Mr. Huang and Professor Chen of Tsinghua jointly represented a drawing copyright dispute
Recently, Zhihuan Law Firm received the Beijing Intellectual Property Court's (2019) J73 MC980 Civil Judgment. Lawyer Huang Jibao and Professor Chen Jianmin of Tsinghua University jointly represented the defendant Beijing Zhonghuan Engineering Project Management Co., Ltd. in the first instance of its dispute over the copyright of design drawings with MCC Jiaonai (Dalian) Engineering Technology Co., Ltd.
This case originated from the copyright of the design drawings of the coking project. The plaintiff MCC Jiaonai Co., Ltd. believed that the drawings of Xiaoyi Jinyan 6.25m stamp charging coke oven project completed by the company were highly original, while the Maosheng coking drawings completed by Zhonghuan Co., Ltd. were copies, modifications and splits of Xiaoyi drawings, which infringed the right of signature, reproduction, modification and other rights in the copyright of the design drawings, so it filed a lawsuit and took the total design fee of Xiaoyi Jinyan's Construction Engineering Design Contract as the standard, China Huan Corporation is required to compensate 50 million yuan. Zhonghuan tried its best to defend, and finally the Beijing Intellectual Property Court only supported the compensation of 500000 yuan.
The case was filed in July 2019, and the first trial verdict was issued at the end of June this year, which lasted three years. Both parties have more than 20000 right drawings. Through many adjustments, comparisons and selections, it was determined that about 1700 right drawings and sued infringement drawings were available. Finally, the court determined that the plaintiff's right to copy and modify more than 400 right drawings. Both parties have conducted evidence exchange, opinion statement and drawing comparison for many times in court hearing.
Professor Chen Jianmin and lawyer Huang Jibao represented Zhonghuan. The following defense opinions were adopted by the Beijing Intellectual Property Court and fully demonstrated in "our opinion":
1、 The protection scope of engineering design drawings is limited to "drawings" rather than technical solutions.
The protection of engineering design drawings in the Copyright Law does not extend to the project itself built according to drawings. The preciseness, accuracy, symmetry, simplicity and harmony of scientific beauty contained in engineering design drawings are the values that they can be protected by copyright as graphic works. The court rejected the plaintiff's view in this case that the right drawings are key technologies in the overall project and play an important role in the implementation of the entire project.
2、 In the judgment of "similarity", the influence of existing design on the originality of works and the commonness in engineering design should be considered.
According to the constitutive requirements of "contact+substantial similarity - reasonable source" for judging copyright infringement, if the existing design and known technology are the same or similar to the charged drawings, the right drawings do not have originality. By collecting existing designs, Zhonghuan successfully eliminated dozens of right drawings. By enumerating many textbooks, science and technology magazines and other public literatures, it is proved that stamp charging coke ovens are all of the same functional divisions, and it is a public common sense that they must reflect similar designs. Moreover, the 6.25 meter stamp charging coke oven technology was originated in Germany, not in China, and was also written into the judgment by the court of first instance.
3、 The number of infringed drawings claimed by the plaintiff only accounted for 2.46% of the right drawings, and it could not be determined that the engineering design of the whole project constituted infringement of copyright.
The overall design cost of Jinyan Project is 50 million yuan, and the plaintiff hereby claims compensation of 50 million yuan. However, in addition to the coking unit, the design scope also includes the drawings corresponding to a large number of auxiliary production facilities and administrative facilities. The final claimed number of infringed drawings only accounts for 2.46% of the rights drawings, and the number of infringed drawings accounts for a relatively limited number of rights drawings and sued infringement drawings. At the same time, the design fee also includes technology development fee, technology use fee, software development debugging fee, patent use fee and other fees unrelated to the copyright of graphic works. Of course, the 5000 yuan design fee cannot be equal to the actual loss of the drawings involved in the infringement. In addition, referring to the relevant specifications specified in the Charging Standards for Engineering Survey and Design compiled by the National Development Planning Commission and the Ministry of Construction, the workload of construction drawing design of the processing and smelting project generally accounts for 65%, and the initial design accounts for 35%. In this case, the plaintiff did not submit the initial design, so the design fee corresponding to 35% of the initial design should be excluded. The above views were accepted by the court of first instance.