China: 一波未平一波又起,三星再陷触摸屏专利侵权纠纷(专利侵权案件)

Last Updated: 1 May 2018
Article by HFG Law Firm

2018 年 3 月 8 日,美国意美森公司(Immersion Corporation,触控反馈技术开发商)在中国福州中院起诉三星集团(智能手机生产商)侵犯其三项专利权。意美森公司表示,被告三星集团在包括 Galaxy S8手机的多款触摸屏产品中,使用了意美森公司触觉技术(haptics technology),侵犯了其在先的专利权。于同一天,原告意美森公司还在美国德州东区联邦地区法院马歇尔分院,对被告三星集团提起同样的相关同族专利的侵权诉讼。在中国和美国的诉讼中,原告意美森公司均请求法院责令被告三星集团支付赔偿金、律师费和其他费用,同时请求法院暂时(诉讼前做出的禁令)、初步(在诉讼后、判决前作出的禁令)并永久禁止(法院判决时做出的禁令)三星继续生产和销售侵权产品。

e原被告介绍:

对于智能移动设备等国际大型企业而言,原告意 美森公司并不陌生。原告意美森公司于 1993 年创办 于美国,是全球领先的触觉反馈技术开发商和授权商。据原告意美森公司相关负责人介绍,全球至少有 8 亿< 台智能移动设备采用了其核心触觉技术,超过 65% 的智能手机用户每一天都会使用和接触触觉反馈。微< 软、索尼、苹果、华为、联想、小米等终端设备商与 原告意美森均有合作。

同时,原告意美森公司还充分发挥其专利运营策略,强力维护其专利权的保护。多年来,原告意美森公司向多家国际大型企业,比如微软、索尼和谷歌、苹果等企业发起多起专利侵权诉讼,与部分企业达成涉及触觉技术的专利授权许可。

实际上,被告三星集团也是原告意美森公司多年来进行触觉技术许可的企业,在其各类产品 Galaxy S3 智能手机和 Galaxy Note 等产品中,均被原告授权使用了原告意美森公司的触觉技术。原告意美森在起诉时声称,被告三星集团在 2015 年拒绝更新软件和专利许可证,并在以后的产品中仍然继续使用了该 技术。

涉案专利技术:

涉案的触觉技术,是指用户触摸到移动设备的屏 幕时,手指能够感受到真实的触觉或震动效果。比如 原告意美森公司所采用的与电机结合动作的"致动器" (actuators),当用户在屏幕上点击,特别是在手游中点击屏幕时,该"致动器"反馈给用户震动的"手感", 会使游戏效果更为逼真,大大增加用户的体验。涉案专利分别保护的内容是,CN02821854.X 要求保护输入设备以及包含该输入设备的移动电话,CN201210005785.2 要求保护用于提供触感的方法和系统,CN201310253562.2 要求保护用于提供触感的方法和装置。其中,后两个专利均是第一个专利的分案申请,三件专利的优先权日均是 2001 年 11 月 1 日。并且,上述三件专利,都是关于设备如何产生振动方式的改进,这是手机厂商们目前使用的主流振动功能。可见,由于在 2001 年以前,触屏手机还没有全面流行起来,原告意美森公司在之前已经进行了相关技术的专利布局,所以能够在当今触屏手机、平板的产品上占领主导地位。

案件影响力:

该诉讼是原告意美森公司近期对被告三星集团 提起的第二起诉讼,之前于 2017 年 8 月,它在同一德克萨斯州地区法院对三星提起诉讼,也声称三星的智能手机侵犯了与触觉技术相关的五项专利。

在上述诉讼中,被告三星集团是否侵犯了原告意美森公司的专利权,或者双方是否会进行和解,从而达到专利授权许可的结果,仍要拭目以待。

在上述诉讼中,被告三星集团是否侵犯了原告意美森公司的专利权,仍要拭目以待。根据被告三星集团多年被授权使用涉案的触觉技术专利的情况,并且该技术为目前各大国际手机厂商所采用的主流技术,双方应该还会进行谈判,很可能通过和解,再次达到 专利授权许可的结果。

HFG 视角—— 前专利审查员评论】

在中国,有关智能手机等相关设备,一直是近几年的专利诉讼热点。原告意美森公司的前瞻性研发成果,使得其技术成为当今流行的智能设备企业无法轻易规避的关键技术。再加之其擅长的专利营销策略,原告意美森公司从专利授权许可中收益颇丰。

上述纠纷中的三个专利都为手机的触摸屏上提供了震动触感的技术, 分别有不同的控制方式。CN02821854.X 保护的方案主要是根据感测到的触摸屏上多种级别的压力,输出多种震动反馈的触感;CN201210005785.2 保护的方案主要是根据触摸屏上接触面积的大小,输出不同的震动触觉效应;CN201310253562.2 保护的方案主要是基于触摸屏上接触面积的大小确定压力,从而不同的触感。对于用户而言,除了酷炫的外观和超轻超薄的机体,触感带给手指操作时的逼真体验,是吸引用户的重点。而上述专利所保护的三种触感方式,也是目前的主流控制方式。因此,在先进的技术领域,提前予以布局,并且不断地完善专利技术,同时予以重点保护,是目前一些高科技公司的经营策略,也是这些公司的主要利润来源。

所以,根据目前中国的专利申请以及专利保护现状,建议企业应当分析和把握行业发展方向,加强知识产权的创新投入。若被告三星集团在支付巨额授权许可费的这些年,能够潜心研发出其他实现触感效果的方式,还有可能扭转局面,否则,则可能会面临败诉或继续支付授权许可费的情形

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