China IP Magazine Weekly Newsletter (May 24-30, 2021) --- China Intellectual Property

China IP Magazine Weekly Newsletter (May 24-30, 2021)

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1 billion yuan feud: General Protecht petitions against Gongniu Group
十亿纠纷:通领科技再诉公牛集团

The 1 billion yuan worth feud is still brewing.

On Thursday, May 6, China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued a notice in General Protecht v. Gongniu Group in which the agency had accepted the petition filed by General Protecht for review of a decision in a patent infringement case against Gongniu Group in 2018.

General Protecht and Gongniu Group are two top Chinese civil electrical products manufacturers. The Gongniu brand name has almost become the byword for quality with China’s power strip consumers. The Zhejiang-based company was founded in 1995 and taken public in February 2020. General Protecht, a Jiangsu-based one, has been maintaining its strong overseas presence for about 20 years and is the first Chinese company winning a patent infringement case filed by four American companies on their home turf.

General Protecht holds an invention patent for the support slide-type safety door with the patent number being ZL201010297882.4 and a utility model patent for the safety protector of mains socket with the patent number being ZL201020681902.3.

In December 2018, they filed the lawsuit against Gongniu Group in the Intermediate People's Court of Nanjing Municipality, Jiangsu Province for its infringing the two patents in the civil electrical products manufactured by the latter and sought about 1 billion RMB ($156 million) in compensation. The record-breaking figure instantly made headlines.

The respondent/defendant Gongniu Group initiated a petition to challenge the validity of the patents with the Patent Reexamination and Invalidation Department of the CNIPA. Based on the evidence provided by Gongniu Group, the CNIPA held that compared with the prior art, General Protecht’s patented inventions “don’t have prominent substantive features nor represent a notable progress” and “don’t involve inventive steps”. The Intermediate People's Court of Nanjing Municipality, Jiangsu Province ruled in March 2020 that the defendant’s alleged patent infringement was not established in light of the CNIPA’s post-grant amendment. General Protecht challenged the CNIPA’s administrative ruling of patent invalidity and filed an administrative litigation with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court in December 2020.

The latest notice issued by the CNIPA indicates that General Protecht has not decided to be reconciled with its competitor or itself.

@2021 China IP Magazine

这场价值10亿元的纠纷仍在酝酿之中。

5月6日周四,中国国家知识产权局(CNIPA)就通领科技诉公牛集团一案发出通知,受理了通领科技2018年诉公牛集团专利侵权案的复审申请。

通领和公牛是中国两大民用电气产品制造商。“公牛”品牌几乎已经成为中国消费者心目中家用电器产品质量保证的代名词。这家总部位于浙江的公司成立于1995年,并已于2020年2月上市。总部位于江苏的通领科技近20年来一直保持着强大的海外业务优势,是第一家在美国本土与四家当地公司的专利侵权诉讼中胜诉的中国公司。

通领科技拥有一项专利号为ZL201010297882.4的支撑滑动式安全门发明专利和一项专利号为ZL201020681902.3的电源插座安全保护装置实用新型专利。

2018年12月,通领科技向江苏省南京市中级人民法院起诉公牛集团侵犯了其生产的民用电气产品的两项专利,并索赔人民币约10亿元(1.56亿美元)。这一破纪录的赔偿额度立即上了热搜。

被告公牛集团随即向中国国家知识产权局专利局复审和无效审理部提出诉讼。中国国家知识产权局依据公牛集团提供的证据认定,与现有技术相比,通领科技的专利发明“不具有突出的实质性特点和显著进步”,“不具备创造性”。江苏省南京市中级人民法院于2020年3月裁定,根据中国国家知识产权局的更正,被告所称的专利侵权不成立。通领科技于2020年12月对中国国家知识产权局关于专利无效的行政裁决提出异议,向北京知识产权法院提起行政诉讼。

中国国家知识产权局发布的最新通告表明,通领科技尚未显示出和解意愿。

@2021 中国知识产权杂志

CCTV is not happy about “being copied” anymore
CCTV向抄袭说“不”

On May 20, 2021, CCTV accused Zhejiang Television of the technical duplication of its promo on Weibo.

In recent years, May 20 has become a new Valentine’s Day celebrated by Chinese millennials. Zhejiang Television released a music video to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party on the very day. To lure a young audience, a hit song on Douyin called “Stars and Oceans (星辰大海)” was covered by 18 Chinese TV and movie stars in the video. The name of the song is exactly the same as the name of a promo of a show released by CCTV-6, CCTV’s movie channel, on January 1, 2020. Billed as a jumpstarter for fresh actors and actresses, the show “coincided” in the adoption of the phase “Stars and Oceans (星辰大海)” in its name, which allegedly came from a Japanese sci-fi novel well known in China, suggesting unlimited possibilities the future holds.

If similar naming was not a crime, then the duplication conducted in some shots of Zhejiang Television’s patriotic music video were too evident to be understood merely as taking inspiration.

According to Article 3 of the Copyright Law of the PRC, the two videos proper fall into the category of cinematographic works and works created by a process analogous to cinematography. According to Article 47, anyone plagiarizing a work and/or exploiting a work without permission of the copyright owner shall be liable for a compensation amounting to not more than 500,000 RMB yuan.

Lin Yong, Director of Zhejiang Television, has responded by claiming a misunderstanding and played down the accused plagiarism as peer learning.

For a long time, China Central Television (CCTV), as its name suggests, is the country’s undisputed flagship television broadcaster and has been a role model for the constellation of China’s local TV stations. Despite its programming intensely studied and referenced, CCTV’s advertising revenue has been staying on top up to now. Notwithstanding, with the marketization of broadcasting in China, “Big Five” local television stations, including Zhejiang Television, have achieved nation-wide presence by satellite and grown into CCTV’s unignorable competitors for advertising revenue. Convenient imitation has surely rattled its nerves.

Zhejiang Television was accused of plagiarizing Korean reality shows such as Running Man, the Return of Superman, Begin Again, etc to reap strong ratings. In the buzz generated on the Chinese social media, the TV station’s dubious reputation seems to have to some extent tipped the balance of the row with CCTV.

@2021 China IP Magazine

2021年5月20日,中央电视台指责浙江电视台在微博上抄袭其宣传内容。

近年来,“5.20”已然成为中国的千禧一代会庆祝的情人节。当天,浙江卫视发布了一部纪念中国共产党成立100周年的音乐视频。为了吸引年轻观众,歌曲选用了由十八位影视明星演唱的抖音上火爆的“星辰大海”。这首歌的名字与2020年1月1日CCTV-6电影频道发布的某节目宣传片的名字完全相同。作为青年演员优选计划,音乐视频“恰好”采用了据称来自国内知名的日本科幻小说“星辰大海”作为名字,喻表着未来无限的可能性。

如果相似的命名不构成犯罪,那么浙江卫视的爱国音乐视频中某些镜头的复制就太过明显,不能将其理解为仅仅是为了汲取灵感。

根据《中华人民共和国著作权法》第三条的规定,这两部影片属于电影作品和以类似电影的方式创作的作品。第四十七条,著作权人抄袭他人作品或者未经著作权人许可使用他人作品的,应当承担五十万元以下的赔偿责任。

浙江电视台台长林涌回应称,这是一个误会,并将被指控的抄袭行为淡化为“同行学习”。

顾名思义,中国中央电视台(CCTV)长期以来是中国无可争议的旗舰电视台,也是中国地方电视台的榜样。尽管其节目饱受争议,但央视的广告收入一直保持在前列。尽管如此,随着中国广播事业的市场化,“五大”地方电视台,包括浙江电视台,已经通过卫星实现了全国范围的播放,并成长为了中央电视台不可忽视的广告收入的竞争对手。此次显而易见的抄袭无疑触动了央视紧绷着的神经。

浙江卫视曾被指抄袭韩国真人秀节目《奔跑吧兄弟》、《超人归来》、《再来一次》等以获得高收视率。在中国社交媒体上引发的热议中,浙江卫视可疑的名声已经使之在与央视的抗衡之中落败。

@2021 中国知识产权杂志

Tencent and NetEase: monopoly is being further busted with Sony Music deals
腾讯和网易与索尼音乐的交易再次打破垄断

Sony Music Entertainment (SME) announced May 17 that it has signed both a new direct China digital distribution deal with NetEase Cloud Music and a multi-year extension of its existing agreement with Tencent Music Entertainment (TME).

Sony’s NetEase deal is the latest to shift power away from TME in China’s streaming industry and make the space slightly more competitive. It comes amidst a government antitrust probe of TME and its parent company Tencent Group.

For years, TME elbowed out competitors with exclusive digital distribution contracts with the three major labels, Universal, Warner and Sony. It would then sub-license those catalogues out to competitors like NetEase — often for double or triple the original price.

The arrangement provoked a 2018 antitrust investigation of Tencent, which resulted in a commitment from the firm to drop some of its exclusive contracts at the end of their three-year duration. The probe was suspended in 2019.

Last May, NetEase signed a strategic partnership with Warner Chappell Music to access the lyrics to the latter’s catalogue of songs. Last August, NetEase managed to sign a direct licensing agreement with Universal Music Group (UMG), signaling the first shake-up of the major labels’ previous one-and-done approach to the Chinese market.

The new antitrust investigation of Tencent currently underway hones in on TME in particular, Reuters said, and will likely result in a fine of at least $1.54 billion (RMB10 billion). TME may be forced to give up even more of its exclusive music rights contracts, and potentially sell off its music apps Kuwo and Kugou.

In March, TME renewed its multi-year licensing deal with Warner Music.

SME music is currently available via TME’s platforms such as top streamers QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and online Karaoke platform WeSing. Additionally, it will now be available on certain connected devices such as smart speakers, TVS and in-car audio systems.

@2021 China IP Magazine

索尼音乐娱乐(SME)5月17日宣布与网易云音乐(NetEase Cloud Music)签署了一份新的发行协议,并与腾讯音乐娱乐(TME)签署了一份在现有基础上的长年合作协议。

索尼与网易的交易是中国流媒体行业从腾讯手中分化权力的最新举动,也让这一领域的竞争可以变得略为激烈。而此时,腾讯音乐及其母公司腾讯集团正遭到政府的反垄断调查。

多年以来,腾讯音乐与三大唱片公司环球、华纳和索尼签订了独家的数字音乐发行合约。腾讯会再将这些音乐曲目转售给竞争对手,比如网易——而价格通常是原本价格的两到三倍。腾讯以此举排挤了其竞争对手。

这一行为引发了2018年对腾讯的反垄断调查,腾讯承诺在三年有效期结束时撤销部分独家合同。调查于2019年终止。

去年5月,网易与华纳查佩尔音乐公司(Warner Chappell Music)签署了战略合作协议,将其歌词收录到后者的歌目中。

去年8月,网易成功地与环球音乐集团(Universal Music Group)签署了直接授权协议,这标志着大型唱片公司在中国市场的“一键式”策略首次出现重大调整。

路透社称,对于腾讯的新一轮反垄断调查目前主要针对腾讯音乐,这将可能导致至少15.4亿美元(约合100亿元人民币)的罚款。腾讯音乐可能不得不放弃更多的独家音乐版权合同,并可能出售其音乐应用酷我和酷狗。

今年3月,腾讯音乐与华纳音乐续签了多年的授权协议。

索尼音乐目前可以通过腾讯音乐的平台,包括顶级流媒体平台QQ音乐,酷狗音乐,酷我音乐和在线K歌平台WeSing。此外,它现在也可以用于某些移动设备,如智能音箱、电视和车载音频系统。

@2021 中国知识产权杂志

One more monopolist? Chinese socket maker Bull under antitrust investigation
又一垄断巨头?中国插座制造商公牛接受反垄断调查

Chinese leading socket maker Bull Group announced on May 12nd that the local market regulator in Zhejiang Province had launched an investigation into the company's alleged monopolistic practices.

Analysts said the move shows that China's antitrust efforts have expanded from internet platforms to other sectors affecting every aspect of economy. Such move aims to create a fair market environment and a long-term development for industries.

Bull Group said in a communication sent to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on May 12nd that it had received the letter from the local market regulator on May 11st and will actively cooperate with the antitrust investigation.

The company's shares shed 2.77 percent on Wednesday while the flagship Shanghai Composite Index ended up 0.61 percent.

The company, based in Cixi, East China's Zhejiang Province and known for its electrical and electronic products, posted 2.31 billion yuan in net profit last year, an increase of 0.42 percent, despite the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and big swings in raw material prices.

Bull Group saw its net profit soar 256.17 percent year-on-year to 607 million yuan during the first quarter of this year.

@2021 China IP Magazine

中国领先的插座制造商公牛集团5月12日宣布,浙江省市场监管机构已对该公司涉嫌垄断行为展开调查。

分析人士表示,此举表明,中国的反垄断举措已从互联网平台扩展到影响经济各个方面的其他行业。此举旨在创造公平的市场环境和产业的长远发展。

公牛集团在5月12日发给上海证券交易所的一份信函中表示,该公司已于5月11日收到了当地市场监管机构的信函,将积极配合反垄断调查。

周三,该公司股价下跌2.77%,而上证综合指数收盘上涨0.61%。

公牛集团位于中国东部浙江省慈溪市,以其电气和电子产品而闻名。尽管受新冠肺炎疫情的影响以及原材料价格的大幅波动,该公司去年的净利润为23.1亿元,同比增长0.42%。

今年第一季度,公牛集团净利润同比增长256.17%,达到6.07亿元。

@2021 中国知识产权杂志

Contact: E-mail: chinaip@chinaipmagazine.com

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