News & Cases from China: August 2020

Published on 28 Sep 2020 | 6 min read

Keep经营方在Keep商标纠纷案中获胜
日期:2020-07-27

“Keep”的经营方北京卡路里信息技术有限公司(卡路里公司)在2015年2月“Keep”手机应用程序上线后就同步对“Keep”商标进行了布局。

2018年9月30日,卡路里公司针对第21158247号“Keep”商标(诉争商标)向国家知识产权局提出无效宣告请求,主张“Keep”既是广大消费者对其企业名称的简称,也是其在先申请和使用的具有较高知名度的商标,诉争商标与其第17744969号“Keep”商标(引证商标)构成使用在类似服务上的近似商标。北京天联云科技有限公司(天联云公司)及其关联公司申请注册了100余件商标,除诉争商标外还在多个商品或服务类别上申请注册了与卡路里公司已具有较高知名度的“Keep”商标相同或近似的商标,扰乱了商标注册秩序,有违诚实信用原则,系以欺骗手段或者其他不正当手段取得注册。天联云公司辩称,其在2011年2月17日便提交了“Keep”系列商标的注册申请,早于卡路里公司的成立日期,其申请注册诉争商标不存在恶意,诉争商标的注册未侵犯卡路里公司的任何权利。   

国家知识产权局于2019年7月5日作出对诉争商标予以维持的裁定。卡路里公司不服上述裁定,向北京知识产权法院提起行政诉讼,败诉后向北京市高级人民法院提起上诉。

北京市高级人民法院经审理认为,卡路里公司提交的证据可以证明天联云公司及其关联公司注册大量与他人在先使用的权利标志相同或近似的商标,攀附他人商誉、声誉以谋取不正当利益的目的明显,扰乱了正常的商标注册秩序,构成我国商标法所指以其他不正当手段取得注册的情形,综上,法院判决撤销一审判决及国家知识产权局所作裁定,并判令国家知识产权局就卡路里公司针对诉争商标提出的无效宣告请求重新作出裁定。

     

第21158247号诉争商标      第17744969号引证商标

Owner of ‘Keep’ fitness App succeeds on appeal in Trade Mark Dispute

In February 2015, Beijing Calorie Information Technology Co., Ltd. (Calorie Company) launched its fitness App, ‘Keep’, and applied to register ‘Keep’ as a trade mark in a range of classes.

In 2018, on discovering that Beijing Tianlianyun Technology Co. Ltd (Tianlianyun) had registered the mark ‘Keep’ in Febraury 2011, it applied to the National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) for invalidation of the Tianlianyun company registration (No. 21158247), on the basis that ‘Keep’ was the name by which Calorie Company is often known, and that as a result of the company’s long-standing use of the mark, it had become a relatively well-known trade mark. It further argued that  Tianlianyun’s application had been obtained by fraudulent or other improper means: Tianlianyun and its affiliated companies had  applied to register more than 100 trademarks that were identical or similar to the marks of others in a range of classes.

Tianlianyun argued that its application for registration of the series of ‘Keep’ trade marks had been filed on 17 February 2011, before the date Calorie Company was established. Its application for registration of the disputed trade mark was not, therefore, malicious, and did not violate any rights of Calorie Company.   

On 5 July 2019, the CNIPA issued a ruling upholding Tianlianyun’s registration.  Calorie Company then filed an administrative lawsuit with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, which upheld CNIPA’s decision. Calorie Company  then appealed to the Beijing Higher People's Court. 

The Beijing Higher People’s Court held that Calorie Company’s evidence showed that Tianlianyun and its affiliates had, in the past, registered a large number of trade marks that were identical or similar to the trade marks used by others. Its purpose in doing so, to take advantage of the goodwill and reputation of others, is obvious. Its application to register the ‘Keep’ trade mark had been made for the same reason.  The disputed registration had, therefore, been obtained by improper means (Art 44 of the Trade Mark Law) . Accordingly, the Court overturned the previous judgments and ordered the CNIPA to make a new ruling.

 

苏州中院对饮品擅用“小黄人”卡通形象案一审判赔500万元

江苏省苏州市中级人民法院(下称苏州中院)对环球影画(上海)商贸公司(下称环球影画公司)诉沧州千尺雪食品有限公司等六被告侵犯美术作品著作权案作出一审判决,判令被告赔偿500万元。

环球公司(UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS LLC)是全球著名的电视电影制片公司。环球影画公司经环球公司授权,在中国非独占性使用上述著作权等权利。

环球影画公司认为,沧州千尺雪食品有限公司、景宝江、景树松、旺仔饮料(广州)集团有限公司、广东泰牛维他命饮料有限公司未经授权,大量生产、销售外观印有“小黄人”卡通形象的饮品,无锡味能食品有限公司在线上线下销售上述印有“小黄人”卡通形象的乳制品,侵犯了环球影画公司持有的“小黄人”美术作品著作权,故诉至法院,请求判令六被告停止侵权,沧州千尺雪食品有限公司等共同赔偿经济损失及合理支出共计500万元,并赔礼道歉,消除影响;无锡味能食品有限公司赔偿10万元。

苏州中院经审理认为,本案中,环球影画公司所主张保护的“小黄人”卡通形象呆萌可爱、具有独创性,构成著作权法所保护的作品。

法院认为,涉案五款被诉侵权产品使用的被诉侵权形象与涉案美术作品相比虽然有局部微小差别改动,但包含了涉案美术作品“小黄人”卡通形象的众多主要独创性特征,可以认定构成实质性相似。沧州千尺雪食品有限公司在被诉侵权产品上使用涉案美术作品,制造销售、宣传及推广被诉侵权产品,侵犯了涉案作品的复制权和发行权。沧州千尺雪食品有限公司的主要产品“旺仔钙铁锌益小瓶”“贵益多”“眼镜人”产品均使用了商标权人为广东泰牛维他命饮料有限公司的商标。广东泰牛维他命饮料有限公司、旺仔饮料(广州)集团有限公司与沧州千尺雪食品有限公司具有密切的利益合作关系,构成共同侵权,应当承担连带侵权责任。无锡味能食品有限公司在淘宝网、阿里巴巴1688网站及线下实体店铺销售被诉侵权产品,应承担民事责任。

在赔偿额方面,法院认为,涉案美术作品“小黄人”卡通形象具有极高知名度,沧州千尺雪食品有限公司侵权情节严重,侵权故意明显,侵权规模极大,属于恶意侵权,故案件适用惩罚性赔偿。

综上,苏州中院依法作出判决,判令六被告停止侵权,沧州千尺雪食品有限公司、景宝江、景树松、旺仔饮料(广州)集团有限公司、广东泰牛维他命饮料有限公司赔偿环球影画公司经济损失及合理费用共计500万元。无锡味能食品有限公司赔偿共计10万元。

Suzhou Intermediate People's Court Awards Compensation of 5 Million Yuan (approx. US$750,000) in Copyright Infringement case

Recently, the Jiangsu Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court made a first-instance judgment in a copyright infringment case brought by Universal Pictures (Shanghai) Trading Company (Universal Pictures) against Cangzhou Qianchixue Food Co., Ltd. (Qianchixue) and five other Defendants.  The Court held that Universal Pictures’ copyright in a number of art works had been infringed and awarded damages of CNY 5 million (approx. US$750,000).

 Universal Pictures had been granted a non-exclusive licence by Universal City Studios LLc, a world-renowned television and film production company, to reproduce the ‘Minions’ characters artwork in China. 

Universal Pictures claimed that the Defendant Wuxi Weineng Food Co.Ltd, had sold online product bearing the allegedly infringing works, while the other five Defendants had both produced such products and sold them, both online and offline.

The Court held that the ‘Minions’ cartoon images constituted original works, capable of protection under the Copyright Law.  Although the images used by the Defendants varied slightly from the original  art works, they were substantially similar to them.. The Defendants had, therefore, infringed copyright.

In determining the amount of compensation, the Court noted that the  ‘Minions’ cartoon images are well-known; the scale of infringement extremely large; and the subjective malice of the Defendants obvious. Punitive damages were, therefore, applicable.  

Accordingly, the Court ordered the six defendants to cease the infringement, Wuxi Weineng Food Co., Ltd. to pay compensation of CNY 100,000 (approx. US$ 14,470) and the other five defendants to pay a total of CNY 5 million (approx. US$723,500).

 

广东高院对全国首例游戏垄断纠纷案终审宣判 网易公司不构成垄断
日期:2020-08-05

8月4日,广东省高级人民法院对华多诉网易滥用市场支配地位及不正当竞争纠纷、章某诉网易著作权许可使用合同及垄断纠纷两案作出终审判决,认定网易公司在相关市场内不具有市场支配地位,不具有排除限制竞争的市场能力,依法驳回两上诉人所有诉讼请求,维持原判。据悉,本案系全国首例游戏垄断纠纷案。

广东高院二审认为,《梦幻西游2》游戏画面属于类电影作品,网易公司作为著作权利人,依法享有禁止他人未经许可直播该游戏画面的权利,相关合同约定不属于滥用知识产权排除限制竞争的行为。同时认为,网络游戏作为精神消费产品,内容和服务才是影响玩家选择的首要因素,单个游戏尽管可能对玩家构成较强的锁定效应,但锁定效应有限,难以构成一个特定的相关市场。同时,网易公司在相关市场所占份额远不足反垄断法规定的比例。据此,广东高院依法认定,本案相关市场为网络游戏服务市场,网易公司在网络游戏服务市场范围内不具有市场支配地位,不具有排除限制竞争的市场能力,因而不构成垄断。

广东高院指出,作为全国首例游戏垄断纠纷案,本案的审结对明晰产业规则、引导产业健康发展具有一定的示范意义。

Guangdong Higher Peoples Court Rules in favor of NetEase on appeal in first Anti-monopoly Case in the Games Industry

On 4 August 2020, Guangdong Higher People’s Court handed down a final judgment in two anti-monopoly cases that had been brought against NetEase: one by Guangzhou Hua Network Technology Co., Ltd, alleging abuse of dominant market position and unfair competition; the other by Zhang, involving a copyright licensing and monopoly issue.  The Court upheld the original judgment, rejecting the Appellants’ arguments and holding that NetEase was not in a position to exclude or restrict competition in the relevant market and, therefore, did not enjoy a dominant market position.

In relation to the copyright issue, the Court held that the game pictures of Net Ease’s "Fantasy Journey to the West 2" were works created using methods similar to film making and, as such, capable of copyright protection. NetEase, as the copyright owner, had the right to prohibit others from broadcasting the game screens without permission. The relevant contractual agreement did not constitute an abuse of intellectual property rights for the purpose of excluding or restricting competition. Although single games may have a strong lock-in effect on users, that does not result in the creation of a specific market. The relevant market is the broader games industry market and NetEase's share of that market is far less than that stipulated in the Anti-monopoly Law. Accordingly, the claims against NetEase were dismissed.

The Court further pointed out that as the first anti-monopoly case in the games industry in China, this decision will help clarify the rules and provide guidance for the healthy development of the industry.  

 

杭州中院作出全国首例“先行判决+临时禁令”案判决
日期:2020-08-13

2019年4月26日,杭州中院创新性适用“先行判决+临时禁令”救济模式,对(2018)浙01民初3728号案进行处理。近日法院作出判决结果,判令被告仙峰公司承担1000万元损害赔偿,100余万元律师费用。同时,因仙峰公司拒不履行临时禁令,对其处罚款100万元。

本案原告为上海恺英网络科技有限公司(以下简称恺英公司)、浙江盛和网络科技有限公司(以下简称盛和公司),系知名网络游戏《蓝月传奇》的著作权利人;被告苏州仙峰网络科技股份有限公司(以下简称仙峰公司)系《烈焰武尊》游戏的运营方。恺英公司、盛和公司认为《烈焰武尊》抄袭了《蓝月传奇》,遂提起侵权诉讼,要求停止侵权,并主张3000万元损害赔偿。

2019年4月26日先行判决的同时,杭州中院还作出了诉中临时禁令,责令仙峰公司立即停止自行或授权其他主体复制、通过信息网络传播《烈焰武尊》手机游戏。但收悉上述裁定后,仙峰公司并未立即停止相应行为。仙峰公司在2019年6月21日前一直在持续运营带有涉案侵权内容的《烈焰武尊》游戏。此举违反了《中华人民共和国民事诉讼法》的规定,应予以制裁。据此,杭州中院作出罚款决定,对仙峰公司罚款100万元。

Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court - Preliminary Judgment on infringement Issue and Grant of Temporary Injunction Until Determination of Compensation

The Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court recently made innovative use of the preliminary judgment procedure, pursuant to which a Court can pass judgment on part of a case that is straightforward and deal with more complex issues at a subsequent proceeding. 

The Plaintiffs in the case were the owners of copyright in the well-known online game ‘Legend of Blue Moon’. The Defendant Xianfeng was the operator of the game ‘ Flame Wuzun’.  The Plaintiffs brought a copyright infringement action seeking an injunction, an order that the Defendant publish an appropriate notice relating to the infringement, and compensation of CNY 30 million (approx. US$ 4,341,000).. At trial, the Plaintiffs asked the Court to make a preliminary ruling on the infringement issue and to postpone the compensation issue, which was complex, to a further trial.

On 26 April 2019, the Court gave preliminary judgment on the infringement issue in favour of the Plaintiffs and granted a temporary injunction restraining the Defendant from copying and disseminating the game ‘Flame Wuzun’, or authorizing others to do so, until trial of the compensation issue. It also ordered the Defendant to publish an appropriate notice in relation to the infringement.

The Defendant appealed the infringement decision.  It continued to copy and disseminate the game, in breach of the injunction, until 21 June 2019.  On 2 March 2020, the Zheijiang Higher People’s Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the original infringement decision.

On 29 July 2020, the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court gave its determination on the compensation issue.  It ordered the Defendant to pay CNY 10 million (approx. US$ 1,447,000) damages and more than CNY 1 million (approx. US$ 144,700 ) costs. In addition, it was fined CNY 1 million (approx. US$ 144,700) for breach of the interim injunction.

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