Xiamen Quan Sheng Industrial Co., Ltd. vs. Wang Xindan with Shanghai Ever-bright City International Glasses Market Management Co., Ltd. for Infringement of the Appearance Design Patent

Basic facts

The plaintiff, Xiamen Quan Sheng Industrial Co., Ltd., as the patent holder of the appearance design of the product named “glasses (television)”, found that the defendant, Wang Xindan sold children’s glasses in almost the same appearance as the plaintiff’s in Nuo Xi Jenny Glasses Shop opened by Shanghai Ever-bright City International Glasses Market Management Co., Ltd. In the plaintiff’s view, the defendant infringed its right of the appearance design patent, so it lodged a suit to the court to request the defendant, Wang Xindan, bear the corresponding civil liability, and Shanghai Ever-bright Glasses Market Management Co., Ltd. bear joint and several liability with Wang Xindan for the failure of fulfilling the duty of supervision as the market manager.

Result of Judgment

Shanghai Intellectual Property Court after trial held that both the accused infringing products and the patents concerned in this case were basically the same in shape, but different in color and decoration part through comparison. However, since the plaintiff’s appearance design patent itself contained five series that only differed in color, the court viewed that the color should not be the main design point of the patent. From cognitive perspective of average consumers, in contrast to the basically same shape, the differences between the colors and the decoration parts of both parties should not have substantial impact over the overall visual effect. This means that as the accused infringing children’s glasses bore no substantial differences with the plaintiff’s appearance design patent in terms of the overall visual effect, products of both parties constituted approximation. As a result, the court concluded that the accused infringing children’s glasses products were within the scope of protection of the plaintiff’s appearance design patent, and the defendant, Wang Xindan, should compensate the plaintiff’s economic losses and reasonable cost totaling RMB 13,000.

 

Typical significance

The case concerned the order to protect the elements of shape, pattern, color and others in the appearance design patent protection. In such cases, if the shape or the pattern in the involved appearance design patent may better reflect the design features, the color may almost be negligible unless changes in colors may change the structure of the whole pattern. In general, in the case of appearance design patent where all shape, pattern and color are in need of protection, the order for consideration on the basis of the infringement comparison shall be shape>pattern>color.

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