Punitive damages applied to 151 intellectual property cases
Jiangsu courts strive to create a judicial highland for intellectual property rights
□ Our reporter Ding Guofeng
Unauthorized sales of the new rice variety “Jinjing 818” cultivated by scientific research institutes to farmers, long-term use of “white bark” packaging seeds to hide from inspections. When the Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court of Jiangsu Province tried this malicious infringement case, it determined the amount of compensation of 750,000 yuan as appropriate, and applied punitive damages in accordance with the law, and ruled that the defendant should bear three times the amount, which is 2.25 million yuan in compensation.
In a recent interview with a reporter from the Rule of Law Daily, the vice president of the Jiangsu Higher People’s Court Liu Weizhen said that, including this case, the Jiangsu Higher People’s Court has released ten typical cases for the protection of new varieties of agricultural plants in 2021, demonstrating that the People’s Court has severely cracked down on infringements. The judicial value of promoting the revitalization of the seed industry and self-reliance and self-reliance of the seed industry’s science and technology.
It is understood that this is only one aspect of Jiangsu’s court system in the field of intellectual property trials with the strictest judicial protection in the field of intellectual property trials since the Jiangsu Higher People’s Court put forward the implementation of the most stringent intellectual property trial concept since November 2018. In order to help accelerate the construction of Jiangsu’s leading intellectual property province, Jiangsu courts have continued to strengthen the construction of intellectual property protection highlands, and have achieved fruitful results over the years.
The strictest protection concept is supported by all parties
Jiangsu is the country’s first province with more than 1 million invention patent applications, with more than 32,000 high-tech enterprises. In 2020, the total R&D investment in the society will account for 2.82% of the regional GDP, and the contribution rate of scientific and technological progress will reach 65%.
In May 2018, Lou Qinjian, secretary of the Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee, requested that the strictest judicial protection of intellectual property rights be implemented in Jiangsu. In November of the same year, the Jiangsu Higher People’s Court made comprehensive deployment and implementation, and issued guidance in August 2019, clarifying the overall requirements and 36 specific measures.
“To fully implement the most stringent protection concept is to make the most stringent protection become the value concept of the referee, to make innovation and upgrade the value guide of the referee, and to make the optimization of the business environment become the value pursuit of the referee, and to contribute to the protection of intellectual property rights in China. Jiangsu’s new contribution to justice.” said Xia Daohu, president of the Jiangsu Higher Court.
The Jiangsu Higher People’s Court made it clear that it must attach great importance to the four guiding roles of referee innovation, rights, integrity, and punishment. It is necessary to determine the scope and intensity of intellectual property protection based on the height of innovation, the degree of popularity, the degree of originality, and the degree of technological contribution, and actively protect the interests of new technologies, new products, new formats and new types of innovation, and balance the protection of rights with the promotion of industry development and intellectual property rights. The relationship between the right holder and the public interest, through judicial judgments, severely cracks down on malicious acquisition, use, infringement of intellectual property rights, malicious litigation and other violations of business ethics and integrity principles, continuously increasing damage compensation, and applying punitive compensation in accordance with the law.
This systemic and severe punishment of serious infringements such as malicious infringement, repeated infringement, group infringement, and infringement as a business has significantly increased the cost of infringement, and then played an active role in innovation mechanisms such as judicial incentives for innovation, encouragement of entrepreneurship, and protection of creativity. Fully affirmed by the Supreme People’s Court, it has been included in the “White Paper on the Status of Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Chinese Courts” for two consecutive years.
The rule of law has obvious significance in typical cases
From November 2018 to September 2021, a total of 151 intellectual property cases in Jiangsu courts decided to apply punitive damages or consider punitive factors to determine the amount of compensation.
In the “Xiaomi” trademark infringement case, Xiaomi Technology Corporation and Xiaomi Communication Company asserted that the “Xiaomi” trademark is a well-known trademark with extremely high popularity and reputation, and Zhongshan Pentium’s prominent use of the “Xiaomi Life” logo constituted trademark infringement. , And used colors and slogans similar to the “Xiaomi” brand in product promotion and promotion, which constituted false propaganda, unfair competition, etc., and requested the court to order the defendant to stop the infringement, eliminate the impact, and use the infringement profit as compensation Based on the applicable punitive damages, it claims compensation for economic losses of 50 million yuan and reasonable expenditures of more than 410,000 yuan. The court’s decision supported three times the penalty range and fully supported the plaintiff’s claim for compensation. This case is not only the first case in which the punitive damages system was clearly applied to determine the amount of compensation after the revision of the Trademark Law, but also a typical case repeatedly cited by domestic and foreign experts.
The reporter learned that in March 2021, the Supreme Law issued a judicial interpretation on the application of punitive damages in the trial of civil cases of infringement of intellectual property rights, which established a clear basis for the courts to apply punitive damages. Previously, this mechanism had relevant provisions in the Civil Code and Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Patent Law, Anti-Unfair Competition Law, and Seed Law, but the relevant provisions were relatively abstract.
In order to promote the implementation of the strictest judicial protection of intellectual property rights, the Intellectual Property Tribunal of Jiangsu Higher People’s Court has successively formulated two trial guidelines to uniformly apply legal standards and judgment standards. Check the quality of the cases that were sent back for retrial and retrial, and implement “one case, one report” for punitive compensation cases. This year, a punitive compensation module was set up in the trial closure system to promote more targeted guidance.
“The significance of the rule of law of punitive damages lies in not only compensating for the losses suffered by right holders due to infringements, but also severely punishing serious infringements. By allowing malicious infringers to pay several times the cost or even bankruptcy, it effectively prevents the recurrence of infringements. , Has a relatively prominent function of hindering, deterring and punishing.” said Tang Maoren, president of the Intellectual Property Division of the Jiangsu Higher People’s Court.
Promote systematic and innovative protection measures
The reporter learned that in order to achieve the strictest judicial protection, Jiangsu courts continue to promote the establishment of innovative systems and mechanisms. The Nanjing Intermediate Court has established a consulting database of technical experts in 11 fields. The Suzhou Intermediate Court has deepened its cooperation with the Jiangsu Center for Examination and Cooperation of the State Intellectual Property Office, and identified 5 technical investigators to be stationed in the intellectual property courts to provide technical assistance, as well as other courts across the country. Technical experts in related cases are shared and used; Nanjing Jiangbei New Area People’s Court has also set up courts with intellectual property adjudication functions in the China (Jiangsu) Pilot Free Trade Zone, and strive to create optimal solutions for intellectual property disputes.
The Jiangsu Higher People’s Court and the Shanghai, Zhejiang and Anhui Higher People’s Courts signed an intellectual property rights judicial protection exchange and cooperation agreement, exploring the establishment of judicial protection development consultations, unified legal application interaction exchanges, remote case handling assistance and other mechanisms, strengthening regional cooperation in intellectual property protection, and promoting The vitality of scientific and technological innovation in the Yangtze River Delta has increased.
It is understood that Jiangsu courts continue to deepen the “three-in-one” trial of civil, criminal and administrative cases of intellectual property rights, and promote the unification of administrative law enforcement standards and judicial adjudication standards. The courts in Wuxi, Yancheng, Suqian and other places apply the “prohibition order” to the people who are held criminally responsible for the manufacture and sale of counterfeit salt, liquor and other livelihood products; the Changzhou Intermediate People’s Court, the Public Security Bureau, and the Procuratorate jointly issued implementation opinions to further promote The intellectual property protection mechanism of the coordination of administration and justice, and the connection of civil and criminal matters.
“We are addressing issues such as a small number of courts and judges that do not have a deep understanding of the spirit and guidance of the strictest protection, and their grasp is not in place, and whether the amount of compensation in the trial reflects the strictest protection, and has significantly increased the cost of violations. Whether the requirements are fully implemented, and the deterrent effect of criminal penalties We should strengthen guidance on issues such as whether it is fully manifested and whether the function of the interim relief system is well performed, and vigorously solve the inconsistency in the judgment of compensation standards in different areas, different courts in the same area, and different collegiate panels of the same court.” Liu Yizhen said.
“Jiangsu courts promote the strictest judicial protection of intellectual property rights from the perspective of innovation, punishment, efficiency, rights and integrity, and make Jiangsu a priority place for the settlement of foreign intellectual property disputes, creating a legal and international business environment.” Wei Qingsong, member of the CPPCC and director of Huiye (Nanjing) Law Firm, believes.
“Jiangsu courts have implemented the strictest protection of intellectual property innovation achievements from the height of legal governance, and stimulated the innovation power of private enterprises.” said Cui Genliang, deputy to the National People’s Congress and vice chairman of the Jiangsu Federation of Industry and Commerce.