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 Litigation A


Administrative Litigation on Design Patent Invalidation Royal Philips Electronic Corp., Ltd. of the Netherlands v. the Chinese Patent Reexamination Board and the Third Party--- Yang Weijiang

The interested party:
Plaintiff: philips Electron Corp., Ltd., Netherlands (abbr.: philips Co.)
Defendant: The Chinese Patent Reexamination Board
The Third Party: Mr. Yang Weijiang

Facts:

The present case relates to the patent for design by Yang Weijiang, filing No. 98308910.8, titled "electric shaver (1)" which is announced by the Patent Office of the State Intellectual Property Office on May 5, 1999. On March 16 of 2001, the plaintiff requested the Patent Reexamination Board to declare the above-mentioned patent right invalid with the reasons that this patent is similar in shape with the patent for design of CN 94302609.1 filed by the plaintiff, which is not in conformity with the provisions of Art.23 of the Patent Law. It should be revoked.

Upon comparing this patent with the references, both designs are similar in form as a whole. The difference of the two designs lies mainly in the shape of blade head. The blade head of the patent is reciprocating and of the plaintiff is rotary type. The defendant, Patent Reexamination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office of PRC, defined the blade head of the shaver as the important visional part of the product and considered that there exists distinctive difference between the design patent of the third party CN 98308910.8 and that of the reference. Therefore, the Chinese Patent Reexamination Board made a decision of No.3713 on the request to declare invalid on Aug. 30, 2001 as follows: compared the patent with the reference, the ordinary consumers will easily distinguish the above- mentioned two products without confusion when they buy the goods. Thus, the request to declare invalid by the plaintiff is rejected and the patent for design CN 98308910.8 is upheld.

The plaintiff was not satisfied with the examination decision of the Chinese Patent Reexamination Board and instituted legal review proceedings in Beijing First Intermediate People's Court.

The point at issue: whether the two kinds of products are similar or not when comparing the patent with the reference.

Upon hearing, the Court considered that the defining of the important part, the criterion for the judgment to the design patent and the conclusion of upholding the patent for design CN 98308910.8 valid were not proper in the Decision of No.3713 of the Chinese Patent Reexamination Board.

Resolution:

According to Art. 54(2) of the "Administrative Procedures of the PRC", the Beijing First Intermediate People's Court made the first instance decision, (2002) YiZhongXingChuZi No.114 on Dec. 11 of 2000:
1. Revoke the Decision of No.3713 made by the Patent Reexamination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office of the PRC concerning declaring invalid;

2. The defendant, Patent Reexamination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office of the PRC, remake the examination decision on the request to declare invalid.

After the judgment was made, the parties concerned did not lodge an appeal to the upper people's court.

This case has been reported by the various newspapers in China including Beijing, and was cited by many Internet webs. See the appendix for the details.

JUDGEMENT
Newspaper