Tire intellectual property rights began to confront each other, how to break the barrier?

- Jun 28, 2019-

With the rapid development of China's rubber tire industry, the increase in the number of intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, etc., the improvement of corporate rights awareness, and the increasingly close intellectual property "net" with internationally renowned companies have produced positive Collisions, confrontations, infringements and disputes are on the rise. How do domestic tire companies break the barriers to intellectual property?

According to Sun Lifang, the review and invalidation department of the State Intellectual Property Office, in China, the current application for patents in the tire field is in its infancy, with the number of applications from only 300 in 2005 to more than 3,000 in 2018.

Foreign companies still fully demonstrate the layout strategy of “products are not moving, patents are first”. Sun Lifang's researcher found that the rapid growth of the tire industry is mainly due to the increase in the number of applications from internationally renowned tire companies. This aspect of growth indicates that the prospects of China's tire industry are consistently optimistic by international companies, but on the other hand, it also reflects the international tire companies in China. The “net” of the woven patents is getting denser and denser, and the development of the domestic tire industry is more difficult and the competition is more intense. The most well-known case is the patent invalidation and lawsuit of Saatchi and VMI Holland.

According to a set of data provided by Mr. Rui Ruixue, a partner of Covington & Burling Law Firm, there were 59 cases filed in the US 337 in 2017, the highest in the past five years. Among them, 337 investigations involving Chinese companies reached 22, accounting for about one-third of the annual cases, and the absolute number reached a record high.

The 337 investigation is one of the important means by which the United States blocks or restricts the entry of foreign companies or their products into the US market. The 337 investigation has also been targeted at the Chinese rubber industry. The most well-known cases are the rubber anti-aging agent case of the American Flexex Company and the St. O. in 2005, and the rubber resin case of the Chinese Huaqi Chemical in 2012 by St. Lecot.

Feng Yaoling, a senior tire expert of the China Rubber Industry Association tire expert group, compared the differences in tire standards between China and Europe, the United States and other countries and regions. He said that it is because of the slight difference in the tire sidewall marking, etc., but because there is no standard discourse right, it has caused trouble for the manufacturing and product export of China's tire companies, and also caused many inconveniences to consumers.

Responding to “high cost”, long time-consuming, and cumbersome submission of evidence materials are prominent features of overseas intellectual property disputes. What is gratifying is that these intellectual property cases of Chinese enterprises have won and gained due rights. Shandong Shengao won the 337 lawsuit in the United States, which cost $20 million over three years. Fortunately, these enterprises took the opportunity of this intellectual property dispute as an opportunity to actively respond to the challenge, and more recognized the importance of attaching importance to independent research and development and intellectual property protection. The intellectual property development strategy has placed an important position in the enterprise.

Sun Lifang said that rubber tire companies should learn to use the intellectual property system efficiently and accurately, especially the "review" and "invalid procedures". They do not easily give up protecting any valuable innovations, seriously evade the rights of others, and make rational use of invalid procedures. Solve the problem of patent containment.

In the years of his career, Mr. Rui Ruixue concluded that companies should be brave enough to pick up their own patent reserves and reasonably legally compete with overseas competitors. But lawyers can only help companies to go well and go through legal procedures. More importantly, they must rely on their own R&D and technological innovation. Only in this way can they have the right to speak intellectual property.

Feng Yaoling experts hope that China's top 10 tire companies, three or five, or even seven or eight companies can unite, pool limited funds, limited technical resources, joint technical research, for more cutting-edge research and development. Only by conducting in-depth basic research and development can we have advanced technology and advanced standards in order to have the right to speak on international tire standards in order to become a tire powerhouse and not subject to anti-dumping and countervailing charges.