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Guangzhou IP Court sides with Italian furniture maker in design patent dispute

Recently, Guangzhou IP Court made a first- instance judgment on a design patent infringement case between the Italian company Giovannoni Design S.R.L and Dongguan Boyuan Rotational Molding Technology Company and held that the design of the rabbit- shaped products Boyuan manufactured is similar to the design patent titled "CHAIRS" (Patent Number: ZL201530388869.3) and owned by Giovannoni and infringes Giovannoni's design patent right, ordering Boyuan to cease infringement and indemnify 80,000 yuan in damages.

In October, 2015, Giovannoni filed the application of the patent in dispute to the then- State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), which would begranted on January 20, 2016 for use on furniture. The key feature of the design patent is the shape of the product, that is, the long-eared rabbit shape.

At the beginning of 2019, Giovannoni found that LED colorful and glowing- rabbit chairs, children's stools and creative bar stools as props for large- scale activities during Mid- Autumn Festival (alleged infringing products) sold by Boyuan on the Alibaba's e- commerce platform fell into the claimed protection scope of itsdesign patent, infringing its patent rights. Giovannoni then filed the case at Guangzhou IP Court, requesting the Court to order Boyuan to stop manufacturing, selling and offering to sell the alleged infringing products and to indemnify 335,000 yuan.

Boyuan argued that firstly, the alleged infringing products belonged to decorative lighting and were different from the patent products in function and type. Secondly, the attached drawing of the design patent certificate was not the same with the one of the alleged infringing products. Thirdly, the features of the patent in dispute did not meet the conditions required for grant of a design patent. At last, Boyuan Company sold only two kinds of the alleged infringing products, and neither sold infringing products in large volumes nor gained notable profits. The damages Giovannoni asserted was too high.

Guangzhou IP Court held that the patent products are chairs, belonging to furniture. The alleged infringing products are called glowing rabbitshaped chairs in Boyuan's online store, which can meet the conditions as chairs considering the size of the alleged infringing products. The alleged infringing products and the design patent in dispute can be compared considering that they are identical in type. Both the design of the alleged infringing products and the patent in dispute are in long-ear rabbit shape and identical in shape and limb proportions, thus constituting similarity. In this connection, the alleged infringing products fell into the protection scope of the claims of the patent in dispute.

The Court made the above-mentioned judgment after a comprehensive consideration of the patent type, the popularity of the patent products, the nature and situation of Boyuan's infringing act and the price of the alleged infringing products.

After the first-instance judgment, Boyuan has appealed to Guangdong High Court, and CIPNews will continue to pay attention to the development of the case.

Source: China IP News

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