Electronic Evidence: a New Basis for Judging Patent Infringement

China IP News
China IP News——————————————

Recently, the Guangdong Higher People's Court, for the first time, regarded ‘Taobao Transaction Snapshot' as the main evidence for judging constituting the practical patent infringement, which was considered as an important trial innovation in judicial practice.

It was understood that Ms Lu, made application for the practical new type of patent  to the Patent Office of the State Intellectual Property Office for ‘Simple Gondola Shelf' on June 21, 2012. In July 2013, she filed a lawsuit to the Foshan Intermediate People's Court and stated that, the Watson Gondola Shelf etc published and sold in the internet by hardware factory, violated her patent, and she demanded the hardware factory to make compensation for her loss. The court of first instance adopted two pieces of evidence provided by the hardware factory: one piece of evidence displayed that the factory's sales record and appraisal in Taobao.com and www.ugong.com; another record and appraisal displayed the record of the orders and transactions snapshot on the allegedly infringing products sold by the factory on Taobao.com. The order transaction time was earlier than the patent application date involved in the case. Accordingly, the court judged that the counterargument of a hardware factory on the existing technology was effective, and made a verdict that Ms Lu's litigation application was rejected. Ms Lu refused to comply with the judgment and then appealed to a higher court, Court of Second Instance, also by adopting the related electronic evidence on snapshot transactions of commodity, and according to the technical characteristics comparison between snapshot transactions of commodity and the alleged infringing products, judged that the hardware factory did not constitute infringement.

Actually, along with the momentum of strong development of the network trade, the adoption of electronic evidence has become more common in the settlement of disputes. Electronic evidence is complex and difficult to acquire. As to the specificity of the electronic evidence, Li Shunde, Professor and doctoral advisor of law and Intellectual Property Rights Department, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in this interview with our newspaper reporter, under usual conditions, an isolated electronic evidence cannot be admissible, there at the same time must be other related evidence together for constituting a complete and real chain of evidence that can prove the authenticity and reliability of the electronic evidence, then, such kind of electronic evidence can be likely to be admissible in court. Civil procedure law, criminal procedure law and contract law have all made the relevant provisions on electronic evidence. In the process of case trial, the court must, according to the law, make strict quality confirmation, comprehensive, objective review and verification for a variety of evidence submitted by the parties.

The verdict of Court of Second Instance had law evidence; for the evidence submitted, therefore, they were adopted and became an important basis and evidence for judging infringement by the court.