The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs Enters into Force in China
On 5 February 2022, the Chinese government submitted its instrument of accession to the 1999 Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement to the World Intellectual Property Organization, becoming the 68th Contracting Party to the 1999 Act and the 77th member of the Hague Union. The 1999 Act entered into force in China on 5 May 2022.
From 5 May 2022, non-residents can obtain international design protection in China. At the same time, Chinese companies will be able to quickly and easily seek international protection for their designs in the 94 countries covered by the Hague system, which will help them expand into international markets.
In 2020, 770,362 design applications were accepted by CNIPA, accounting for 55.5% of the world total. The entry into force of the Hague Agreement will greatly benefit Chinese companies seeking international protection for their designs.
The Marrakesh Treaty Enters into Force in China
The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (Marrakesh Treaty) has entered into force in China, the 85th Party to the Treaty.
The Marrakesh Treaty, the only human rights treaty in the world in the field of copyright, aims to provide access to and use of copyright works for people who are visually impaired, thus guaranteeing them equal access to culture and education. When the Marrakesh Treaty enters into force in China, it will greatly enrich the spiritual and cultural life of visually impaired people, enable them to improve their educational level, promote the overseas dissemination of outstanding Chinese works, and further enhance China's discourse and influence in the international copyright field.
Daimler Awarded 800,000 Yuan (approx. US$120,000) Compensation in Trademark Infringement Action
Daimler found that Shanghai Tonghe Auto Parts Co., Ltd (Tonghe) and Shanghai Tongzhi Auto Parts Co., Ltd (Tongzhi) had produced and sold auto parts that, without its permission, bore the Daimler logo. It brought a trademark infringement action alleging that the companies had jointly infringed its registered trademark and seeking an injunction, compensation for economic loss and reasonable costs (totaling 1.2 million Yuan or approx. US$200,000). It also sought publication of a statement to eliminate to the impact of the infringement.
The Court of First Instance held that the trademark on the auto parts sold by Tonghe was identical to Daimler's trademark and that Tonghe had infringed, but the available evidence was not sufficient to establish joint infringement. It ordered Tonghe to immediately stop use of the trademark, publish a statement to eliminate the impact of the infringement, and compensate Daimler for economic loss and reasonable costs totaling RMB 800,000 (approx. US$120,000). Tonghe was not satisfied with the judgment and filed an appeal. The Shanghai Intellectual Property Court upheld the original judgment.
Shuangxiang Co. Awarded more than 1.9 Million Yuan (approx. US$285,000) in Unfair Competition Action against Dongsheng Co.
Shuangxiang Company is a well-known local rubber and plastic machinery manufacturing enterprise based in the city of Wuxi, about 100km northwest of Shanghai. One of its employees resigned and founded Dongsheng Company (Dongsheng). Dongsheng replaced the metal nameplates on Shuangxiang Company machines with Dongsheng Company nameplates, and used photos of Shuangxiang Companies’ factory, products and production equipment extensively on its website. The Wuxi Municipal Administration for Market Regulation found that these acts constituted false advertising and fined Dongsheng 300,000 Yuan (approx. US$45,000).
Shuangxiang Company subsequently brought an unfair competition action in the People’s Court of Xinwu District. The Court held that Dongsheng had placed its nameplates on equipment that had been produced by Shuangxiang Company. It is technically complicated equipment that not many companies have the capacity to produce. Customers would be led to believe that Dongsheng’ technical capability comparable to that of Shuangxiang Company. The Court found that Dongsheng had intentionally engaged in misleading conduct and ordered it to immediately stop the infringement, and compensate Shuangxiang Company for economic loss and reasonable costs of more than 1.9 million Yuan (approx. US$285,000).