October 3, 2022

Volume XII, Number 276

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September 30, 2022

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Chinese Customs Announces a Batch of Typical Cases of Intellectual Property Infringement

On July 25, 2022, the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China released a notice entitled “Batch of Typical Cases of Intellectual Property Infringement” (一批侵犯知识产权典型案例) involving the protection of intellectual property rights including trademarks, copyrights and patents, etc. that involved both Chinese and foreign rights holders. Rightsholders included Samsung, BMW, Hasbro, Timberland, and others.  Per Chinese Customs, 45.27 million infringing goods were seized in two special law enforcement actions including “Longteng Action 2022” and “Blue Net Action 2022.”

1. Nanjing and Ningbo customs carried out regional law enforcement cooperation to seize infringing generator sets for infringing intellectual property rights.

At the beginning of 2022, a company in Jiangsu reported to Jinling Customs, a subsidiary of Nanjing Customs, that generator sets using the “navigator” trademark appeared in foreign markets, which affected the company’s brand reputation. Nanjing Customs quickly launched a regional joint law enforcement cooperation mechanism, and jointly extracted risk factors such as enterprises, routes, and regions with Ningbo Customs, and tracked logistics chain information. In May, Beilun Customs, a subsidiary of Ningbo Customs, found 4,639 generator sets in 8 containers suspected of infringing the “navigator” trademark, worth 3.953 million RMB. The rightsholder confirmed the above goods were all infringing .

2. Beijing Customs seized infringing clothing, shoes and bags in the mail.

From March to April 2022, Beijing Customs, a subsidiary of Beijing Post Office, successively seized 2,087 outbound parcels suspected of contained infringing goods. When the customs inspected the outbound postal express mail from Hebei, Hubei and other places, a large number of suspected infringing items were seized. There were shoes, clothes, bags and other items in the mail package. The above-mentioned items were poorly packaged and have poor workmanship, which are suspected of infringing on the trademark rights registered with the customs.

3. Shenzhen and Nanning Customs seized a series of cases of infringing mobile phones and accessories.

In January 2022, Shekou Customs, a subsidiary of Shenzhen Customs, seized a batch of goods destined for export. After inspection, there were 113,900 undeclared earphones marked with the “realme” logo, 9,900 earphones with the “SAMSUNG” logo, 15,950 headphones with the “MI” logo , 81,860 headphones with the “VIVO” logo, and 77,900 headphones with the “OPPO” logo, totaling 299,510 head/earphones, with a case value of 1.797 million RMB. The right holders confirmed the above-mentioned goods were suspected of infringing their trademark rights.

Nanning Customs, a subsidiary of Friendship Customs, seized a batch of goods exported to countries along the “Belt and Road”, including 90 mobile phones suspected of infringing the “vivo” trademark, 210 mobile phone chargers and 210 packaging boxes with the “OPPO” trademark,  2,100 wireless earphones with trademark rights for “AirPods,”  and 200 earphones with trademark rights for”JBL”,  for a total of 2,810 pieces, involving a total amount of RMB 440,000. The rightsholders confirmed the above-mentioned goods were all infringing goods.

4. Hangzhou and Chongqing Customs seized a series of cases of infringing auto parts.

In January 2022, Yiwu Customs, a subsidiary of Hangzhou Customs, seized a batch of auto parts for export. They were suspected of infringing the MANDO trademark including 2,067 engine brackets, 190 brake pumps, 1,017 control arms, 280 thermostat housings, and 510 fuel pumps. , 200 thermostats, 400 rubber sleeves, and 1112 shock absorbers.  Customs confirmed with the rightsowner the goods were infringing . This batch of auto parts has a large quantity and is a key commodity involving consumer safety. Customs has actively pushed for the public security organ to file a case for investigation.

In March, Yuzhou Customs, a subsidiary of Chongqing Customs, seized a batch of export goods printed with “BMW and graphics” marks, with a quantity of 65 and a declared value of US$5,200. The rightsholder confirmed that the batch of goods was suspected of infringing on the company’s intellectual property rights. Chongqing Customs made an administrative penalty decision after filing a case for detention and investigation. In May, Yuzhou Customs again seized a batch of exported car lights marked with “BMW.” After investigation, although the above two batches of infringing goods were exported by different companies, the legal person is the same legal person. Chongqing Customs has filed a case for detention and investigation.

5. Jinan, Chengdu and Changsha customs seized a series of infringement cases of game card books.

In January 2022, Jinan Airport Customs seized a batch of game cards using the “POKEMON” trademark totaling 320,000 cards. After contacting the rightsholder, it was confirmed that this batch of goods was suspected of infringing the trademark “POKEMON.” Customs detained the above-mentioned goods in accordance with the law, and transferred the case to the public security organ for investigation and handling.

In March, the Customs of Chengdu Shuangliu Airport, which is subordinate to Chengdu Customs, seized a batch of infringing game cards and brochures from the export freight channel, with a total of 1,488,300 game cards (including 48,300 gold and platinum cards), 18,000 laser card albums, 16,200 commemorative coins, 72,000 plastic protection shells and supporting packing paper, for a total value of 629,000 RMB. The “POKEMON” trademark, Pikachu, Poke Ball and other graphics printed on the goods have been confirmed by the owners and thus constituting infringement. The case has now been transferred to the public security authorities.

In May, Xingsha Customs, a subsidiary of Changsha Customs, seized a batch of game cards with the words “POKEMON” and Pokemon cartoons, which were planned to be transported and exported by the China-Europe freight train. It is suspected of infringing the trademark rights of “Pokémon” filed by the rightsholder with the customs. In June, Xingsha Customs detained the batch of game cards in accordance with the law for further investigation.

6. Hohhot and Huangpu Customs seized a series of infringing children’s toys.

In March 2022, when conducting inspection on a batch of general goods declared for export, the Erlian Customs under the Hohhot Customs found that 144 toys were suspected of infringing upon copyright and 288 toys were suspected of infringing upon trademark rights. Upon investigation, the Erlian Customs under the Hohhot Customs made an administrative penalty decision of confiscating the infringing goods from a Nanjing Import & Export company.

In April, Huangpu Customs found 9,868 children’s toys bearing the trademark “Hasbro and Logo” during an inspection of a batch of goods declared for export, which was suspected of infringing the trademark right. Upon confirmation by the rightsholder, the batch of children’s toys was found to be infringing. At present, the Customs has registered a case against the infringing goods for investigation.

7. Dalian Customs seized a series of infringing old shoes and old clothing.

In February 2022, upon inspection of Dayaowan Customs, which is affiliated with Dalian Customs, it was found that a batch of used exported shoes involved multiple well known brands both in China and abroad. The rightsholders confirmed that 977 pairs of used shoes involved infringed upon their intellectual property rights, and applied to Dalian Customs for protection. From March to April, the Dayao Bay Customs successively seized some infringing  shoes, clothes, bags, etc. preventing export, and a total of nearly 2,000 infringing and used goods (pairs) were seized in this series of cases. At present, Customs has made administrative penalty decisions on confiscating the infringing goods and imposing a fine on the relevant enterprises violating the law.

8. Fuzhou, Ningbo and Nanjing Customs seized a series of cases of Olympic intellectual property infringement.

In March 2022, Rongcheng Customs, a subsidiary of Fuzhou Customs, seized 100 keychains suspected of infringing the Beijing Winter Olympics registered mascot “Bingdundun” in outbound mail.

When inspecting a batch of goods declared for export by a company in Taizhou, Ningbo Customs officers found two types of shoes that had not been declared to the customs. The side of the shoes was printed with a panda pattern in a rock candy shell, which was suspected of infringing on Bingdun, the mascot of the Beijing Winter Olympics. The rightsholder confirmed 590 pairs infringed the exclusive right to the Dun Olympic logo.

In May, Xinxingwei Customs, a subsidiary of Nanjing Customs, seized 89,208 glasses marked with “Olympia” letters on the outer packaging, suspected of infringing the “OLYMPIC” trademark registered by the International Olympic Committee with the General Administration of Customs. At present, the customs has detained the batch of suspected infringing goods according to law.

9. Xiamen Customs seized a series of cases of export of infringing sanitary products.

In May 2022, Dongdu Customs, a subsidiary of Xiamen Customs, seized a container of sanitary napkins for export. The outer packaging of more than 1.5 million sanitary napkins was marked with the letter “alavays” (not a typo). After the rightsholder confirmed that the above-mentioned goods infringed its trademark rights, the customs detained the above-mentioned suspected infringing goods according to law, and filed a case for investigation and handling.

10. Gongbei Customs seized a multi-brand infringement case in cross-border e-commerce channels.

In May 2022, the Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao Bridge Customs under Gongbei Customs seized a batch of exported goods suspected of infringing upon trademark rights of several well known brands, including watches, accessories, shoes, game handles, headphones, etc., totaling 941 pieces. The case involved more than 700 parcels suspected of infringement and was the largest suspected case of infringement discovered since the cross-border e-commerce business at the Zhuhai highway port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge began. At present, the batch of commodities has been further processed as required.

11. Tianjin Customs seized the case of export infringing “Timberland and Graphics” trademark luggage case.

In February 2022, Tianjin Xingang Customs seized 7,600 semi-finished baggage for export marked with “Timberland and graphics”, with a value of 634,400 RMB. The rightsholder confirmed the above-mentioned goods infringe its trademark rights. At present, Tianjin Xingang Customs has made an administrative penalty decision to confiscate the infringing goods and impose a fine.

12. Cases concerning the protection of patent rights by Xi’an and Qingdao Customs upon application.

In March 2022, a biotechnology company in Shanghai reported that chemical products transported and exported by the China-Europe freight train (Chang’an) were suspected of infringing its patent rights. Xi’an Customs immediately launched the cross-customs area rapid response mechanism, and cooperated with Qingdao and other customs to conduct risk research and judgment on the evidence provided by the enterprise. In May, Xi’an Customs seized 5 standard containers of suspected infringing export goods, worth 2.976 million RMB. At present, Xi’an Customs has assisted the court in the evidence preservation of the goods involved.

In May 2022, Qingdao Customs subordinate Huangdao Customs seized a batch of export safety footwear according to the application, suspected of infringing the design patent rights of an import and export company in Qingdao, with a total of 8,200 pairs of goods worth more than 340,000 RMB. Customs have detained the above-mentioned allegedly infringing goods in accordance with the law.

© 2022 Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner, P.A. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 207
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About this Author

Aaron Wininger IP Attorney China Portfolio Development
Director of China Intellectual Property Law Practice Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner

Aaron Wininger is a Senior Attorney and Schwegman’s Director of China Intellectual Property. Aaron counsels both U.S. and Chinese companies on portfolio development and preparation of their patent applications and office action responses. He has worked with clients in the areas of software, networks (wired and wireless), lasers, medical devices, semiconductors and physics.

Aaron prosecutes both Chinese and U.S. trademarks. He has also drafted and prosecuted hundreds of U.S. and international patent applications in a broad spectrum of areas, including computer hardware and software,...

408-278-4059
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