisdictions. So long as an invention constitutes inherently patent-eligible subject matter, American and Chinese patent law require the invention to meet three conditions before a patent can be issued: (1) that the invention is new; (2) that the invention is useful; and (3) that the invention constitutes a significant advance over preexisting technologies. American and Chinese law, of course, have established distinct terminologies and legal nuances for these concepts.

In American patent law, these requirements are respectively termed (1) novelty, (2) utility, and (3) non-obviousness. The body of all preexisting inventions, against which a claimed invention is evaluated, is termed the “prior art.” “Novelty” means that a claimed invention does not exist within the prior art. “Utility” means that the claimed invention has a well-defined function. “Non-obviousness” means that the claimed invention, evaluated as a whole, would not have been an “obvious” improvement over the prior art. In judging non-obviousness and other merits of a claimed invention, the claimed invention is to be viewed from the standpoint of a “person skilled in the art.” The person skilled in the art is essentially shorthand for the body of knowledge that is considered to exist within the technological field of the particular claimed invention.

In Chinese patent law, the three requirements for patent eligibility are termed (1) novelty (新颖性), (2) inventiveness (创造性), and (3) utility (实用性). The body of preexisting inventions is termed “existing technology” (现有技术). In practice, these requirements are similar to those in American patent law. Novelty means that a claimed invention is not already within the scope of existing technology. Inventiveness means the claimed invention constitutes a significant advance over existing technology. Utility means the claimed invention is capable of performing its intended function. Because the concept of existing technology is analogous to the American idea of prior art, the remainder of this discussion will refer to it as “prior art” or “prior art under Chinese law” where doing so will not cause confusion.

 Sources of Legal Authority

继续阅读

Chinese Proposed Judicial Interpretation on Deciding Patent Infringement (II)【最高法院关于专利侵权司法解释的讨论稿 (二)】

Exception of Injunction【禁令的例外】

1. SC’s Proposed Rule 

The court might not grant an injunction order to stop the infringer implementing the involved patent if such an injunction order will cause harm to public interest or lead to a serious imbalance between the interests of the parties, but the court shall order the infringer pay a reasonable fee for using the involved patent.

【侵权人停止实施相关专利会损害社会公共利益或者导致当事人之间的利益严重失衡的,人民法院可以不责令侵权人停止实施行为,但侵权人应当支付合理的使用费。】

继续阅读

Chinese Proposed Judicial Interpretation on Deciding Patent Infringement (I)【最高法院关于专利侵权司法解释的讨论稿 (一)】

On July 18, 2014, the Intellectual Property Institute of Renmin University held an academic conference to discuss the latest draft of the Supreme Court’s Proposed Judicial Interpretation on Deciding Patent Infringement, as reported in one Chinese article. Two Supreme Court Justices attended the conference and provided an edited version of the proposed rules (available here: Frontier Issues on Determining Patent Infringement – 专利侵权判定热点问题). In particular, regarding certain frontier legal issues, the Supreme Court Justices invited comments from law professors, industry representatives and IP practitioners.

Having the honor to attend this conference, I’d like to share my comments on SC’s proposed rules in a series of posts, covering at least the following issues:

  1. How to interpret a functional claim feature
  2. Exception of granting an injunction
  3. Damages calculation
  4. Prosecution history estoppels
  5. Indirect infringement

I will start with the first issue. For readers’ convenience, I translate the relevant SC’s rules into English.

继续阅读

Myriad Standard Implies Distinction Between “Naturally Occurring” and Non-”Naturally Occurring” Polymers in Biotechnology 【Myriad一案对生物科学中“自然出现”与“非自然出现”的聚合物的隐含区分标准】

【宋海宁注:本文讨论了Myriad一案中涉及的DNA生物技术,以及Myriad一案的标准可能应用于除DNA之外的其他生物聚合物。经过作者授权,我将其翻译为中文,附在英文之后】

In Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, the Supreme Court announced a new standard for determining the patent eligibility of DNA segments. The Court held that 35 U.S.C. § 101 recognizes a distinction between DNA segments that are “naturally occurring” and DNA segments that are not. Under the Court’s standard, only the latter are patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

继续阅读

专利正在贬值 —谈美国最高院近期判决的影响 【U.S. Patents Are Depreciating – Impact of Recent Rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court】

美国最高院今年已经对6个专利再审案件做出了判决,包括最近刚刚审判的Alice一案。在我之前的博客《中、美最高法院对专利再审案件的改判比例》中,已经概括了之前5个案例中涉及的法律问题。毫无疑问,最高法院对每个法律问题的评述都值得我们细细研究,或者认同、或者质疑。

然而,更重要的是,对于专利权人而言,这些判决有如下共性:

  • 专利的授权标准被提高;或
  • 行使专利权的成本被提高。

从这个角度看,美国专利的价值(或者说,威力)正在下降。笔者以表格概括了这些判决的影响。

案例 争议焦点 对专利权人的影响
Alice v. CLS Bank “抽象概念”以通用计算机予以实现时,是否属于可授权主题?(答:否)  商业方法基本不可能被授予专利
Octane Fitness v. Icon Health and Fitness 如何认定由败诉方承担另一方的律师费的“例外情况”?(答:法官有裁量权)  法院有充分裁量权来让一方承担另一方的律师费,使专利权人(作为原告)提起诉讼的成本增加
Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Management Systems, Inc. 审查下级法院所认定的“例外情况”是否正确时,审查标准是什么?(答:标准是“滥用裁量权”)  法院有充分裁量权来让一方承担另一方的律师费,使专利权人(作为原告)提起诉讼的成本增加
Medtronic, Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures, LLC 被许可人在法院提起“宣告不侵权”之诉时,专利侵权的举证责任在哪一方?(答:专利权人承担)  专利权人的举证责任加大
Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc. 何种程度的“不清楚”会导致专利被无效?(答:需要满足”reasonable certainty”)  专利更容易被无效
Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc. 引诱侵权的认定必须以直接侵权为前提?(答:是) 引诱侵权的标准更高,专利权人证明侵权更加困难

对于专利权人,每个判例都足以使他重新评估自己的专利策略、并做出必要的调整。以下就上述6个案例进行更具体的说明。

继续阅读

联发科、联想等企业被提起337调查【ITC 337 Investigation Against MediaTek, Lenovo, etc】

2014年5月12日,美国的Freescale Semiconductor公司在美国联邦贸易委员会(USITC)提起了337调查请求,案号为337 #920,调查对象为台湾、日本、大陆和美国的众多公司,范围之广颇为壮观,包括:

  • 芯片制造商(联发科技MediaTek)、
  • 使用芯片的下游企业(联想、Acer、东芝、夏普、雅马哈等)、
  • 卖场(walmart、Best buy、Amazon、Newegg、Costco等)

基于目前公开的信息(请求人的起诉书337 investigation case No.920 – complaint),本案的简单介绍如下。

继续阅读

Aereo: A New Standard for “Public Performance” 【ABC 诉Aereo一案中“公开表演”的新标准】

【宋海宁注:黄寅毕业于Stanford University,随后在Columbia Law School取得J.D.学位。黄寅拥有美国律师执业资格和专利代理人执业资格。Aereo一案涉及的是美国版权法的法律问题,即“公开表演权”及“公开传输”的定义。Aereo是一家提供流媒体内容服务的创业公司,其商业模式经过精心设计以避免侵权责任(尤其考虑了第二巡回法院判决的Cablevision一案),并至少吸引了高达3400万美元的风险投资。然而,2014年6月25日最高院作出的判决改变了游戏规则,否定了Aereo的商业模式的合法性,进而将影响其生死存亡。】

Introduction

In American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo Inc., the Supreme Court announced a new standard for determining the legality of the streaming of broadcast television programs under the concept of “public performance” set forth in 17 U.S.C. § 106(4) and the concept of “transmission” set forth in 17 U.S.C. § 101. The Court held that where broadcast television programming is distributed through an intermediary streaming service, the size of the audience reached by the service can independently make such distribution a public performance within the meaning of 17 U.S.C. § 106(4).

In so ruling, the Court departed from the previous standard for identifying online public performances, which had been established by the Second Circuit in Cablevision. Under the Cablevision standard, it was not the size of the audience, but the “public” or “private” nature of the transmissions underlying a streaming service, that determined whether the service engaged in public performance. The consequence of Aereo appears to be a movement away from technology-dependent standards in evaluating the legality of streaming services and toward a standard that emphasizes the size of the audience ultimately reached.

Aereo’s Business Model

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Who are Using “Configured to/for” in Chinese Patents, and Why? — Reflections on Nokia v. Huaqin 【从诺基亚 v.华勤一案谈中国专利中的“被配置为”】

Patent litigation in smart phone industry has become so common these days that people almost get used to it. Yet the recent case Nokia v. Huaqin decided by Shanghai High Court (appellate court) in February 2014 has been an unusually interesting one due to the “new” rule created by the courts with respect to the interpretation of “configured to/for” language in its patent claim. The case was first decided by the Shanghai Intermediate Court in June, 2013 [(2011) Hu Yi Zhong Min Wu (Zhi) Chu Zi No.47], and then affirmed by the Shanghai High Court [(2013) Hu Gao Min San (Zhi) Zhong Zi No.96]. The debate surrounding this case, however, continues.

One important legal issue addressed in this case is how to conduct claim construction when a functional feature exists in a claim. Specifically, the following two questions need to be answered:

  1. How to decide a functional feature in a claim?
  2. How to determine the content of a functional feature?

The Chinese Patent Law basically says nothing about these two issues. The 2009 Judicial Interpretation issued by the Chinese Supreme Court established a general but vague framework on this issue: “…the content of a functional claim feature shall be interpreted in combination with the corresponding embodiment in the specification that is used to achieve the function, and its equivalents” (Rule 4, Fa Shi [2009] No.21).

In Nokia v. Huaqin, the Shanghai Courts made a big (more of “innovative”) step in their efforts to try to address the two issues. Yet the analysis and answers they provided seemed to have caused more concerns among patent owners in China. 

First of all, let me briefly summarize the reasoning of the judges in this case, as follows:

  1. The term “configured for…” in claim 7 of the asserted patent triggers a presumption that the feature “message editor” defined by such “configured for…” is a functional feature. The plaintiff (also the patentee), Nokia, fails to rebut the presumption.
  2. When applying Rule 4 of the 2009 Judicial Interpretation to interpret the functional feature “message editor configured for…”, the court cannot find any corresponding embodiment.
  3. Since the court cannot conduct claim construction, the court concluded that it is impossible to find infringement, and thus rejecting the plaintiff’s claim.

Apparently, the above analysis adopted by Chinese judges in Nokia v. Huaqin is very similar to the “means plus function” test under 112(f) of the U.S. Patent Law.  Not surprisingly, there will be arguments and different views following this decision, and in particular, with regard to the application of the “means plus function” test standard. What interests me, however, are the following few questions:

First, is it appropriate to make “configured to/for…” an indicator (though rebuttable) for invoking functional claim interpretation? 

My answer is straightforward, NO.

继续阅读

Rader法官的退休计划以及告别信 【Former Chief Judge Rader’s Retire Plan and Open Letter to Colleagues】

2014年6月30日是Rader法官在联邦上诉巡回法院(CAFC)的最后一天,他写给他多年的同事一封信(转载自patentlyo.com)。读完之后,感觉Rader法官已经平静了很多,尤其是比起他上个月谈论退休计划的时候(I am leaving the CAFC while I still have the energy to change the world,转载自IAM-magazine)。我把两份声明都转帖于此。

继续阅读

Legislation Debate over Service Invention Regulations in China 【职务发明条例的立法进展】

On June 17, 2014, Tsinghua Law School held a conference to discuss some provisions of the legislation draft of Service Invention Regulations. A copy of the draft being discussed is available here: 聚焦职务发明制度立法进展.

As a background, an older draft of the Regulations was published by the SIPO in 2012, and also invoked a lot of debates. For example,see the following bilingual memo: Joint USCC AmCham Comments on Service Invention Regulations.

This time, the topics that had been debated are listed as below, with my summary of the opponent’s opinions:

1. Rule 4  [Scope of Service Invention] Service Invention defined in this Regulation covers Patent, Plant, IC design, and Trade secret.

Opponent: Trade secret is different from patent invention in nature, and shall not adopt the same rules.

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China Congress Reporting Enforcement of Patent Law

Chen Zhu, deputy chairman of China National Congress Standing Committee,  gave a report on June 23, 2014 about the enforcement of Chinese Patent Law since it was revised in 2008.

It is noteworthy that the report advises to give administrative organs more powers in investigating infringement cases, though the academic and judicial community have shown serious concerns over this issue.

To read the full Chinese text, please click here. Some important data and opinions are extracted as belows.

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点评《全国人大常委会执法检查组关于检查专利法实施情况的报告》

全国人大常委会副委员长陈竺于2014年6月23日在第十二届全国人民代表大会常务委员会第九次会议上作了《全国人大常委会执法检查组关于检查专利法实施情况的报告》。全文阅读请看这里

本报告对2008年修改的《专利法》的实施情况做了全面总结,并对今后立法修改提出了具体建议。笔者摘出其中一些重要的数据和观点,尤其是关于是否加强专利行政执法力度这个颇有争议的话题,提出了倾向性的意见,值得与读者共享。

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美国、中国专利诉讼的耗时、成本、赔偿额 【Time, Costs and Monetary Damages of U.S. and China Patent Litigation】

最近读到Roger Smeets于2014年4月发布的报告《Does patent litigation reduce corporate R&D? An analysis of US public firms》,其中基于上市公司统计了关于美国专利诉讼的一些数据,包括诉讼数量、持续时间等;结合Bessen和Meurer于2012年发布的报告《The Direct cost From NPE Disputes》,对于我们对美国专利诉讼有个直观了解颇有帮助。

参考2009年香港专利代理公司选择了5个法院(北京、上海、广东、江苏、浙江)做的调研报告《专利侵权损害赔偿的理论与实践 》,可以对比中、美赔偿额的巨大差异。

以下是从上述报告中摘出的数据和图表。

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Go ask Alice — what can you patent after Alice v. CLS Bank? By Prof. Robert Merges 【问Alice:Alice v. CLS Bank一案之后我们还能得到什么专利】

近期美国最高院关于Alice v. CLS Bank的判决引起了专利界的广泛关注和深切讨论。该案涉及美国专利法第101款的可授权主题的问题,尤其对软件专利有深远影响。

我荣幸的得到了Professor Robert Merges的授权,在这里转贴他的评论文章《Go ask Alice — what can you patent after Alice v. CLS Bank?》,原文刊登在SCOTUSblog,我也得到授权将其进行翻译为中文。

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中国实用新型专利的威力——歌尔声学诉美国楼氏专利侵权案的启示【Power of Chinese Utility Model Patent——Reflections on GoerTek v. Knowles】

今年4月,潍坊中院对歌尔声学诉楼氏电子(苏州)的一系列专利侵权纠纷进行了部分判决【(2013)潍知初字255号,(2013)潍知初字256号】:楼氏电子(苏州)被责令停止生产和销售侵权产品;赔偿7440万人民币。

关于本案的细节将在以后专门撰文论述。这里只想指出,本案再次证明了中国实用新型专利的巨大威力。潍坊中院认定构成侵权所依据的两个专利都是实用新型:CN200820187748.7和CN201020515145.2。这不由让人回想起2007年的正泰诉施耐德专利侵权案【(2006)温民三初字第135号】,这是迄今为止中国专利诉讼中赔偿额最高的,一审判决被告赔偿3.3亿人民币,依据的也是实用新型专利。

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中、美最高法院对专利再审案件的改判比例 【Reversal Ratio of Patent Cases Decided by Chinese and U.S. Supreme Court】

         一.美国的撤销率

自去年10月到今年6月,美国最高法院连续撤销了联邦巡回上诉法院(CAFC)做出的5个判决:

Octane Fitness v. Icon Health and Fitness(争议焦点:如何认定由败诉方承担另一方的律师费的“例外情况”)

Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Management Systems, Inc. (争议焦点:审查下级法院所认定的“例外情况”是否正确时,审查标准是“滥用裁量权”)

Medtronic, Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures, LLC(被许可人在法院提起“宣告不侵权”之诉时,专利侵权的举证责任仍由专利权人承担)

Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.(何种程度的“不清楚”会导致专利被无效)

Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc. (引诱侵权的认定必须以直接侵权为前提)

Scostusblog 给出了美国最高院在最近一年撤销各个巡回法院判决的数据统计:

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