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      News & Cases from China: January 2021

      Published on 25 Feb 2021 | 6 min read
      A round-up of the latest laws, regulations and cases in China.

      深圳首例涉外影视作品著作权侵权一审案

      日期:2020-12-30

      深圳某文化传媒有限公司某APP内容制作部主管刘某、马某组织部门人员未经著作权人许可大规模下载、编辑国内外影片,并通过该APP提供给用户观看,收费的VIP用户不仅免广告观看上述影片,还可将其下载至个人设备中。后案发查明,自2018年5月至2020年1月10日期间,该APP利用涉外未授权的影片非法获利约人民币140万元,深圳市南山区检察院遂就此案提起公诉。

      法院经审理认为:被告单位深圳某文化传媒有限公司、被告人张某、李某、刘某、马某四人以营利为目的,未经著作权人许可,通过网络向公众传播他人的电影作品,情节特别严重,其行为触犯了《中华人民共和国刑法》第二百一十七条之规定,构成侵犯著作权罪。

      综上所述,法院作出一审判决,判处被告单位罚金人民币40万元,四名被告人也被判处1年至3年不等的有期徒刑,并处罚金。

      First Foreign Film and Television Works Copyright Infringement Case in Shenzhen
      Liu and Ma, managers of the App content production department of a cultural media company in Shenzhen, downloaded and edited domestic and foreign films on a large scale without the permission of the copyright owners, and then made the films available to users through the App. VIP users could not only watch the films free of advertising, but also download them to personal devices. From May 2018 to 10 January, 2020, the company had derived about CNY 1.4 million (approx US$217,000) from provision of the unauthorized films via the App. The Nanshan District Procuratorate of Shenzhen city initiated a public prosecution.

      After the hearing, the Court held that: both the cultural media company, and the individual defendants, including Zhang and Li who were responsible for the daily operation and management of the company, had distributed films to the public via the Internet without permission of the copyright owner.  This constituted the crime of copyright infringement, in breach of Article 217 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China..

      The Court made a first instance judgment and fined the cultural media company defendant CNY 400,000 (approx. US$217,000). The four individual defendants were sentenced to imprisonment ranging from one to three years as well as being fined.

       

      仿冒“乐高”二审案
      日期:2020-12-30

      2011年6月,李某创办广东美致智教科技股份有限公司,经营玩具的研发、生产及销售。李某伙同闫某等8人自2015年起,便未经许可拆解研究、电脑建模、复制图纸、委托他人制作新款乐高系列玩具模具,并设立玩具生产厂,专门复制乐高拼装积木玩具产品,然后以“乐拼”品牌对外销售。案发后,李某等9人被起诉至上海市第三中级人民法院,该法院以侵犯著作权罪判处李某有期徒刑六年,并处罚金九千万元;其余8名被告人分别被判处有期徒刑三年至四年六个月不等刑罚,并处相应罚金。被告李某、闫某、张某、王某、杜某、吕某对该判决不服,故向上海市高级人民法院提起上诉。

      上海高院经审理认为:首先,被侵权的拼装立体模型所承载的表达,均系乐高公司独立创作,具有独创性及独特的审美意义,故拼装完成的立体玩具均属于我国著作权法所保护的美术作品范畴。其次,对于非法经营数额的计算,原判结合《会计鉴定意见书》及相关证据,认定李某等人侵犯著作权犯罪的非法经营数额为3.3亿余元正确,应予确认。最后,关于量刑问题,考虑到本案不仅给权利人的商誉和经济利益造成重大损失,还破坏了市场经济秩序,具有严重的社会危害性,依法应予严厉惩处。一审法院结合部分被告人具有从犯、自首、立功、坦白等情节等作出原判,并无不当。

      综上所述,上海高院做出终审判决,驳回上诉,维持原判。

      Lego wins toy counterfeiting appeal

      In June 2011, an individual, Li, founded Guangdong Meizhi Zhijiao Technology Co., Ltd., a company that engages in R & D and the production and sale of toys. Since 2015, Li, together with eight other people, has been engaged in dismantling LEGO products, undertaking computer modeling, copying drawings, and commissioning others to make the new LEGO series toy moulds without permission. They set up a toy factory specifically to manufacture copy LEGO assembled building block toys, and then sold them under the brand ‘Lepin’. Li and the other defendants were prosecuted before the Shanghai Third Intermediate People's court. At first instance, Li was sentenced to six years' imprisonment and fined CNY 90 million (approx. US$13,945,000) for the crime of copyright infringement; the other defendants were sentenced to imprisonments ranging from three years to four years and six months and received commensurate fines. The Defendants Li, Yan, Zhang, Wang, Du and Lu were not satisfied with the judgment and appealed to the Shanghai Higher People's court.

      The Shanghai Higher People's Court held that: first, the works in question had been created by the Lego company, and constituted artistic works for the purposes of China’s Copyright Law. Secondly, in calculating the value of the Defendants’ illegal business operation, the Court relied on  an Accounting Appraisal Opinion, which had been provided by a certified firm of public accountants, and other relevant evidence and valued it at more than CNY 330 million (approx. US$51,130,000). Finally, the case not only caused great loss to the goodwill and economic interests of the copyright owners, but also disturbed the economic order, causing great social harm.  It should, therefore, be punished severely.

      The Shanghai Higher People's court rejected the appeal and upheld the first instance judgment.

       

      “惠氏”商标侵权及不正当竞争一审案

      日期:2021-01-07

      惠氏有限责任公司(下称惠氏公司)及其“惠氏”、“Wyeth”注册商标(下称引证商标)中国许可方惠氏(上海)贸易有限公司(下称惠氏上海公司)发现广州惠氏宝贝母婴用品有限公司(下称广州惠氏公司)长期大规模生产、销售带有引证商标的母婴洗护产品等商品,并通过抢注、从他人处受让等方式在洗护用品等类别上注册了“惠氏”、“Wyeth”等商标,同时广州惠氏公司还在商业宣传推广活动中还积极暗示与惠氏公司存在关联,此外广州正爱日用品有限公司、杭州单恒母婴用品有限公司、青岛惠氏宝贝母婴用品有限公司(下称青岛惠氏公司)也经广州惠氏公司授权在线销售涉案产品。惠氏公司及惠氏上海公司认为广州惠氏等公司的上述行为严重侵犯其商标专用权并有不正当竞争之嫌,故以此为由,向杭州市中级人民法院提起诉讼。

      法院经审理认为:六被告在其生产、销售的被诉侵权产品、产品包装及宣传册上使用“Wyeth”、“惠氏”等标识并在网站上进行宣传的行为构成在类似商品上使用与惠氏公司注册商标相同或近似的商标,容易使相关公众对商品来源产生混淆,侵害了惠氏公司“Wyeth”、“惠氏”注册商标专用权,同时青岛惠氏公司在企业名称中使用“惠氏”构成不正当竞争。

      此外,在判赔金额方面,考虑到原告的商标知名度高、被告恶意攀附惠氏公司商誉及字号的恶意侵权明显、被告的侵权行为持续时间长、涉及地域广、侵权规模大,情节严重,涉案产品关乎婴幼儿健康安全等因素,对各被告的赔偿金额采用惩罚性赔偿的方式予以计算。

      综上所述,法院做出一审判决,责令六被告立即停止在商业活动中使用“惠氏”及“Wyeth”商标;青岛惠氏公司在企业名称中停止使用“惠氏”字样,变更企业名称;广州惠氏、陈某英、管某坤连带赔偿经济损失及合理开支共计3055万元;杭州单恒母婴用品有限公司就其中的1500万元承担连带赔偿责任,广州正爱日用品有限公司就其中的10万元承担连带赔偿责任,青岛惠氏公司就其中的60万元承担连带赔偿责任。

      Punitive damages awarded in Wyeth Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition Case

      Wyeth Nutrition is a leading global brand in the field of infant and young child nutrition.  The Chinese licensee of its registered trademarks "惠氏" (Chinese Characters of Wyeth) and "Wyeth"(the cited trademarks), discovered that Guangzhou Wyeth Baby Maternal and Infant Products Co., Ltd. (Guangzhou Wyeth) was engaging in the large-scale production and sale of maternal and infant care products bearing the cited trademarks,  Further, it had registered the Wyeth marks, or obtained transfers of registrations, in classes in which Wyeth had not registered. Guangzhou Wyeth’s promotional activities also suggested that it was associated with Wyeth Nutrition. The company had, further, authorized Guangzhou Zheng’ai Daily Necessities Co., Ltd., Hangzhou Danheng Maternal and Infant Products Co., Ltd. and Qingdao Wyeth Baby Maternal and Infant Products Co., Ltd. (Qingdao Wyeth) to sell products online. Wyeth Nutrition and Wyeth Shanghai commenced a trademark infringement and unfair competition action against Guangzhou Wyeth and the other companies in the Hangzhou intermediate people's Court.

      The Court held that: the six defendants' use of ‘惠氏 (Chinese Characters)’ and the  ‘Wyeth’ logo on the alleged products, product packaging, brochures and website constituted use of marks identical with or similar to Wyeth’s registered trademark on or in relation to similar goods, and amounted to both trademark infringement and unfair competition.

      In awarding compensation, the Court considered the high reputation of the Plaintiff's trademark, the Defendant’s obviously malicious infringement, the long duration and geographical scope of the infringement, and the fact that the products involved related to the health and safety of infants and children, and decided to award punitive damages.

      Accordingly, the Court ordered the six defendants to immediately stop using ‘惠氏(Chinese Characters)’ and ‘Wyeth’ trademarks in their business activities. Further, Qingdao Wyeth was ordered to stop using ‘惠氏’ in its enterprise name. Guangzhou Wyeth, Chen and Guan were ordered to jointly and severally compensate the Plaintiffs for economic loss and reasonable expenses, totaling CNY 30.55 million (approx. US$4,733,000); Hangzhou Danheng Maternal and Infant Products Co., Ltd was held jointly and severally liable for CNY 15 million (approx. US$2,324,000) of the CNY 30.55 million(approx. US$4,733,000); Guangzhou Zhengai Daily Necessities Co., Ltd. was held jointly and severally liable for CNY 100,000 (approx. US$15,500) of the CNY 30.55 million(approx. US$4,733,000), and Qingdao Wyeth was held jointly and severally liable for CNY 600,000 (approx. US$93,000) of the CNY 30.55 million(approx. US$4,733,000).

      (引证商标)

       

      全国首例智能产品语音指令不正当竞争纠纷案
      日期:2021-01-12

      百度在线网络技术(北京)有限公司(下称百度在线公司)发现北京子乐科技有限公司(称子乐公司)在其生产、销售的杜丫丫学习机中突出使用“小杜”指代其产品,并使用“xiaodu”语音指令进行唤醒和操作,百度在线公司认为上述行为构成不正当竞争,故以此为由,将子乐公司及其产品销售商北京经纬智诚电子商务有限公司(下称经纬公司)诉至北京市海淀区人民法院。

      一审法院经审理认为:经过百度在线公司广泛使用推广,“小度”作为其智能音箱的商品名称,属于反不正当竞争法第六条第一项所规定的有一定影响的商品名称;“xiaodu xiaodu”是用户在使用小度智能音箱时必不可少且频繁出现的特定语音指令,该语音指令已与百度在线公司及其产品建立起了明确、稳定的联系,并具有较高知名度和影响力,应受到反不正当竞争法第六条第四项保护。结合“小度”和“xiaodu xiaodu”的知名度和影响力,小度智能音箱和杜丫丫学习机从功能、受众、销售渠道等方面来看属同类产品,子乐公司实施被诉行为,主观上具有恶意,客观上也易使相关公众误认为杜丫丫学习机与百度在线公司的小度智能音箱及其相关服务可能存在产品研发、技术支持、授权合作等方面的特定联系,导致混淆。子乐公司上述行为违反了反不正当竞争法第六条第一项及第四条之规定,对百度在线公司构成不正当竞争。

      综上所述,海淀法院做出一审判决,责令子乐公司就其不正当竞争行为消除影响,并赔偿百度在线公司经济损失50万元及合理开支5万元。

      The First Unfair Competition Case Relating to Voice Instructions of Intelligent Products in China

      Baidu Online Network Technology (Beijing) Co.,Ltd. (Baidu), the leading Chinese language internet search provider,  introduced its Xiaodu branded smart speaker several years ago; now it rivals Amazon’s Alexa. Beijing Zile Technology Co., Ltd. (Zile), a local hardware manufacturer, produced an English language machine, Du YaYa, to help children learn English.  It highlighted 小杜(Chinese character, Pinyin ‘Xiaodu’) in reference to the machine, and used ‘xiaodu’ as the voice instruction for start and operation. Baidu considered that Zile’s behavior constituted unfair competition, and sued both Zile and its distributor, Beijing Jingwei Zhicheng E-commerce Co., Ltd. (Jingwei Company) in the Beijing Haidian District People's court.

      The Court held that Baidu had used and promoted the name 小度 (Chinese character, Pinyin ‘Xiaodu’) extensively in relation to its smart speakers, and that, as a result, the speakers qualify as a ‘commodity with certain influence’ pursuant to Item 1 of Article 6 of the Anti Unfair Competition Law. "Xiaodu xiaodu" is a specific voice instruction used by the Xiaodu smart speakers. It is very well known and closely connected with Baidu.  As a result, Zile’s use of the name falls within the behavior proscribed by Item 4 of Article 6 of the AntiUnfair Competition Law. Considering the popularity and influence of ‘小度’ and ‘Xiaodu" Xiaodu ‘, and the fact that the Xiaodu smart speaker and the Du YaYa learning machine are similar products in terms of function, audience and sales channels, Zile’s behavior is clearly likely to mislead the relevant public to think that there may be specific links such as product R & D, technical support, authorized cooperation, etc., between the two products and their related services.  It contravenes both Items 1 and 4 of Article 6 of the Anti Unfair Competition Law.

      The Court ordered Zile to eliminate the influence of its unfair competition and compensate Baidu for economic loss of CNY 500,000 (approx. US$77,500) and reasonable expenses of CNY 50,000 (approx. US$7,750).

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