The Supreme People's Court of China Overrules SI Group's Retrial Request


The Supreme People's Court of China Overrules SI Group's Retrial Request
Sino Legend found innocent of infringement
ZHANGJIAGANG, China, March 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -Rubber and tire resin manufacturer Sino Legend (China) Chemical Company Ltd. ("Sino Legend") achieved a notable victory once again in the series of lawsuits against SI Group and SI Group Shanghai Ltd. ("SI Group"). Sino Legend recently received a civil ruling from the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China ("the Supreme Court"), which overruled SI Group's request to retry the cases involving the dispute of trade secrets and patent rights ownership with Sino Legend, based on Article 204, Part 1 of the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China. This means the longstanding dispute SI Group sued Sino Legend which led to the criminal and civil intellectual property lawsuits in China has come to an end. The litigation in China ended in favor of Sino Legend, with a verdict stating Sino Legend did not infringe on SI Group's rights and SI Group's allegations were unfounded.
The controversial dispute between Sino Legend and SI Group started a long time ago. SI Group is a tire resin manufacturer, and Sino Legend became one of Asia's biggest rubber and tire resin manufacturers since putting its factories into full production less than six years ago and becoming SI Group's most powerful rival. The rivalry gave rise to the series of lawsuits between the two firms.
Since the end of 2008, both parties have sued the other in matters concerning intellectual property.
SI Group first filed a complaint with the Economic Crime Investigation Unit of the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau on November 26, 2008, alleging that Sino Legend has stolen its trade secrets. After the Public Security Bureau investigated and dismissed the request to open a case for lack of evidence that Sino Legend had engaged in any criminal activities, SI Group initiated civil proceedings on the basis of trade secrets violation and a dispute over patent rights ownership at Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court in February 2010. The Court ruled on June 17, 2013, that Sino Legend's products and production technologies were the results of its independent research, and all of SI Group's litigation requests had no factual or legal basis, therefore the Court would not support them. After SI Group appealed to Shanghai Higher People's Court, the Higher Court overruled the appeal and upheld the original verdict as the final judgment on the grounds of the case's lack of factual or legal basis. In the following year, SI filed a retrial request to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court's verdict reads: "the Supreme Court has to point out that civil actions shall follow the principle of good faith. As litigants who have become quite capable in filing lawsuits and retaining professional lawyers to argue the cases, SI America and SI Shanghai have ignored China's laws that are well defined, failed to exercise the rights and fulfill the duties in terms of the litigation during the first trial of the case, and repeatedly raised procedural objections that lacked factual and legal basis during the Court's appeal and the Supreme Court's re-trial. These actions go against the principle of good faith. The Supreme Court does not support the claims and reprimands these actions." In a rarely seen harsh tone, the verdict rebuked SI's behavior which ran counter to the principle of good faith.
Sino Legend's general manager Corey Xie said, "Integrity is a principle that is fundamental to the survival of a company. It is the foundation on which a company relies in order to succeed in business. The verdict from the Supreme Court protected our lawful rights and reprimanded SI Group's actions, and demonstrated the Supreme Court's condemnation of the deceit of using legal procedures to maliciously crush one's rivals, while restoring the space for fair competition and healthy development of the market." Sino Legend's spokesman for its legal affairs said, "The Supreme Court's verdict proved Sino Legend's capability in technological advancement from a legal perspective and protected Sino Legend's reputation in the face of an unlawful attack. Sino Legend shall continue to rely on legal means to protect its intellectual property and other rights, and seek help in terms of legal procedures when needed to counter attempts at commercial defamation and resist any violations of its trade secrets. We believe that besides Zhangjiagang City People's Court's verdict confirming SI Group's commercially defamatory activities, Sino Legend expects to receive a favorable verdict from Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate Court in the suit against SI Group concerning the dispute involving the infringement of technical secrets."
AllBright Law Offices' lawyer Chen Bo pointed out, "As commercial competition becomes increasingly intense, it is not uncommon for companies to use legal means to advance their competitive interests. Companies that have rights to independent intellectual property must keep the original d0cumentation that conferred those rights on file, and set up a series of procedures to protect those rights. If judicial procedures become necessary, the company shall immediately seek advice from professional lawyers to prevent rivals from using the loopholes that may exist in the judicial process. Companies should be careful in the selection of an attorney to represent them so as to avoid their lawful rights being violated."
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