The S&F law blog

Newsletters Regarding IPR (09.08.10)

Cargill withdraws case

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) permitted US company Cargill Inc to withdraw its patent infringement case against Nantong Foreign Trade Medicines & Health Products Co Ltd of China, marking a victory for the Chinese company.

The investigation was based on a complaint filed by Cargill on Jan 28, alleging that the importation and sales of certain non-shellfish derived glucosamine and other products of Nantong Medicines infringed on a patent owned by Cargill.

The complainant requested that the ITC issue an exclusion order and a “cease and desist” order.

Respondent Nantong Medicines brought 300 sets of materials and 12 boxes of files to challenge the complainant. The evidence forced Cargill to withdraw the case.

Patent alliance grows

Since its formation two years ago, the Shunde Patent Alliance of Electric Pressure Ovens has doubled its membership, according to a recent corporate patent conference.

In October 2006, Midea and three other companies formed the alliance in the Shunde district of Foshan in Guangdong province.

Initially there were four members, and now there are seven. The alliance’s patents grew from 46 to 195, accounting for 20 percent of all domestic patents in the industry.

Resin Systems patent

Resin Systems Inc (RS), a technology innovator and manufacturer of advanced composite products for infrastructure markets, announced that its RStandard modular composite poles are now patented in China.

This patent supports the company’s broader commercial strategy of protecting its unique technology in one of the world’s larger economies and fastest-growing electric power grids.

As the application of RS’s modular pole technology broadens, this patent, granted by the State Intellectual Property Office of China, ensures a secure entry for RStandard poles into the Chinese utility and communications markets, the company said.

About European patents

To enhance understanding of the European patent system, China’s State Intellectual Property Office and European Patent Office (EPO) recently held a seminar on the European patent system in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province.

EPO representatives said they hope more Chinese inventors apply for patents in Europe to better safeguard intellectual property rights in the overseas market.

According to the agency, online applications for patents can be made from China via the agency’s EPOLINE network.

IPR and Tibet

The State Intellectual Property Office and Intellectual Property Office of Tibet autonomous region held a workshop for Tibetan medical companies on patent use and the advantage of cultivating intellectual property rights (IPR) in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

The workshop in Llasa discussed how TCM and the Tibetan medicine industry bring benefits to ordinary people and enable the development of traditional knowledge-based industries.

Organizers said the workshop would help increase awareness of IPR concerning TCM and Tibetan medicine and make it easier to apply for patents in those fields.

Another Microsoft case

Microsoft Corp has taken legal action against three Shanghai companies over allegations of software piracy.

The case represents another example of the US software giant widening its net to challenge not only IT giants, but also small businesses.

Representatives of computer retailer Shanghai Changfeng Information Technology Co Ltd and its suppliers recently faced Microsoft attorneys in Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People’s Court.

Microsoft is seeking about 320,000 yuan in compensation from retailer Changfeng Information Technology and two of its computer suppliers, Shanghai Chenyue Information Technology Co Ltd and Shanghai Ziyue Network Technology Co Ltd.

Microsoft told the court that Changfeng Information Technology had long installed pirated software in computers before selling them.

A ruling has not yet been issued.

Source: China Daily


Lawsuit over font goes to court
August 10, 2009, 3:35 pm
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Beijing Founder Electronics Co Ltd has accused P&G of copyright infringement.

China’s No 1 provider of Chinese font products, Beijing Founder Electronics Co Ltd, has brought consumer goods producer P&G Guangzhou Ltd to court for alleged copyright infringement.

Founder Electronics is asking for 1.34 million yuan in compensation.

The company claims that P&G Guangzhou for the past two years has used a font developed by Founder Electronics on P&G packages, logos, trademarks and advertisements without permission.

The font has been used on 63 P&G products, according to Founder Electronics.

The involved font, or typeface, is called qianti, which means slim due to its resemblance to a slim lady.

Founder Electronics sued P&G Guangzhou and international retailer Carrefour in August 2008 for selling products with the qianti font.

The case reached a Beijing court in late June. A ruling has not yet been issued.

Going to court

“We have no other choice but to turn to the court since P&G Guangzhou turned a blind eye to our continuous efforts to negotiate the issue,” Huang Xuejun, director of the Matrix Development Department of Founder Electronics, was quoted by China Times as saying.

P&G Guangzhou declined to discuss the lawsuit.

“It is not convenient to comment on a case under judicial proceedings, but we hope the case will be decided as soon as possible,” Zhang Qunxiang, a spokesman for P&G Guangzhou, said.

“The Chinese characters are a tool for public communications, and no government entitles the monopoly rights of fonts to a certain company or an individual,” Zhou Lin, an agent of P&G Guangzhou, said after the June court trial.

“Founder Electronics just adjusted the shapes of the characters but not the original structure. It can only claim rights to the digitalized database, rather than all the characters,” Zhou said.

The 63 brands described as bearing the qianti font include the high-recognition P&G names of Rejoice, Crest, Sassoon, Safeguard and Whisper.

“If P&G Guangzhzou loses the suit, it will cost a lot for the company to design the logos, package the products and reprint the advertisements. The money which has been invested in marketing is hard to get back,” Zhang Bingwu, a senior brand marketing expert, told China Business Weekly.

“What’s more, changing the package of the involved products will lower consumers’ loyalty to these brands. Otherwise, the company has to pay Founder Electronics to use the font legally,” Zhang Bingwu said.

Founder Electronics charges P&G Guangzhou 10,000 yuan for a font, which contains more than 6,000 characters.

“In fact, with our fonts, 90 percent can be used free. Only special fonts developed by Founder Electronics should incur charges when they are used for commercial purposes,” Huang of Founder Electronics said.

Founder Electronics bought the copyright of the qianti font from creator Qi Li and then developed and digitalized the font in 1998.

Last April, the company registered the qianti font with the National Copyright Administration and received a copyright certificate from the government agency.

In addition to P&G Guangzhzou, Founder Electronics has taken two online game companies Blizzard Entertainment and the9 to court for alleged copyright infringement of its font.

Huang said companies such as Sony, Samsung and Panasonic have all paid Founder Electronics for the rights to use their fonts legally.

Public awareness

“People’s awareness of font copyright is weak. For example, we just sold about 2,000 sets of the newly developed ‘Xu Jinglei’ font when there have been millions of sets of pirated fonts,” Huang said.

Zhang Bingwu said a lawsuit against a well-known brand increases public awareness.

“Suing the famous brand P&G can raise people’s awareness about protecting the font copyright,” Zhang Bingwu said.

Jiang Yuhong with the Intellectual Property Affairs Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology said fonts should fall into the scope of copyright protection when the national Copyright Act is amended next time.

“The lawsuit may not be a bad thing, since it shows the determination of Founder Electronics to protect its copyrights of fonts,” Xu Xinming, a lawyer with, told China Business Weekly.

Xu said that a stronger enforcement mechanism for font copyrights protection is expected to grow out of the court cases.

He used karaoke music as an example.

“Things are changing. People were used to enjoying the songs free of charge, but after a series of trials on this issue, the public started realizing that it is reasonable to pay to use the songs in karaoke,” Xu said.

In the long run, the best resolution to font copyright suits will rely on proper charges for font use, as well as development of font copyrights management, You Yunting, a senior intellectual property lawyer with Shanghai’s JoinWay Law Firm, was quoted by China Times as saying.

P&G Guangzhou is the first joint venture in China of US-based Procter & Gamble, the world’s No 1 consumer products company.

Founder Electronics is a subsidiary of the Founder Group, a Chinese IT company established by Peking University in 1986.

Source: China Daily