Siemens Industry Software defeats squatter, awarded full damages

发布时间: 2021/1/13 9:27:00

  Siemens Industry Software, copyright owner of the computer software including NX8, NX10, NX11, NX12 (software in dispute), found that Wolfer Metal Forming (GZ) Co., ltd. designed and manufactured products with the software in dispute without permission, and sued Wolfer Metal Forming over copyright infringements and sought 2.7 million yuan in damages. Guangzhou IP Court (the first-instance court) would make a judgment later and order Wolfer to cease infringing Siemens's copyrights and to indemnify some 600,000 yuan in damages and reasonable costs. Neither party saw the case going its way and both appealed to the Supreme People's Court. Recently, the Supreme Court made a final judgment and ordered Wolfer to indemnify some 2.7 million yuan in damages and reasonable costs considering that the company resisted to assist the first-instance court in evidence preservation, fully grant Siemens' s monetary wish.

  Siemens in its complaint claimed that it is the owner of the software in dispute and its copyrights should be protected. Wolfer had designed and manufactured products with the software in dispute without permission and made some profits, infringing the company's reproduction right and right to remuneration. Accordingly, Siemens appealed to Guangzhou IP Court.

  Wolfer argued that the evidence cannot prove the company infringed Siemens's copyrights since Siemens did not submit the source codes of neither the software in dispute nor the alleged infringing software to prove their identicalness. Wolfer's molds were either designed by contractors or simply offered by clients. The alleged infringing software is only used for staffs' private education rather than mold designing.

  At the request of Siemens, the first-instance court went to Wolfer , delivered an evidence preservation order and elaborated to company management preservation measures and legal consequences of noncooperation. After checking on site, court staff preserved 17 of all 26 computers in the company's design office and found that nine computers had installed 13 sets of software in dispute. Wolfer then resisted to cooperate by refusing to turn on certain computers, switching off electrical power, detaining court's camera and preventing the court staff from leaving, causing a stoppage to preservation and nine computers remained to be preserved.

  The first-instance court held that the act of Wolfer prejudiced Siemens's copyrights and ordered Wolfer Metal Forming to cease copyright infringements and indemnify some 600,000 yuan in damages and reasonable costs, amounting to the upper limit of statutory damages.

  Both Siemens and Wolfer brought the case to the Supreme Court. Siemens was unsatisfied with the amount of compensation and claimed that the first-instance court should have determined the amount based on actual damages and the fact that Wolfer refused to cooperate in evidence preservation. Wolfer argued that it has yet to make a comparison between the source codes of the software in dispute and those of the alleged infringing software and ascertain the infringements. Meanwhile, the compensatory damages are too high.

  The Supreme Court held that Siemens is the copyright owner of the software in dispute. Wolfer installed the software in dispute without permission, which had infringed Siemens's copyrights. In the meantime, Wolfer should take the consequences in terms of its thwarting the first-instance court's work. It should be presumed that the computers remained to be preserved had installed the software in dispute. All of the facts should be taken into consideration when determining the amount of the compensation. In this connection, the Court confirmed the number of 2.7 million yuan.(by Sun Fanghua)

  (Editor Li Xingyi)

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