On 29 December 2017, advised by King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), Baidu Online Network Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. and Beijing Baidu Netcom Science Technology Co., Ltd. (collectively “Baidu” ) achieved its first success in the first instance over a series of high-profile patent infringement litigation cases regarding input method (the “Case”) in Shanghai Intellectual Property Court. The Case, involving the determination of cutting-edge internet software patent infringement, allows the court and teams of both parties to have a number of innovative attempts on fact-finding and providing evidence.
Since November 2015, Sogou Inc. (“Sogou”) filed 17 patent actions against Baidu for its alleged patent infringement, demanding a total compensation of RMB 260 million before the Shanghai Higher People’s Court, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court and the Beijing Intellectual Property Court. Characterized by enormous damage, the Case is also well-known as the “foremost internet patent case”. Before the judgment was pronounced, the plaintiff had withdrawn 9 relevant cases in which the disputed patents were wholly or partially invalidated including those involved a total of RMB 100 billion before the Shanghai Higher People’s Court. This pronounced case was heard by the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court, lasting two years, with five hearings or court sessions, judicial authentication commissioned by the court, on-site technical examination, etc. The judgment of the first instance rejected all claims of Sogou.
The collegiate bench of the Case consisted of experienced judges and people's assessors with relevant technical background. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court ascertained the technical issues of the Case with the assistance of the expertise of technical researchers from the court and appraisers from judicial appraisal institution. During the hearing, both parties sent strong technical teams, patent agents and litigators to the hearing, utilising various input test experiments to prove their contention. After hearing the perspectives and examining the test demonstrations of both sides, the court entrusted judicial appraisal institution for judicial authentication as well as verified and ascertained technical issues by investigating the codes of software. The court eventually decided that Baidu’s input method does not fall into the scope of patent right protection of the plaintiff.
The KWM team includes lead partner Wang Maohua, partners Li Hui, Mao Jin of patent invalidation team and Mia Qu of patent litigation team.