current location: Home > News

Top court's new IP tribunal upholds French firm's patent

Release time:2019-03-28 12:37:24 source:China Daily

The top court on Wednesday ruled in favor of a French global automotive supplier in a patent dispute with two Chinese car accessory companies amid the country's intensified efforts to protect intellectual property rights.

It was also the first public hearing by the Intellectual Property Court of the Supreme People's Court since the special court was set up on Jan 1.

Valeo Systemes d'Essuyage, one of the world's leading auto component providers, sued Xiamen Lukasi Car Accessories Co and Xiamen Fuke Wiper Co, two companies based in Fujian province, claiming infringement of Valeo's patent on a connector for windshield wipers.

An IP court in Shanghai reached a verdict on Jan 22 finding that the two Chinese companies must cease their infringement. The two companies appealed to the top court, insisting that their products did not infringe on Valeo's patent rights.

After a two-hour hearing on Wednesday, the top court upheld the original ruling, and said the two companies should stop their infringement immediately.

The Shanghai IP Court will further calculate the exact amount of compensation that the two Chinese companies should pay to Valeo, according to the verdict. During the first trial, Valeo had requested compensation of 6 million yuan ($893,000).

Wednesday's trial is of great significance as it shows China's growing efforts in protecting IPR, the top court said in a release.

"It shows the country's strong determination in fighting infringement, and intensified judicial protection for IPR and innovation-driven development," said Ma Yide, an intellectual property professor from Zhongnan University of Economics and Law who attended the hearing.

The final verdict was reached only two months after the original one. Such a fast pace reflects improved efficiency in handling IP-related lawsuits in Chinese courts, he said.

The improvement is attributed to the establishment of a national-level IP court under the Supreme People's Court on Jan 1, which has streamlined the appeals process and helps prevent inconsistency in legal applications, Ma said.

With such a national-level IP court, litigants who disagree with the verdicts of local courts at the city level or local IP courts can appeal directly to the top court instead of appealing to provincial-level courts.

Under previous procedures, the two Chinese companies could not have appealed to the top court directly but would have had to go to the Shanghai High People's Court after the first verdict.

Guan Yuying, an IP researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said a streamlined litigation process and more professional judges for IP-related lawsuits will help ensure the judicial quality of such complicated patent cases.

Wednesday's trial was heard by a five-judge panel led by Luo Dongchuan, vice-president of the top court and the chief judge of its IP court.

Responsible editor:IPC