Stan Abrams over at China Hearsay has woken up (what’s with all the posts on sleep deprivation anyway?) and posted on a recent Chinese court decision finding for Motorola in a design patent infringement case. The post is aptly entitled, IP Win for Motorola, and it makes some very good points.
It begins by telling “all you cynics out there [to] take heed” from Motorola’s recent patent infringement suit win in China. It then describes the lawsuit a bit:
In 2007, Motorola filed the suit against Guangzhou Weierwei Electronic Science and Technology Company because Weierwei’s two-way radio model number VEV 3188 was claimed to fall within the scope of a Motorola Chinese design patent.
Motorola says last December the First Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing determined that the VEV 3188 two-way radio infringed Motorola’s design patent, and Weierwei was ordered to cease the manufacture and sales of VEV 3188 two-way radios and to financially compensate Motorola.
Stan then notes three things. One, though the defendant was a Guangzhou company, the case was filed and heard by Beijing’s 1st Intermediate Court. This helps show the benefits to be realized by filing outside a defendant’s home turf and by filing in one of China’s more sophisticated courts for intellectual property. Two, it was a design patent at issue here, which “is just as good as any other kind of IP as long as it isn’t invalidated.” Three, the case was both filed and decided upon in the same year (2007), showing once again how quickly Chinese cases can move.
I just got back from Las Vegas moderating and speaking at an excellent conference on minimizing the risk of manufacturing in China. At the conference, one of the speakers (not a lawyer!) mentioned that the most important thing one must do to protect IP in China is to hire “a really good China lawyer.” I then said that it is even more important to actually register one’s IP and then I talked briefly on how American and European companies often mistakenly believe that registering their IP in the United States or the EU covers them in China as well.
I am going to do the same thing to Stan here and note that THE (I picked up the use of the all caps “THE” from THEhotel at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where the cafe is called THEcafe, the gym is called THEgym, the soap is labeled THEbath, and on and on) most important thing to know about protecting your IP from China is to register it. Because if you do not have IP registered in China, you essentially do not have IP to protect.
I know this is basic, but had Motorola never filed its patent in China it would not have prevailed in this lawsuit. See China Trademarks — Do You Feel Lucky? Do You?