The S&F law blog

EBay Global wins suit against L’Oreal
May 27, 2009, 9:19 am
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EBay has won a court battle against French cosmetics group L’Oreal, which had claimed the online marketplace was jointly liable for trademark infringements committed by its users.

Last Friday’s decision is the latest in a series of legal tussles between the two firms as luxury goods groups seek to crack down on the sale of counterfeit goods.

L’Oreal, which owns brands Lancome and Yves Saint Laurent Beaute, lost a similar case in France last week, and is appealing against a defeat in Belgium.

However, it won two cases in Germany that involved fake perfumes and products without wrapping.

“This is an important judgment because it ensures that consumers can continue to buy genuine products at competitive prices on eBay,” said Richard Ambrose, eBay’s head of trust and safety.

“Following legal victories for eBay in the UK, US, France and Belgium, we reiterate again that cooperation and dialogue is what is needed, not litigation. Only by working together can we collectively address the issues that concern eBay, rights owners and consumers,” he said.

L’Oreal noted in a statement that the court had “agreed with the view held from the outset by L’Oreal that eBay could do more to prevent trademark infringement.”

It said the judge had referred other issues of law raised by the case to the European Court of Justice for further guidance, and that it “remains confident of a positive outcome.”

Source: Shanghai Daily


Toshiba sues CMC Mag, others over DVD patents
May 25, 2009, 9:25 am
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Toshiba corp. is suing several Chinese companies

Toshiba corp. is suing several Chinese companies

China’s CMC Magnetics Corp and Ritek Corp are among several defendants in a patent-infringement lawsuit filed by Japan’s Toshiba Corp in the United States, the Japanese electronics firm said yesterday.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, says Toshiba wants damages for past infringement and is asking the court to bar the sale, manufacture or import into the United States of recordable DVD media by the companies that it named in the lawsuit.

The other defendants include Imation and Moser Baer India Ltd.

Source: China Daily


Castrol sues for trademark violation
May 22, 2009, 11:40 am
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Castrol Ltd is seeking RMB 1 million  from a private company owner for infringing its trademark and company name.

The producer of lubricating oil is also asking for a public apology and a promise of no more infringements by Yao Yuxin, a  Zhejiang Province businessman, and his two companies – USA Jiashiduo Int’l Petroleum Group (Hong Kong) Ltd and Ningbo Yinzhou Jiashuai Lubricating Oil Factory.

Zhou Zhaohong, who runs a local moped repair workshop, is also listed as a defendant. Zhou is being sued for selling the product in question.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court heard the case yesterday with all the defendants absent.

No verdict was reached after the hearing.

Castrol said the name was recognized as a famous trademark in China last year.

Source: Shanghai Daily

BSA: Software Piracy Rate Down To 80% In China
The Business Software Alliance has recorded a drop in sofware piracy in China

The Business Software Alliance has recorded a drop in sofware piracy in China

U.S.-headquartered non-profit software industry organization Business Software Alliance has revealed that the software piracy rate in China has decreased from 90% in 2004 to 80% in 2008.

According to BSA, during the entire year of 2008, the world’s software piracy rate continued to increase, of which, the piracy rate of PC software was 41%, which brought losses of USD53 billion to the industry. Statistics show that the world’s PC software piracy rate was 38% in 2007 and the number increased to 41% in 2008, though countries such as China and Russia had gained some successes in their anti-piracy campaigns. In 2008, the sales of PC software across the world increased by 14% to USD88 billion.

Robert Holleyman, president of BSA, said the anti-piracy campaigns in some countries have gained successes and the piracy rate in nearly half of all countries showed decreases, the piracy rate in one-third of these countries maintained the former level, but the total pirated value was still rising. Holleyman said the piracy rate in the United States is currently about 20%, which is the lowest in the world.

The software piracy rate in China decreased from 90% in 2004 to 80% in 2008 and that in Russia also decreased by 5% to 68%. Holleyman said this result in the Chinese market is mainly attributed to the government’s promotion of authentic software and the joint efforts of Internet service providers.

Source: China Tech News

Danfoss wins trademark case
May 21, 2009, 10:19 am
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A Zhekiang company has been illegally producing Danfoss-branded products since 2007

A Zhekiang company has been illegally producing Danfoss-branded products since 2007

A refrigeration equipment company in Zhejiang was alleged in court by the international leading supplier in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipments and parts, Danfoss for making products labeled with the Danfoss trademark.

The allegation was recognized by the first-instance court Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court. The Zhejiang company was ordered to cease infringement and compensates Danfoss RMB 200,000 in damages.

The Denmark-based Danfoss first found its namesake trademark on counterfeit refrigeration expansion valves in the Chinese market in 2007. An investigation indicated the products were manufactured and sold by the Zhejiang company.



Microsoft teams with Chinese city to fight piracy
May 18, 2009, 12:10 pm
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Microsoft and the City of Hangzhou are partnering in an anti-piracy effort

Microsoft and the City of Hangzhou are partnering in an anti-piracy effort

Microsoft and authorities in a Chinese city have linked up in the US giant’s latest bid to fight rampant software piracy in the key Asian market.

The deal, which the company hopes to be a model for other cities, will see it help Hangzhou develop its IT industry, while officials will encourage the use of genuine software by consumers, government agencies and enterprises.

“In partnering with the municipality of Hangzhou, we are taking a unique approach to improving the IPR (intellectual property rights) environment,” Alec Cooper, who helped develop the three-year deal at Microsoft, told reporters.

Counterfeiting is rampant in China. According to the Business Software Alliance, a US-based anti-piracy organisation, 82 percent of all personal computer software sold in China in 2007 was pirated.

Cooper said Microsoft and Hangzhou city would initiate steps such as rewarding enterprises that use legal software, and making sure all schools and PC shopping centres in the city are free from counterfeit software.

Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, is a major commercial hub in the Shanghai area.

“Hangzhou is the first step. What we see is the cities across China, when planning their economic future, are really focused on building up their knowledge economy, and we’d like to extend it,” Cooper said.

The agreement comes after Microsoft’s previous measure to try to reduce counterfeiting caused an outcry in China.

The Windows Genuine Advantage program turns computer desktops black every hour if the installed Windows XP operating system fails an authenticity validation test, and alerts the user.

But Chinese users labelled it “unfair” monopoly tactics, with some arguing that Microsoft software was too expensive in China for average incomes, which was why many resorted to pirates.

Cooper acknowledged Microsoft software was priced the same around the world.

“But we do have promotional pricing in China… and where that’s appropriate we certainly have tried to address that,” he said.

Source:China Tech News

China Easing Up on IP Enforcement According to U.S. report
The USTR recently released a report on IP infringement in China

The USTR recently released a report on IP infringement in China

As the global economic situation continues to deteriorate, U.S. trade officials are concerned that China could regress on intellectual property protections.

The annual “priority watch list,” released by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, said that despite increased attention toward intellectual property rights in China, officials there are pushing for less-stringent enforcement efforts, a concerning trend for footwear companies struggling to protect their brands abroad.

“I am particularly troubled by reports that Chinese officials are urging more lenient enforcement of [intellectual property rights] laws, motivated by the financial crisis and the need to maintain jobs,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “China needs to strengthen its approach to IPR protection and enforcement, not weaken it.”

According to the most recent statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, $102.3 million worth of fake shoes were seized in fiscal year 2008, which accounted for 38 percent of all infringing goods seized. China was the source of 81 percent of all goods seized for intellectual property violations in 2008. China was one of 12 countries named on the USTR’s priority watch list for countries that don’t adequately safeguard or enforce intellectual property rights. The list also included Russia, India, Thailand, Pakistan and, for the first time, Canada.

Source: Xinhua News