Youth Economics said it

  took 3 years for a domestic LED company to win the US "337 Investigation" for the first time

  In today's increasingly fierce global market competition, intellectual property has become an international game rule that companies cannot avoid. Without core technology, independent intellectual property rights and the courage to "bright swords", companies will be unable to do so.


  Recently, Ding Yanhui, chairman of Absen, a listed LED company in Shenzhen, made a meaningful statement in the circle of friends: "The Chinese have hardly won this type of lawsuit against Americans, and we have set a precedent."

  Not long ago, on June 11, the Eastern District Court of Texas made a judgment on the intellectual property infringement case of Shenzhen company Absen’s export of LED display products to the United States, and Absen won the case.

  This judgment from the Marshall (Eastern District) Chamber of the Texas District Court of the United States shows that the trial of this civil lawsuit lasted 4 days from June 7th.

On June 11, the jury reached an unanimous ruling that none of the nine accused products of Shenzhen Absen Company infringed any intellectual property rights of any American Supervision Company, and determined that all intellectual property rights claimed by American Supervision Company were invalid. of.

At the same time, Shenzhen Absen, as the winning defendant, should recover the litigation costs from the plaintiff, American Supervision.

  The news came, and Shenzhen Absen Company was boiling over.

The victory of this "marathon lawsuit" that took more than three years is not only the first victory of a Chinese LED company in the U.S. "337 Investigation" and the Texas District Court litigation, it also cleared the Chinese LED company's presence in the U.S. market and the global market. The patent barriers on the above-mentioned issues have extremely important reference significance and positive value for China's "going overseas" enterprises.

The "337 Investigation" has very high requirements for the rapid response capabilities of the surveyed companies

  The "337 Investigation" is a trade protection method adopted by the United States.

This kind of trade protectionist approach with unilateral sanctions is relatively beneficial to the requesting party (plaintiff). Products found to infringe intellectual property rights will be prohibited from being imported into the United States and sold.

Once a general exclusion order is issued, in addition to the respondent's related products, other similar products may also be prohibited from entering the United States.

  In addition, compared to patent litigation cases in the US Federal District Courts, the "337 Investigation" is easier to file. Applicants only need to prove that there is an industry related to the claimed intellectual property rights in the United States, and there is no need to prove that there is damage.

  In addition, compared with the two-year or even longer trial period of patent litigation cases, the investigation period of the "337 Investigation" is 12-16 months, which requires very high ability of the investigated enterprise to respond to the investigation. The responding enterprise not only needs to Collect relevant evidence materials in a short period of time and also need to hire lawyers familiar with American law, etc. The cost is usually as high as 3 million to 6 million US dollars, or even higher.

  On March 27, 2018, Ultravision requested the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to initiate a "337 investigation" against more than a dozen Chinese LED companies, including Abison and Leard. , Accusing Chinese companies of infringing on their product patents and requesting the issuance of general exclusion orders, limited exclusion orders, and prohibitions.

In other words, due to the existence of a "general exclusion order", as long as one of the Chinese LED companies unfortunately loses the lawsuit, it will withdraw from the US market along with other similarly sued product companies in the country.

"If the lawsuit is lost, the entire industry will fall."

  Relevant information shows that Supervision was established in 2010 and is an American LED display company, while Absen was founded in 2001 and completed its first international order as early as 2005.

  After American Supervision requested the US International Trade Commission (USITC) to initiate a "337" investigation, the China Optics and Optoelectronics Association issued a statement stating that Supervision was established in 2010 and its two patents are mainly waterproofing. , Is not the core technology of the display screen and has no substantial protection effect. The patent has no substantial restriction or harm to Chinese LED display companies exporting to the United States.

Many Chinese LED display companies have products with this patent feature that have been sold in the US market long before their patents were filed.

  However, on May 24, 2018, the U.S. International Trade Commission still voted to accept the prosecutor’s application and initiate the "337 investigation", which involved almost all LED displays including Abison, Leyard, and Unilumin. Major companies.

  When learning that the US initiated the "337 Investigation", Absen was vigorously exploring the US market.

Ding Yanhui recalled: "This single lawsuit really has a great impact on the company."

  Several LED companies such as Leyard, Absen, Unilumin Technology, etc. are all listed companies. Absen, as the leading export company in China’s optoelectronic LED display industry, has a relatively large share of its business in the United States and is the most affected. V.

  "This case is of great significance to Absen and China's LED display industry. If the lawsuit is lost, the entire industry will fall." Ding Yanhui feels that this is very similar to Sino-US trade negotiations. After you show confidence and courage, the other party will give in.

If the other person sees you cautiously and cowardly, they will have to make an inch of it and add weight to you.

  In fact, the greater difficulty in responding to this lawsuit is that the Eastern District Court of Texas, which accepted the case, is known for hearing patent litigation cases.

Historical data shows that in the intellectual property litigation cases heard here, the winning rate of patent owners is as high as 88%, far exceeding the national average of 68%.

Many world-renowned companies appear as defendants in this court every year, including industry giants such as Microsoft, Samsung, and Huawei.

  "Other companies also resisted at the beginning, but they couldn't fight because of the huge cost, and the lawyer team was disbanded." Ding Yanhui felt a little tragic, because he stood up to fight "on behalf of the country", representing LED The show industry is hitting.

"Due to the impact of the lawsuit, Absen’s sales to the United States have declined year by year: 500 million yuan in 2018, 350 million yuan in 2019, and 160 million yuan in 2020.”

Respect intellectual property rights and are not afraid of any related malicious litigation

  Recalling more than three years of responding to lawsuits, Ding Yanhui felt that respecting intellectual property rights, and not afraid of any malicious litigation in intellectual property rights, insisted on constantly striving to improve the ability to create, use, protect and manage intellectual property rights, which is the key to victory.

  Ding Yanhui told the China Youth Daily and China Youth Daily that after being prosecuted in 2018, Absen established a special team composed of internal experts and external American lawyers, who must win this lawsuit.

“Supervision’s executives have contacted me many times, hoping to reconcile, the other party’s price was as high as 32 million U.S. dollars at the beginning, and later adjusted to 5.9 million U.S. dollars. However, if Abison reconciles, it means that other Chinese companies lose all. It is necessary to pay several million yuan, tens of millions of yuan in patent fees."

Ding Yanhui thought very clearly about this key point: "I want to fight them to the end, and I will allocate another 10 million yuan in budget, and the big deal will be to shut down the American company."

  In the past few years of preparing evidence to respond, Absen has not been under pressure from its operations.

"Some American executives and employees in the North American branch also had a lot of support. Finally, I sent personnel from the Shenzhen head office to take over the American company to stabilize the military." Ding Yanhui recalled.

  However, one aspect of the American jury system is "judging the credibility of the witness/company". The city for the trial is a small city with a population of 20,000, with varying levels of education and little knowledge about the LED display industry. These are all possible. Become the final factor affecting the judgment.

  During the trial, Supervision’s lawyers also tried to “politicize” the case. Abison’s lawyers opposed it directly and gave a powerful blow in the closing submission: “They do not choose to compete in the market, but choose to compete in the market. Conduct their business in court."

  On July 1, after Abison finally won the lawsuit, Ding Yanhui wrote this text in his circle of friends: "Nowadays, China is not rare to have one more or one tens of billions of output value enterprise, but what China needs is abundance. An advocate and practicer of business civilization that is honest, honest, quality, daring, and win-win. The Absen people should comply with and shoulder this historical mission!"

"The accumulation of patents is not to hinder others, but to protect oneself"

  In recent years, with the acceleration of Shenzhen enterprises' "going global" pace, there are not a few companies facing the same obstacles as Absen.

Shenzhen has also become one of the earliest and most frequently encountered overseas intellectual property disputes in China.

Song Yang, director of the China (Shenzhen) Intellectual Property Protection Center, revealed that Shenzhen enterprises have already encountered 11 "337 investigations" in 2020 alone, which is 2.2 times the number in 2019.

  In fact, judging from the many "337 investigation" cases involving Chinese companies in recent years, it is often the domestic industries that have achieved a certain scale and market advantage will be investigated.

Chinese companies in these industries have demonstrated strong competitiveness in the market, posing challenges to foreign counterparts.

In order to maintain their market position, foreign companies often use the "337 Investigation" as an important deterrent to combat the development of Chinese companies.

  In addition, many Chinese companies do not pay much attention to patent applications, especially applications in key overseas regions. Although they are not technically far behind foreign countries or even some technologies are more advanced, due to insufficient early protection of intellectual property rights, they are Foreign companies have not carried out technology tracking, patent monitoring, and litigation monitoring, and lack prevention, control and early warning of potential intellectual property risks.

  "Chinese companies must strengthen their awareness of patents. Don't ignore the simplicity. If we don't pay attention, people will hinder us." Recalling this protracted lawsuit, Ding Yanhui was deeply moved, "Accumulating patents is not to hinder others. But to protect yourself".

  Chen Sisi, executive vice president and secretary-general of Shenzhen Strategic Emerging Industry Development Promotion Association, said that in today's increasingly fierce global market competition, intellectual property has become an international game rule that enterprises cannot avoid without core technology, independent intellectual property rights and The courage to "bright sword" will make it difficult for enterprises to make progress.

In today's increasingly fierce international competition, no matter whether companies "go out" or "bring in", they must "do not move the soldiers and horses, but take the food and grass first", actively improve research and development capabilities, build their own core technologies, and pay attention to Intellectual property protection, increase investment in intellectual property, and adapt to the foreign intellectual property environment as soon as possible to support its going abroad and sustainable development.

  China Youth Daily·China Youth Daily reporter Liu Fang Source: China Youth Daily