Siemens v. Suzhou Inovance Technology Co., Ltd. and Shenzhen Inovance Technology Co., Ltd. Infringement of Invention Patent Disputes
Siemens is the patentee of the invention entitled "Driver with high output in failure mode", and the patent application date is May 21, 1999. The granted claim 1 is read as: "1. A method of operating a polyphase power supply, each of a plurality of branches of the power supply having a plurality of converter units connected in series, each said branch being connected at a node and a respective Between the lines, there is a line-to-line voltage output between pairs of the above-mentioned branches of this power supply, characterized by: detecting a faulty unit in any of the above-mentioned branches; providing a bypass around each of the above-mentioned faulty units, to form a current path in any of said branches having at least one faulty cell; and to control the cells in said branches of said power supply to maximize said line-to-line voltage output and to keep all line-to-line voltage outputs equal in magnitude ".
On June 30, 2016, the defendant Suzhou Huichuan Company published an article titled "Huichuan Overseas Bidding! Two technologies of reactor-free, disturbance-free switching and mechanical asymmetric unit bypass have made great achievements”. The main content of the article is as follows: "Recently, Inovance Technology won the bid for the Cambodia Hongjun Power Reconstruction Project and received a full order for high-voltage inverters. Why did Inovance stand out in the bidding of big brands? We have to mention the application of two key technologies, reactor-free switchover and mechanical asymmetric unit bypass.... Inovance HD9X series high-voltage inverter without disturbance switching technology has been updated for 3 generations.... Another key technology - mechanical asymmetric bypass is to separate the faulty unit from the main circuit when a unit of the high-voltage inverter fails to ensure the normal frequency conversion system operation and improve system reliability. Inovance mechanical non-bypass contactor coil adopts distributed power supply, the contact and coil of the contactor are basically in a low voltage potential difference, and there is no need for high voltage insulation between the two to ensure safety; each contactor control and detection part is completed by each power unit, and the original optical fiber of the power unit is used to communicate with the main control system to improve reliability and reduce costs. The advantage of asymmetric bypass technology is that the output voltage is higher than that of symmetrical bypass out 8%-27%". On October 26, 2017, Suzhou Inovance also released the publicity material of "Inovance Technology-HD9X Series High Voltage Inverter" with the material number L6210030 and the version number V6.0 on its official website. The HD9X series high voltage inverter introduced in the material inverter includes three models: HD90(S), HD92(S) and HD93(S). Suzhou Inovance Company published an article titled "Application of Inovance Technology HD72 Inverter Special Power Supply in Shore Power Industry" in the 10th issue of "Inverter World" magazine in 2017, and disclosed the working principle diagram of the HD72 inverter. According to the information released by Suzhou Huichuan Company on its official website, its HD9X series high-voltage inverters (including HD90, HD92, HD93) are used in the blast furnace blower and sintering main exhaust fan of a steel enterprise in Handan City, Hebei Province, Shanxi Orchid Coal Industry Group Co., Ltd. (Jushan Coal Mine) mine hoist, a sintering plant of an iron and steel group in Wu'an City, Hebei Province, a 660mw generator set condensate pump of a state investment power plant in Anhui, a 2×350mw unit of Datang Qitaihe Power Generation Co., Ltd., a Hebei The slag micropulverizing circulating fan of the building materials company and the shore power project of the Ningbo Port Group's Far East Wharf have been used in practice.
On July 13, 2018, Siemens sent a letter to Shenzhen Inovance, stating that the company's HD9X series and HD71 products implemented the patented technology involved in the case and fell into the protection scope of the patent right in the case. Therefore, Shenzhen Inovance was required to stop the infringement and negotiated specific compensation with Siemens AG. On July 31 and October 25, 2018, Shenzhen Inovance wrote back to Siemens twice, saying that the company did not infringe on patent rights. Afterwards, Siemens sent a letter to Shenzhen Inovance again, requesting it to conduct a detailed analysis and explanation on whether its related products use the patented technology involved in the case, but it was unsuccessful. Siemens then filed the lawsuit in the court of first instance on March 29, 2019.
The court of first instance held that the patent claims claimed by Siemens were two technical solutions involving the method of operating a polyphase power supply, and the current law does not clearly stipulate that the infringement determination must be made on the basis of the physical object of the accused infringing product. Even if there is a lack of physical product, as long as the existing evidence materials can objectively and truly reflect the specific method actually implemented by the accused infringing product, it can be used as the accused technical solution for the determination of infringement. Suzhou Huichuan Company has published relevant technical information and technical introduction articles about HD9X series and HD71, HD72 high-voltage inverters on its official website and public media, which should be regarded as an objective description of the technical content adopted by the above-mentioned related products themselves. It should be presumed that it truly reflects the specific technical solution of the relevant product. The patent claims claimed by Siemens in this case involve two technical solutions for the method of operating a polyphase power supply. According to the investigation, when the power unit of the branch circuit of the accused infringing product fails, the equipment will pass the technology of implementing the patented method. The method comprehensively covers the corresponding technical features of the patent claims involved, that is, the essential content of the patented method is completely solidified in the alleged infringing device, and when the power unit fails, the alleged infringing device can reproduce the alleged infringing device naturally and process of the patented method. Therefore, the act of manufacturing the alleged infringing device is an act of implementing the patented method involved, which infringes the rights of the patentee involved. The court of first instance made the judgment: 1)Suzhou Huichuan Company should compensate Siemens for economic losses of 6 million yuan(USD 860,400); 2)Suzhou Huichuan Company should bear Siemens' reasonable expenses of 200,000 yuan(USD 28,680) for this case;3) Reject Siemens' other claims.
The court of second instance held that in a patent infringement lawsuit, the plaintiff who brought the lawsuit bears the burden of proof to prove that the alleged infringing technical solution falls within the scope of protection of the patent right claimed, because the alleged infringing object can most directly and completely reflect the technology implemented by it. Therefore, in the judicial practice of infringement determination, the plaintiff generally provides the accused infringing product as the basis for comparison of infringement to determine whether the accused infringing technical solution falls within the protection scope of the patent right. However, it should be clear that the inspection of the alleged infringing products, equipment and other physical objects is only one of the effective means to find out the technical solutions implemented and compare the infringement. Even in the absence of physical verification, as long as there are evidential materials that can objectively and truly reflect the technical solution actually implemented by the accused infringing product, it can be used as the accused infringing technical solution and used to determine whether or not the infringing product is infringed. The second instance dismissed the appeal and upheld the original judgment.
This case makes it clear that in the judicial practice of patent infringement judgment, the inspection of the alleged infringing products, equipment and other physical objects is only one of the effective means to find out the technical solutions implemented and compare the infringement; even in the absence of physical verification, under such circumstance, as long as the existing evidence materials can objectively and truly reflect the technical solution actually implemented by the accused infringing product, it can be used as the accused infringing technical solution and used to determine whether the infringing exists or not.