Lifang partner Mr. Deng Yao and associate Mr. Wu Rangjun successfully represented Autodesk and Adobe in a series of actions for computer copyright infringement against a Guangdong company, of which a case brought by Autodesk has recently been selected into the Guangdong Lawyer TOP 10 IPR cases in 2013.
The series cases brought by Autodesk and Adobe were tried by Guangzhou Tianhe District People’s Court. The court invited more than 30 members of the Guangzhou People’s Congress to observe the court hearing of one of cases brought by Autodesk. The hearing was also open for a full-course live webcast (http://renda.thnet.gov.cn/rdxx/201212/t20121219_577421.htm).
The Court finds the Guangzhou company to have illegally duplicated Autodesk’s and Adobe’s computer software for use in “Animation Training and Game Training” courses of its school, constituting infringement upon the copyright of Autodesk and Adobe by unauthorized commercial use of their copyrighted computer software. The Court ordered the defendant to stop infringement and compensate plaintiffs for economic losses and reasonable expenses in a total amount of RMB1, 822,492.
The series actions are the first of the kind in China as the defendant is a state-owned educational institution. The cases and the court decisions are widely covered on China’s mainstream media including Sina(http://finance.sina.com.cn/hy/20140123/143018059820.shtml) and Sohu (http://roll.sohu.com/20140122/n393943581.shtml),as well as specialized media such as China Intellectual Property News(http://www.cipnews.com.cn/showArticle.asp?Articleid=30289) and China Intellectual Property Magazine (http://www.chinaipmagazine.com/news-show.asp?id=10769) and a number of industry media.
The focal point of the case lies in that, given the defendant’s being an educational and training institute, whether its use of the software for training purposes is a fair use or a commercial use? Lifang lawyers support their argument for commercial use with convincing evidence and interpretation of law in respects of users, places, purposes and results of such use, and their argument was admitted by the court. The Court decision in this case will serve as reference and precedent for future cases.