Chinese Firms Increasingly Winning In Patent Cases

For quite some time, China has been thought of as the place to look for copycat and counterfeit merchandise. Fake tech became so ubiquitous that the name of the district where most of it is manufactured and sold, Shenzen, became synonymous with counterfeit products. Naturally, the firms whose products got copied would normally file a lawsuit to protect their intellectual property rights when it came to things like design and function, and they mostly always won, resulting in huge payouts, sales injunctions or both. Chinese authorities have never been happy with this, of course. Recently, things have swung the other way; Chinese firms are increasingly bringing patent suits overseas, while having them dropped when brought against them.

While some may say that this trend is largely due to more protections from a tougher government to aid the local economy, the fact remains that Chinese firms both in and out of the tech world have been getting much more creative lately. Things that could attract cries of "knockoff" have enough distinctions to warrant being called their own product, and thus not attract the ire of copyright attorneys. The creator of a leather bag being allowed to use the iPhone name, albeit printed as iPhone, is proof of that, as is the fact that phone makers like Goophone who specialize in copies are getting less attention these days, both from consumers and from lawyers. Even the most blatant ripoffs, like the Big Cola 3, made by the now-defunct Dakele, simply don't pose a big enough threat to warrant the kind of legal fees and proceedings to pursue an overseas case.

This does not mean that cross-oceans courtroom wars aren't still being waged, of course, only that fights are breaking out less often and are more and more often falling in China's favor. The flow of lawsuits does, of course, go both ways, with Huawei recently bringing suit against a number of manufacturers and carriers for aping their copyrighted network technology, and chipmaker Qualcomm going after Chinese OEM Meizu, saying that the phone maker is using much of Qualcomm's smartphone-related technology without permission or payment. All of these active cases are in full swing and could go either way, nicely demonstrating the new climate of lawsuits when it comes to Chinese goods and manufacturers.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]
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