Recently, Shanghai Intellectual Property Court made the first-instance judgment on an invention patent infringement dispute that the defendant, an electromechanical company should immediately stop infringement on the invention patent right enjoyed by the plaintiff Brother Industries, Ltd. and compensate the plaintiff 5.5 million RMB for economic loss and reasonable expenses.

The plaintiff Brother Industries, Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Brother) is an industrial sewing equipment manufacturer with international reputation and also the patent holder for the invention at issue "intermittent pressing foot driven device and its sewing machine". The plaintiff found a large number of sewing machines made by the defendant in Chinese market in 2010 and purchased the products made and sold by the defendant with notarization for many times in Guangzhou, Shangyu, Taicang and other cities from 2010 to 2015. After dismantling the purchased products and comparing them with the patent, the plaintiff found these products all falling into the protection scope of the patent at issue.

Holding that the defendant infringed upon its patent, resulting in its significant economic losses, Brother filed a lawsuit to the court, requesting the court to order the defendant to immediately stop the patent infringement act, destroy the finished and semi-finished infringing products as well as the mould and special equipment for producing the infringing products, and compensate 34 million RMB for economic loss and reasonable expenses.

The defendant, however, argued that the alleged infringing product did not fall into the protection scope of the patent at issue and that the compensation amount claimed by the plaintiff lacked factual and legal basis, and the reasonable expenses claimed was also too high.

The court held after trial that the plaintiff Brother is the patent holder of the invention patent at issue which is still in force and protected by the Patent Law. Based on the claims of the two parties and the actual situation, the patent claims 1, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 16 that the plaintiff claimed for protection involved a number of technical features. By Comparison at the court, the technical features of 3 alleged infringing products fully covered all the technical features recorded in the above-mentioned claims, and fell into the protection scope of the patent claims 1, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14 and 16. Three other alleged infringing products fell into the protection scope of the claim 1, 9, 10, 14 and 16.

In view of the profit calculation claimed by the plaintiff for the defendant’s infringement from October 2010 to February 2017, Shanghai IP Court held that it could not be calculated accurately for the infringement profit of the infringing products according to the calculation method claimed by the plaintiff. However, the documented evidence was sufficient to prove that the wide infringement scope, long infringement time, large sales quantity, high product profit made the profit of the alleged infringing products far over 1 million RMB, and the court finally decided at its discretion the infringement profit of the defendant as 5 million RMB based on the documented evidence, and made the judgment that the defendant should compensate the plaintiff for economic loss and reasonable expenses totaling 5.5 million RMB.

According to the judge of Shanghai IP Court, it has always been the difficulty in the trial for IP infringement cases as to how to determine the infringer’s compensation amount. The judgment of this case shows the court's efforts to protect the legal rights of the patentee, and also embodies the attitude and determination of the court to continuously strengthen the judicial protection of intellectual property rights.

 (Adapted from the news from Shanghai IP Court)

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