The China Law News keeps you on top of business, economic and political events in the China.
Blawg | Newsletter Archiv

In the News
New PPH between German and Chinese Patent Offices

Back on October 10, 2011, the patent offices of China and Germany agreed to create a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program between them. This PPH program, which came into effect on January 23, 2012, is a bilateral work-sharing initiative whereby an applicant in one country can request expedited examination in the other country based on a corresponding application having at least one allowed claim.

As patent offices worldwide struggle with an increasing backlog of cases, PPH programs help reduce some of that overflow by significantly reducing examination time. Participants also benefit by obtaining final decisions on their applications much sooner than by proceeding through normal examination channels.

Web link:

Masdar seeking to invest in China

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Masdar Capital, the investment vehicle of the Abu Dhabi state-owned renewable energy company Masdar, is looking for investment opportunities in fuel cells and water treatment in China, senior executives said.

The private-equity company, which manages assets worth $520 million through its Masdar Clean Tech Fund and DB Masdar Clean Tech Fund, is in talks about a possible investment with a Chinese fuel-cell maker and a water-treatment company, according to Alex O'Cinneide, general manager of Masdar Capital.

Fuel cells are devices that use chemical reactions to generate electricity.

The private company, which works mainly on clean-technology projects, invested $15 million into a Chinese wind-farm developer - UPC Renewables China Ltd - in late 2010. That was the first investment made by the $298 million DB Masdar fund, which was established in January 2010.

In a financing round completed in January, UPC Renewables, which has a wind-power capacity of 10 gigawatts (gW) in its 34 projects throughout China, attracted $60 million in investment from Global Environment Fund, CIAM Group Ltd, Macquarie Bank and other private-equity companies, as well as Masdar Capital.

The capital from Masdar is being used to build new wind farms, O'Cinneide said. He said the company generally takes up to six years before it leaves a project.

So in the case of UPC Renewables, "we're in no hurry to exit", O'Cinneide said, adding that global conditions are now favorable for initial public offerings, which provide exit opportunities.

Masdar Capital's successful exits in 2010, both through trade sales and IPOs, have produced good results. The company exited from its investments in the Germany-based Sic Processing, which was sold to Nordic Capital Fund IIV, a private-equity fund that concentrates on investments in the Nordic region.

The Chinese market for clean technology is set to grow as the country tries to reduce its carbon intensity - or the amount of carbon it emits for each unit of GDP - by 17 percent in the five years leading up to 2015.

In a keynote speech delivered at the Fifth World Future Energy Summit Opening Ceremony in January, Premier Wen Jiabao said China is dedicated to burning less coal and using more natural gas and renewable sources of energy.

The proportion of non-fossil fuels that China uses among all of its primary energy is set to grow to 11.4 percent in 2015 from 8.3 percent in 2010.

China is set to spend $473.1 billion on clean energy in the next five years and plans to add 370 gW of renewable energy generation capacity by the end of 2020, according to Masdar.

In addition, Masdar Capital is also considering bringing the products and services of its portfolio companies in North America and Western Europe to China by working with local partners, O'Cinneide said.

Web link:

Apple faces trademark suit

Shenzhen company takes on tech giant over use of iPad brand name

SHENZHEN - A Shenzhen-based enterprise has accused technology giant Apple of infringing on its iPad trademark - a trademark over which both companies claim ownership.

The Pudong district court in Shanghai will hear the case on Feb 22, a lawyer for the Chinese company told China Daily on Monday.

A fine of 240 million yuan ($38 million) against Apple over the infringement is also pending from the market administrative authority in Beijing.

"We are asking the court to order Apple to stop selling and marketing the iPad in China. We also demand an apology," said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing the Chinese company.

The company, Proview Technology Shenzhen, also took two authorized Apple resellers for iPad - Gome Electrical Appliances and the Sundan Electronic Store - to courts in Guangdong province over similar infringements.

No financial compensation has been demanded by Proview Shenzhen at this stage of the trials.

Verdicts are pending.

Proview Shenzhen registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001, nine years before Apple launched its iPad products in 2010, Xie said.

Proview Taiwan, a company associated with, but not legally representing, the Shenzhen company, sold the Chinese trademark - along with others for use in other countries - to the UK-based IP Application Development Limited for 35,000 British pounds ($55,000) in 2009, according to a report by Nanfang Daily.

The UK company then resold the brand to Apple for 10 pounds before Apple's launch of iPad in 2010, the report said.

Apple applied to transfer the trademark from Proview Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland in 2010, but the application was turned down by China's trademark administrative authorities, the report said.

Apple then sued Proview Shenzhen in 2011 to gain legal entitlement as exclusive user of the iPad name - but lost the lawsuit in a Guangdong court.

The higher court in Guangdong province accepted Apple's appeal.

The general office of the Xicheng district branch of Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce told China Daily it is "investigating the cases", but refused to verify or comment on the bill on Monday.

An insider who refused to be named told China Daily that law enforcement officials from other branches of the Beijing administration had listened to Xicheng's report on the case.

"But many of us hold different opinions on whether it is Apple breaching Proview Shenzhen's rights or Proview Shenzhen dishonestly demanding compensation. We didn't reach consensus on the fine as well."

The public relations office of Apple China did not respond to China Daily's interview request by press time on Monday.

Liu Yinliang, an associate law professor at Peking University, said if the trademark management authority had not approved such an intellectual property transfer, then the trademark deal had not yet become valid in China.

Web link:

China limits overseas TV series imports

BEIJING - Foreign TV series imported into China must last for less than 50 episodes and may not be shown between 7 and 10 pm, China's TV watchdog said Monday.

The broadcasting time for an imported TV series on a given channel may not surpass one-third of the total amount of time that channel dedicates to broadcasting TV series, according to a circular released by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).

In order to enhance the quality of imported TV shows and expand sources for high-definition (HD) TV programs, the HD versions of overseas TV series will receive priority consideration during imports, the circular said.

TV channels may not air unauthorized overseas series in disguised forms, such as through introductions on domestic programs, the circular said.

Programs that are specifically designed to introduce foreign TV series may not show more than 3 minutes of a given series, the circular said.

SARFT will make efforts to avoid situations in which domestic channels lean too heavily on programming from one particular country or region, the circular said.

It also urged all provincial TV administrators to intensify supervision over all TV channels under their jurisdiction and to increase penalties for content providers who violate regulations.

Village embraces democracy with procedure details

GUANGZHOU - Yang Semao put on a navy-blue suit on early Saturday morning, a rare dressing habit for the fishermen in the village of Wukan in south China's Guangdong Province.

"Election is something solemn and I must dress formally," Yang said before he went to the village school where an election would be held.

Yang is the director of the election committee, who hosts the voting that involves more than 6,000 villagers in Wukan, which is put under global spotlight for last year's massive protests against village authorities over illegal land use and other issues.

Saturday's voting, the second round after villagers elected an 11-member election committee on February 1, is supposed to result in a team of 107 village representatives and seven group leaders.

Finally, 109 village representatives are elected as two groups each has two candidates with equal number of votes.

But the voting fails to elect seven group leaders as all the candidates fail to secure half of each group's votes as required. Another election will be held later to fill the vacancy.

Yang says the votes surpass 80 percent of the total 7,923 villagers who are entitled to vote and the election results are therefore valid.

"The voting process was smooth and orderly," says Lin Zulian, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Wukan village branch. "The villagers took an active part in the voting, and they are more familiar with the procedures compared with the previous round of voting for election committee members on February 1."

Villagers are attentive to procedure details as they are experimenting with the democratic election, which they gain through their endeavors.

In September last year, Wukan villagers began to protest against village leaders over issues related to land use, financing and the election of village officials.

The villagers walked onto streets in large scale later that year to protest authorities for about a week.

Guangdong provincial government finally conceded that the villagers' major demands were reasonable and "some mistakes" had been made by local officials.

The government also announced that last February's election of the former village leaders was invalid and new elections were to be organized.

Yang says Saturday's election, based on the first round early this month, is better organized and more transparent and fairer as many procedure details have been observed such as in ballot hand-out and statistics and order maintaining.

While Yang is announcing the ballot casting is ending late Saturday, late-coming villager Zou Junqiang, 47, is trying to insert his last ballot into the box.

Zou is stopped by a voting monitor, who has to decide with four other monitors if the last ballot is valid. After a brief voting among the five, the ballot is announced valid with three pros.

"We are all in favor of democracy," Yang says. "We try to do the best in every aspects of the election and let every details be fully discussed and implemented."

Wukan villagers are more concerned about the procedure of democracy, through which they hope their interests will be better safeguarded.

And their pursuit on rightful procedure is encouraged by a speech delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao during his inspection in Guangdong a week ago.

On a visit to the village of Shuili in Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong, Wen highlighted the need to ensure farmers' voting rights and the direct election of village-level leadership.

Wen said self-governess is the only appropriate way for improving rural community administration, and local affairs should be decided by local villagers.

There should be a strict legal system and regulations for the election, as well as election procedures that are open, fair and transparent, he said.

Wen's speech is posted in the Wukan village during the election, and some parts of the speech are underscored.

Villager Zhang Jianxing says he is not very familiar with all the procedures, but he agrees with what the premier says.

"Under the premise of Wukan's reality and conditions, we improved the voting procedure to make the election rightful, impartial and open," Zhang writes in his blog.

However, it is not always easy to maintain fairness and rightfulness in the election and win support and understanding of all villagers, party secretary Lin says.

A villager who tries to cast ballots for his wife and children is stopped in Saturday's voting.

According to the election committee, a villager is not allowed to cast ballots for others unless he or she gets their written letters of authorization.

"They are my wife, son and daughter. Why cann't I vote for them since you know all of us?" the disgruntled villager questions.

Yang comes up to explain and stands on the side of the election workers. "Rules are rules. They shouldn't be broken," Yang says.

Some election observers say Wukan's pursuit on democratic election as well as the rightful procedure is of great significance in China's rural community construction.

Wukan's situation is typical in China as some local governments are prone to infringing on villagers' interests by selling their farmland to developers at low prices, which will lead to conflict between villagers and officials, said Guo Weiqing, a politics and public affairs professor at the Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-Sen University.

"It is necessary to draw lessons from the Wukan experience for other local governments in China," Guo said. "Chinese villagers are completely capable of promoting and maintaining democracy and self-governance at village levels."

For Wukan villagers, their major concern remains the land issue.

"I hope the deputies who eventually stand out will all be capable people of integrity," says Huang Deping, a villager in his 50s. "Election is not the ultimate end. I hope they will safeguard our rights and interests and help us manage our land well."

Lehman, Lee & Xu is a top-tier Chinese law firm specializing in corporate, commercial and intellectual property matters. For further information on any issue discussed in this edition of China Law Digest , or for all other enquiries, please e-mail us at or visit our website at

© Lehman, Lee & Xu 2012.
You may share this document with your friends or colleagues, either by forwarding this message to them (provided that the contents of this message, including all notices, are preserved in their entirety), or by directing them to the online edition at here. You may use short excerpts from this document in your own work (provided that each such excerpt shall not exceed three sentences in length; no more than twenty percent of this document, by word length, may be excerpted; no more than twenty percent of your work, by word length, may consist of such excerpts; each such excerpt shall be attributed to Lehman, Lee & Xu, with such attribution to include the Internet address of this document’s online edition; and your work shall not disparage Lehman, Lee & Xu). All other rights reserved.
This document has been created for educational purposes for clients, potential clients and referrers of legal services to Lehman, Lee & Xu, and to alert readers to the services provided by Lehman, Lee & Xu. It is not intended to serve as definitive legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. Lehman, Lee & Xu does not endorse any personal opinions which may be contained herein.
We hope that you enjoy The China Law Digest . However if you no longer wish to receive it, please click here to unsubscribe.