News & Cases from China: April 2020

Published on 28 Apr 2020 | 7 min read

 

央视国际诉聚力公司著作权侵权及不正当竞争案一审认定涉案足球赛事节目构成类电影作品

2016年,“PPTV聚力”设置了演播室对欧洲杯赛事进行直播,演播室的背景屏幕会实时转播来自中央电视台体育频道的比赛现场画面。节目开始前、半场休息时间及比赛结束后,则显示技术统计信息、商业广告等其他内容。

央视国际公司认为,其经授权在大陆地区独占享有通过信息网络在线播放2016年欧洲杯赛事电视节目的权利。聚力公司未经授权向公众提供了两场比赛的网络实时转播服务,构成不正当竞争。央视国际公司诉请被告聚力公司赔偿经济损失和维权合理开支共300万元。

上海市浦东新区人民法院审理后认为,足球赛事直播节目基于其客体性质属于著作权法已作穷尽性规定的领域,反不正当竞争法不应再提供附加保护。涉案足球赛事节目彰显了节目制作过程中的人格因素,属于文学艺术领域的具有“独创性的表达”,且符合固定性要求,可作为著作权法规定的类电影作品加以保护。结合被告节目有商业广告、将实质性替代原告向公众提供涉案足球赛事节目等被告的行为不属于合理使用,侵害了原告对涉案节目享有的“其他权利”。

上海市浦东新区人民法院判决:现有证据表明实际损失或侵权获利明显超过法定赔偿最高限额,聚力公司赔偿央视国际公司200万元及维权合理开支15万元。

Shanghai Court upholds Copyright in Live Broadcast of Football Match – CCTV International Network Co., Ltd v Shanghai SynaCast Media Tech Co., Ltd

In 2016, Shanghai SynaCast Media Tech Co., Ltd arranged for PPTV Network TV, a Chinese video streaming website, to set up a studio for broadcast of the European Football Championship: the UEFA Euro 2016. The studio background screen reproduced the CCTV (China Central Television) Sports Channel’s real time match broadcast. Before the event started, during halftime breaks, and after the game, it displayed technical statistics, commercial advertisements and other content.  

The CCTV International Network Co., Ltd claimed that it had the exclusive right to broadcast the UEFA Euro 2016 matches online through the information network, and that Shanghai SynaCast Media Tech Co., Ltd had, without authority, provided the public with an online real-time broadcast of two UEFA Euro 2016 matches, thereby infringing its copyright and engaging in unfair competition. CCTV International Network Co., Ltd brought a copyright infringement and unfair competition action against Shanghai SynaCast Media Tech Co., Ltd, seeking compensation for economic loss and reasonable costs amounting to CNY 3 million (approx. US$ 422,029).

After hearing the case, the Pudong New Area People's Court of Shanghai held that the broadcast of a live football game was capable of protection under the Copyright Law as a work created by a process analogous to cinematography. The Defendant's acts, which included displaying commercial advertisements and providing the public with a broadcast of the live football game without permission, did not constitute a reasonable use of the copyright work and, therefore, amounted to infringement. In this situation, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law cannot provide additional protection.    

The Court ruled that, because the evidence showed that the actual loss of the Plaintiff, or profit derived by the Defendant, from the infringement obviously exceeded the maximum limit of statutory compensation, CNY500,000 (approx. US$ 70,382),  Shanghai SynaCast Media Tech Co., Ltd shall compensate CCTV International Network Co., Ltd CNY 2 million (approx. US$ 281,175) plus reasonable costs of CNY 150,000 (approx. US$ 21,088).

 

 最高院再审判决由国知局对乔丹及图商标重新作出裁定

乔丹体育股份有限公司(以下简称乔丹公司)前身是成立于1984年的福建晋江县陈埭溪边日用品二厂,是国内具有较高知名度的体育用品企业,在国际分类第25类、第28类等商品或服务上拥有“乔丹”、“QIAODAN”及“乔丹及图”等注册商标。

自2012年以来,美国前NBA球星迈克尔•乔丹以争议商标的注册损害其姓名权为由向商标评审委员会提出申请,请求撤销乔丹体育股份有限公司在多个商品类别上注册的“乔丹”“QIAODAN”等多项商标。不过,国家工商行政管理总局商标评审委员会裁定,维持乔丹体育的一系列商标注册。随后,迈克尔•乔丹向北京市第一中级法院提起了有关“QIAODAN”及“乔丹及图”等商标的78起相关诉讼,北京一中院一审均驳回了迈克尔•乔丹的诉讼请求。迈克尔•杰弗里•乔丹上诉至北京市高级人民法院,二审法院对相关案件驳回上诉,维持原判。

2015年底,迈克尔·乔丹不服北京市高级人民法院作出的68件商标争议行政纠纷案件的二审判决,向最高人民法院申请再审。2015年12月,最高人民法院裁定提审10件案件,驳回50件案件的再审申请,并裁定中止了8件案件。

2016年12月,最高人民法院陆续对提审的10个案件进行宣判,判定在涉及“乔丹”商标的3件案件中,“乔丹”商标的注册损害迈克尔·乔丹在先姓名权,违反商标法,乔丹体育未来不能使用其中3件不同字体的中文“乔丹”商标,撤销了商标评审委员会作出的被诉裁定及一、二审判决。但在涉及拼音“QIAODAN”“qiaodan”与图形组合商标的7件案件中,最高人民法院认定迈克尔·乔丹不享有姓名权,判决维持二审判决,驳回再审申请。在这之后的2017年,又有2起类似案件二审审结,最高人民法院驳回了这两起案件的再审申请。

2020年3月4日,最高人民法院作出(2018)最高法行再32号判决,该案为最高人民法院2015年12月裁定的8件中止诉讼的案件之一,最高法院最终判决撤销商标评审委员会作出的被诉裁定及一、二审判决,判令国家知识产权局针对争议商标重新作出裁定。判决涉及的第6020578号“乔丹及图”商标是乔丹体育2010年获准注册的商标。商标由上方的黑色人形剪影图形与下方的汉字“乔丹”组合而成。

最高院认定本案争议焦点为:

(一)争议商标的注册是否损害了再审申请人主张的在先姓名权和肖像权,违反商标法第三十一条关于“申请商标注册不得损害他人现有的在先权利”的规定;

(二)争议商标的注册是否属于商标法第十条第一款第(八)项规定的“有害于社会主义道德风尚或者有其他不良影响”的情形;

(三)争议商标的注册是否属于商标法第四十一条第一款规定的“以欺骗手段或者其他不正当手段取得注册”的情形。

最高院经审理认为:

(一)“乔丹”在我国具有较高的知名度、为相关公众所熟悉,我国相关公众通常以“乔丹”指代再审申请人,并且“乔丹”已经与再审申请人之间形成了稳定的对应关系,故再审申请人就“乔丹”享有姓名权。乔丹公司明知再审申请人在我国具有长期、广泛的知名度,仍然使用“乔丹”申请注册争议商标,容易导致相关公众误认为标记有争议商标的商品与再审申请人存在代言、许可等特定联系,损害了再审申请人的在先姓名权。

但关于争议商标的注册是否损害了再审申请人主张的肖像权。法院认为,争议商标标识中的仅仅是黑色人形剪影,除身体轮廓外,其中并未包含任何与再审申请人有关的个人特征。并且,再审申请人就该标识所对应的动作本身并不享有其他合法权利,其他自然人也可以作出相同或者类似的动作,该标识不具有可识别性,不能明确指代再审申请人。因此,再审申请人不能就该标识享有肖像权,再审申请人有关争议商标的注册损害其肖像权的主张不能成立。

(二)争议商标标识不存在可能对我国政治、经济、文化、宗教、民族等社会公共利益和公共秩序产生消极、负面影响的情形。

(三)争议商标的注册不属于扰乱商标注册秩序、损害公共利益、不正当占用公共资源,或者以其他方式谋取不正当利益的行为,不属于商标法第四十一条第一款所规定的“其他不正当手段”。

Supreme Court Decides in Michael Jordan’s favour in long-running trademark battle

Michael Jordan has for years been involved in a trademark dispute with a famous Chinese sporting goods company, Qiaodan Sports Co., Ltd (‘Qiaodan Sports) in relation to that company’s use and registration of a range of marks that include a rough transliteration of the name Jordan (QIAODAN), in both Chinese characters and Roman letters; and the stylized figure of a basketball player. 

In the latest decision, the Supreme Court has overturned two lower court decisions in relation to a ‘Qiaodan and Device’ mark comprising 乔丹 (Chinese characters for Qiaodan) and the stylized figure of a basketball player.  The Court held that the mark should not have been registered, and referred the matter back to the China National Intellectual Property Office (CNIPA). 

Qiaodan Sports had applied to register the mark in question, (No. 6020578), in 2007, in Class 25.  Jordan had then filed a request to cancel with the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board of the State Intellectual Property Office of China (CNIPA’s predecessor). The Board decided in favour of Qiaodan Sports, and Jordan filed an administrative action with the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court.  That action was unsuccessful, as was a subsequent appeal to the Beijing Higher People’s Court.    

The Supreme People’s Court has now overturned both earlier decisions and held that CNIPA should make a new ruling in the light of its ruling. 

It found that Michael Jordan has a high reputation in China and that members of the relevant public usually refer to him as ‘Qiaodan’ (in Chinese, 乔丹).  Therefore, he enjoys legal rights in the name "乔丹".  Qiaodan Sports’ use of  "乔丹" in the trademark in question would be likely to lead the relevant public to believe that goods bearing the mark were connected to Michael Jordan, or had been endorsed or authorized by him.

In relation to the silhouette image of the basketball player, however, the Court found that it was merely an image formed by a cucoloris i.e. a device that casts shadows or silhouettes. Apart from the general body shape, there were no personal characteristics relating to Jordan and he enjoyed no legal right or interest in the particular motion being portrayed: any other natural person could make an identical or similar motion. Since the logo was not identifiable as Jordan, the trademark logo did not infringe his portrait right (or right of publicity).  

The Court further stated that Qiaodan Sports was well aware, when it applied for trademark registration, that Michael Jordan had an extensive reputation in China.  Such registration damaged Jordan’s prior name rights and contravened Article 31 of the Trademark law.


新百伦诉纽巴伦不正当竞争案一审判赔1080

许多消费者分不清“New Balance”和“NEW·BARLUN”两个品牌,因为两品牌读音相似,更重要的原因在于两家运动鞋的两侧都使用了仅存在细微差别的大写字母“N”。新百伦贸易(中国)有限公司以纽巴伦(中国)有限公司、赵某鹏构成不正当竞争为由诉至上海市浦东新区人民法院,索赔3000万元。

法院经审理后认为,通过长期宣传和反复使用,已足以使相关公众将运动鞋两侧使用N字母装潢的商品与“New Balance”运动鞋相联系。该装潢有识别商品来源的显著特征,属于“有一定影响的商品装潢”,且该装潢在被告注册商标申请日之前已经形成“有一定影响”。原告、被告使用的两个N标识均是大写英文字母N。在隔离比对的情况下,消费者通常施以一般的注意力,两个标识在要素构成、视觉效果方面区别并不明显,细微差别不足以引起消费者的注意,二者构成近似。纽巴伦公司作为同业竞争者,在明知原告的鞋两侧N字母装潢具有一定影响的情况下,仍在其生产的同类商品的相同位置上使用近似标识,其攀附原告商誉、造成市场混淆的主观过错明显,客观上足以导致消费者对商品来源产生混淆、误认,构成不正当竞争。

上海市浦东新区人民法院作出一审判决:纽巴伦公司停止不正当竞争行为、公开声明消除影响,赔偿经济损失及合理开支共计1080万元。

New Balance Successful in Unfair Competition Action Against New Barlun – Damages  Award of CNY 10.8 Million (Approx. US$ 1,518,133)

New Balance Trading (China) Co., Ltd. brought an Unfair Competition action against New Barlun (China) Co., Ltd and Zhao in the Pudong New Area People's Court of Shanghai, claiming CNY 30 million (approx. US$ 4,217,036).  It claimed that many consumers are not able to distinguish New Balance from NEW · BARLUN, because the pronunciation in Chinese of the two brands is similar.  In addition, New Barlun has adopted New Balance’s use of the Letter N on its shoes.

The Court held that as a result of extensive publicity and long-term use, members of the relevant public associated use of the letter N on the sides of sports shoes with New Balance. The letter N was a distinguishing features of New Balance’s shoes: it identified the source of the goods.  The differences between the style of the letter N used by both companies was not sufficient to overcome the likelihood of confusion or deception.  As a competitor of New Balance, operating in the same industry, New Barlun (China) Co., Ltd was well aware of New Balance’s reputation and had maliciously sought to take advantage of its popularity and goodwill.  It had engaged in unfair competition.

The Pudong New Area People's Court of Shanghai ordered New Barlun (China) Co., Ltd to cease engaging in unfair competition, make public statements to eliminate the impact, and compensate the Plaintiff for economic loss and reasonable costs totalling CNY10.8 million (approx. US$ 1,518,709).

 

腾讯诉泰迪熊不正当竞争索赔4900万元

4月7日,北京市朝阳区人民法院对腾讯科技(深圳)有限公司、深圳市腾讯计算机系统有限公司诉北京泰迪熊移动科技有限公司不正当竞争案进行了审理。这是朝阳法院首次通过网络开庭的方式对案件进行在线审理。

原告诉称,其系微信、QQ等应用软件的计算机软件著作权人、相关商标的注册人,上述应用软件经其长期、大量的投入和运营,积累了数以亿计的用户群体,在相关公众中形成了极高的知名度和影响力。腾讯公司发现,被告泰迪熊公司通过对原告相关应用软件在正常运行过程中发送给用户的短信进行有针对性的“改造”,包括但不限于:在短信文本下方嵌入“免费领红包”“抢福利”等与短信浑然一体的营销链接,用户点击链接后会被引导打开相关营销内容。腾讯公司认为,泰迪熊公司上述行为刻意搭借该公司相关知名应用之便车,为自己牟取利益,同时欺骗、误导用户,使之误认相关短信文本及界面的营销内容系由腾讯公司提供或与腾讯公司存在特定联系,极可能影响用户对该公司的评价,涉嫌构成不正当竞争,故将泰迪熊公司诉至朝阳法院,请求法院判令泰迪熊思公司立即停止被诉不正当竞争行为,就其被诉侵权行为刊登声明,消除影响;赔偿两原告经济损失及合理支出共计4900万元。目前,案件还在进一步审理之中。

Tencent Claims Compensation of CNY 49 Million (Approx. US$ 6,887,826) against Beijing Teddy Bear Mobile Company in an action for Unfair Competition

On 7 April 2020, in its first online hearing, the People's Court of Chaoyang District heard an unfair competition action brought by two Tencent companies, Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Company Ltd. and Shenzhen Tencent Computer Systems Company Limited (‘Tencent’), against Beijing Teddy Bear Mobile Technology Co. Ltd..

The Tencent companies claimed they owned the copyright, and relevant trademarks, in relation to computer software such as WeChat, QQ and other Apps, and that they had accumulated hundreds of millions of users, and established a high reputation, as a result of long-term and massive investment and operation. They claimed that the Defendant had altered the format of SMS messages sent during the normal operation of the Tencent software, by inserting links at the end of the SMS such as "free red envelopes" and "grab benefits" which would direct users to marketing content. Tencent claimed that the Beijing Teddy Bear Mobile Technology Co. Ltd. was deliberately taking advantage of Tencent’s well known APPs to make profits for itself, while deceiving and misleading users, who would believe that the relevant content of the SMS and the marketing interface was provided by Tencent or had a specific connection with Tencent. This was likely to affect the users' evaluation of Tencent and constituted unfair competition. Tencent brought an unfair competition action against Beijing Teddy Bear Mobile Technology Co. Ltd. seeking an order that the Defendant immediately cease the unfair competition; issue a statement to reduce its impact; and pay compensation for economic loss and reasonable costs totalling CNY 49 million (approx. US$ 6,887,826).

A decision is awaited. 

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