Recently, our firm won the first instance of an administrative litigation case for invalidation of an invention patent, in which it is ruled that the invention patent should be comp...
Introduction In the chemical field, it is difficult to seek invalidation of a patent claiming to have achieved unexpected technical effect. This case provides a strategy for success...
What’s new in April, 2022

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WIPO Report Says China Is Largest Source of Patent Applications Related to COVID-19 Vaccines and Therapies
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently held an online conference to release the Patent Landscape Report on COVID-19-related Vaccines and Therapeutics.
According to the report, in the 21 months since the start of the pandemic, 49 (forty nine )patent offices all over the world have received 5,293(five thousand two hundred and ninety three) patent filings on technologies related to COVID-19 in general, including 1,465(one thousand four hundred and sixty five) patent filings about therapeutics and 417(four hundred and seventeen) about vaccine development. Among them, universities and research organizations are the most active in vaccine-related applications.
China is the largest source country for patent applications related to COVID-19 vaccines and therapies. As of September 2021, China is home to the patent family of 276(two hundred and seventy six) vaccine-related applications, and Chinese applicants have also applied for 887(eight hundred and eighty seven) patents for COVID-19 therapies. In terms of specific research and development, according to WHO data, as of October 2021, China had 34 new COVID-19 vaccines in development, 23 of which were in clinical trials, the second highest total in the world, indicating that China is in the "top tier" of global innovation in COVID-19 vaccines and therapies.
The report also notes that major global IP offices, including the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), have opened green channels for COVID-19-related applications and accelerated the examination process, demonstrating the efforts of the global IP system to address the challenges of the pandemic. (March 14, 2022, CNIPA)
The trademark invalidation filed by Japan's "無印良品" against China's "无印良品" is rejected
The dispute between Japan's "印良品" and China's "无印良品" has a long history.
Beijing Cottonfield Textile Co. Ltd (hereinafter referred to as “Cottonfield”) is the owner of the trademark No. 74942399 (seven four nine four two three nine nine) “无印良品” (hereinafter referred to as the trademark in dispute), which was registered in 2001 and approved for use in Class 24 "cotton fabrics, towels, towel quilts, bath towels, pillowcases, floor towels, bed sheets, pillowcases, quilts. Beijing Wuyinliangpin was established in June 2011, and Cottonfield is one of its investors.
Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Ryohin Keikaku) is a company registered in Japan, and established Shanghai MUJI in May 2005, which mainly sales household goods and other products.
In administrative phase, the plaintiff, Ryohin Keikaku, claimed that “無印良品” was the plaintiff's original unregistered trademark, and the evidence submitted by the plaintiff could prove that the plaintiff had been using the trademark “無印良品” on bed sheets and duvet covers through Original Equipment Manufacturer before the filing date of the trademark at issue. In 1998, the plaintiff's trademark “無印良品” entered the market circulation in mainland China, and the plaintiff's trademark “無印良品” had certain distinctiveness. The plaintiff used the trademark  “無印良品” first, and has gained certain popularity. The plaintiff and the third party are in the same industry, and the third party should be aware of the plaintiff's prior use and certain influence of the trademark, therefore the third party has the bad faith of taking free ride of the trademark in dispute in the actual use.
The plaintiff, Ryohin Keikaku, also claimed that the application for registration of the trademark in dispute had damaged the plaintiff's prior copyright, and that “無印良品”was designed by a famous Japanese designer, and was neither an inherent word nor a common expression, constituting a written work in the sense of copyright law. The trademark in dispute was substantially similar to the plaintiff's prior written works and constituted a plagiarism / ˈpleɪdʒərɪzəm / of the plaintiff's “無印良品”.
In this regard, the CNIPA held that the trademark in dispute was not substantially similar to "無印良品 & device" claimed by the plaintiff, and the evidence submitted by the plaintiff failed to prove that the trademark “無印良品”had achieved a level of consumer familiarity before the filing date of the trademark at issue. Therefore, the CNIPA decided to maintain the validity of the trademark in dispute. The plaintiff appealed to the court.
The court of first instance held that  “無印良品”as a four-character phrase could not constitute the object of copyright protection, and the trademark in dispute did not constitute a substantial similarity to the “無印良品& device” which the plaintiff claimed had been published in the Japanese press in 1980. The application for registration of the disputed trademark did not damage the plaintiff's prior copyright.
In the end, the court decided to reject the plaintiff's requests. (March 1, Beijing Youth Daily)
Trade secret protection
Notice of the State Administration for Market Regulation on the Issuance of the National Innovative Pilot Program for Trade Secret Protection
Recently, the State Administration for Market Regulation published the National Innovative Pilot Program for Trade Secret Protection. By selecting a number of areas to carry out the innovative pilot of trade secret protection, it is planned to spend three years to further improve the system of trade secret protection rules, form a number of guidelines, and continuously optimize the policies for trade secret protection. (March 7, the State Administration for Market Regulation)
Anti-unfair competition  
Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues Concerning the Application of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law of the People's Republic of China
The Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues Concerning the Application of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law of the People's Republic of China has come into force since March 20, 2022. The Interpretation contains 29 articles, focusing on and making detailed provisions for Article 2 of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, counterfeiting and confusion, false promotion, and unfair competition on the Internet, etc. (March 17, China Supreme People's Court)


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