Beijing News Express (reporter Li Chunping) Around patent litigation, listed company Hals and the litigant aristocratic vacuum have their own words. Noble Vacuum Chen Dong told the Beijing News today that the company is about to launch international patent litigation against Hals in relevant European countries, and will increase the amount of claims according to the actual infringement situation of Hals to combat infringement to the greatest extent.
On May 24, Hals also announced in response to the Beijing News report on Monday that it involved in patent litigation, Hals said that the patent litigation case between the company and Noble Vacuum has not yet been heard due to jurisdictional objections, and the 400 million yuan vacuum small household appliance project involved will not rule out adjustments in the future due to changes in the market environment.
The 400 million yuan investment project fell into the crisis of patent litigation
On May 22, the Beijing News listed company weekly exclusively reported that the vacuum electric kettle produced by listed company Hals was suspected of infringing on the patent of Noble Vacuum, and that Noble Vacuum had sued Hals for patent infringement with the Wuhan Intermediate Court in December 2016, requesting that Hals be ordered to stop the infringement and compensate for economic losses.
In a May 24 announcement, Hals said the company and its subsidiary Hals Industries were in a lawsuit with Noble Vacuum Technology Co. Ltd. as defendants. Up to now, the company and its subsidiary Hals Industrial have filed a jurisdictional objection with the Hubei Provincial Higher People’s Court, and the case has not yet been formally heard.
Hals said that before the plaintiff sued again, the company had communicated with the plaintiff many times, hoping to cooperate and avoid disputes, but due to the large gap between the two parties, it could not reach any substantive cooperation resolution intention.
Chen Dong, secretary of the board of directors of the noble vacuum, told the Beijing News reporter today that the negotiations between the two sides had been terminated long before the lawsuit, because the noble vacuum found that Hals was negotiating while secretly applying for a patent to be invalid.
The case involved an “invention patent for a separate three-layer vacuum electric heating vessel”, which Hals said was partially invalidated by the Patent Reexamination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office in July 2016. On January 12 this year, the company entrusted a third party to submit a request for invalidation of the patent to the Patent Reexamination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office, and the application was accepted by the Patent Reexamination Board.
Chen Dong told the Beijing News reporter that the patent invalidation ruling must go through “one adjudication and two trials”, that is, the patent reexamination board first makes an administrative ruling, and it also goes through judicial litigation at the Beijing Intellectual Property Court and the Beijing Municipal High Court. At present, Noble Vacuum has filed a judicial lawsuit with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, requesting the restoration of all the claims of the above-mentioned invention patent.
The aristocratic vacuum will open international litigation
“This also means that some of the invalidation rulings made by the State Patent Reexamination Board have not yet taken effect before the judicial decision, so it will not affect the trial of the case by the Wuhan Intermediate Court.” Chen Dong said. It also said that the patent has also applied for PCT international invention patents in the United Kingdom, Germany and Russia. Noble Vacuum is about to launch international patent litigation against it in relevant European countries, and resolutely protect its intellectual property rights through legal means.
According to Hals’ 2016 annual report, foreign trade sales are 950 million, accounting for 71% of total sales, and its main export markets are European countries. According to the information provided by Noble Vacuum, since 2016, in the annual Canton Fair, vacuum electric kettles have occupied most of the positions in the Hals booth.
Regarding the possible losses caused by the lawsuit, Hals said in the announcement that if the company and its subsidiary Hals Industrial lose the lawsuit, it will compensate the plaintiff for economic losses of 500,000 yuan and the plaintiff’s reasonable expenses of 70,000 yuan for rights protection. The above lawsuit itself will not have a significant impact on the company’s production operation and profit level.
“We have never indicated that the final subject matter of the case is 570,000 yuan, which is only the current amount of our provisional claim. With the development of the litigation process, we will increase the amount of the claim according to the actual infringement situation of Hals, without capping, and combat the infringement to the greatest extent. Chen Dong told the Beijing News reporter.
The 400 million yuan investment project is not ruled out for adjustment
An investigation by a reporter from the Beijing News found that behind Hals’ lawsuit, it involved a vacuum small household appliance project that invested 414 million yuan in 2015, which will add 1.079 billion yuan in annual sales revenue and a total profit of 146 million yuan for Hals after it is completed and put into operation.
The Beijing News reporter inquired about the patent of the State Intellectual Property Office and found that the Hals vacuum life small household appliance project intends to produce vacuum electric kettle, vacuum rice cooker, vacuum electric steamer, vacuum electric cooker, vacuum stewing pot, health pot (teapot) 6 categories of products, except for a vacuum electric kettle appearance patent, facing the risk of no patent.
In response to the announcement reported by the Beijing News, Hals did not mention the patent situation of the vacuum small household appliance project, saying that considering the changes in the market environment in recent years, the company will not rule out adjusting the specific implementation progress and implementation methods of the vacuum small household appliance project according to research, analysis and decision-making in the future.
Hals also said that up to now, the construction of plant buildings and public supporting facilities that Hals Industrial has completed is universal, and such investments can be applied to the construction of other production projects related to the company’s main business, and the company has not invested in the production equipment required for the vacuum small household appliance project, there is no risk that the fixed asset investment cannot be recovered, and there is no risk of loss due to the infrastructure construction investment in the early stage of the vacuum small household appliance project.
In this regard, Chen Dong, secretary of Noble Vacuum, said that Hals voted on the project at the shareholders’ meeting on October 20, 2015, and that Noble Vacuum sent a lawyer’s letter to Hals in late November of that year, when the project construction had not yet started, and its decision-making level could be readjusted, and if no adjustment was made, the situation should also be explained to investors. Issuing a clarification announcement of possible adjustments after the incident is exposed is already suspected of letter approval violations.