The Patent Disputes Between Safe-Run and VMI Ended up with the Former Won the Cases and the Latter’s Appeal Rejected in the Second Instance

10 August 2021 | Source from China Rubber Web

Recently, the High People’s Court of Jiangsu Province (hereinafter referred to as "Jiangsu High People’s Court") concluded its second instance judgments on the disputes between Safe-Run Intelligent Equipment Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Safe-Run") and VMI Group (hereinafter referred to as "VMI") in a series of patent infringement litigations. The series of actions went through pre-trial evidence cross-examination, talks, and trial sessions. Both parties fully expressed their opinions on several major disputes in the cases: technical features interpretation of claims, comparison of infringement techniques, defense of legitimate sources, and calculation of damages. The Jiangsu High People's Court finally found in the second-instance judgments of (2019) Su Min Zhong No. 1349, (2019) Su Min Zhong No. 1350 and (2018) Su Min Zhong No. 1352 that, none of the products and technologies of Safe-Run involved in the cases fell within the scope of patent protection claimed by VMI and thus no patent infringement is constituted. The first-instance judgment of the above cases was upheld and VMI’s appeals were rejected in accordance with the law. Safe-Run won the cases!

VMI claimed that the belt drum products on the SRS-H tire building machine and the product appearance of the SRS-H tire building machine of Safe-Run have fallen within the scope ofprotection of its ZL200380107222.3 "Belt and Tread Drum" invention patent and ZL200830130199.5 "Housing for machines" design patent respectively. Consequently, VMI filed patent infringement lawsuit to the Intermediate People’s Court of Suzhou (hereinafter referred to as "Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court") regarding Safe-Run’s belt drum products, while Safe-Run in response filed patent non-infringement declaration action to the same Court regarding its belt drum products and the appearance of the SRS-H tire building machine. In the first instance of the above series of cases, the Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court supported all of Safe-Run patent non-infringement claims and ruled that Safe-Run’s belt drum products and the product appearance of its SRS-H tire building machine did not infringe the above-mentioned patents of VMI. VMI refused to accept the judgment of the first instance and appealed to the Jiangsu High People's Court. The belt drum products involved in the case of Safe-Run are non-infringing products purchased from a third party; furthermore, Safe-Run independently designed the appearance of the SRS-H tire building machine. Consequently, none of them falls within the protection scope of the afore-mentioned patents. The Jiangsu High People's Court eventually found that the belt drum products and the appearance of the SRS-H tire building machine used by Safe-Run did not contain the technical and design features of the patents in question, and did not fall within the protection scope of the patents in the cases, and thus no patent infringement is constituted.

In addition to the above cases, the invention patent ZL01806616.X "Tyre building drum provided with a turn-up device" claimed by VMI in a separate case has now expired. The building drum components involved in the case were purchased from a third party, and the number of SRS-H tire building machines using the components is very small and this certain type of SRS-Hmachine involved in the case has long been stopped from production. The building drums used on Safe-Run’s current and follow-on tire building machines are all independently developed by Safe-Run, and the current technical solutions are different from the products being sued in the case. Moreover, Safe-Run’s SRS-H tire building machines neither use the automatic bead grabbing technology, nor include any automatic bead grabbing device on the ones sold, and therefore will under no circumstances infringe VMI's relevant patents.

As a matter of fact, Safe-Run consistently respects for intellectual property rights and encourages and supports in defending rights in a lawful way. However, it will not tolerate any behaviors that exclude or restrict legitimate competition in the market under the pretext of protecting intellectual property rights. Safe-Run will also resolutely fight back such behaviors and defend its legitimate rights and interests in accordance with the law.

Under the current trend that China is comprehensively strengthening its intellectual property protection, Safe-Run, as a leading manufacturer of high-end intelligent equipment in the tire industry in China, will continue increasing its R&D investment, sticking to the intellectual property policy of independent innovation and high-end R&D, and strengthening its strategic mapping and risk management of intellectual property rights, so as to provide guarantee for the company's sustained, stable and healthy development.

Safe-Run will continue providing high-quality products and services with independent intellectual property rights to customers domestically and abroad. At the same time, Safe-Run, as an enterprise in the nation of China, has been committed to achieving the corporate vision of “becoming an industry pioneer to realize the Chinese dream of intelligent high-end manufacturing”, and continues devoting itself to China’s upgrade and advancement in smart manufacturing industry.

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