As the world's No.1 manufacturer and exporter of air-conditioners and refrigerators, China's demand for thermal protectors, an indispensable part for compressors, has always been huge. However, before 2006, core technologies and pricing power of thermal protectors had been in the hands of overseas companies. And in that year, Changzhou Changrong Electrical Appliance Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Changrong") upset the monopoly of foreign companies over the technology with its independently developed products, which proved popular once they hit the market.
These products enraged a Japanese company vying for a continued monopoly over Chinese market. It accused Changrong of infringing its patent of invention and brought a lawsuit in the Intermediate People's Court of Hangzhou, Zhejiang. To beat down the emerging Chinese company, the Japanese company applied to the court for preservation of Changrong's property via freezing RMB12mln in its bank account. These came as a terrible blow for Changrong, who had been preoccupied with R&D of its own products. But a comparison between their brainchild with the patent of the Japanese company showed that the two used different technologies.
Mr. Pan Jianmin, an IP attorney from Dacheng Law Offices who acted for Changrong, found that the Japanese company's claim was not on solid ground and requested the court to consider the difficult economic circumstance of Changrong. His opinion was adopted and property preservation was not executed, leaving breathing room for the hard-hit Chinese company. This also prompted the disappointed Japanese company to drop the case in the Hangzhou court.
But it was in fact plotting a prolonged battle against Changrong. Shortly after the defeat in Hangzhou, the Japanese company brought the case to the Intermediate People's Court of Zibo, Shandong, still on account of patent infringement. Changrong, confident of its independent patent, stood up to the challenge from its opponent and the skepticism from the public determinedly and fearlessly. Their fight lasted nearly eight years till the High People's Court of Shandong, court of last instance, ruled in favor of Changrong. Its efforts eventually paid off.
It is reported that despite the troubling litigations during the past eight years, Changrong has managed to grow into a prominent compressor thermal protector provider with RMB130mln revenue in 2013 and a modernized factory 260,000 m2 in size. Attorney Pan Jianmin from Dacheng says that the success should be attributed to two things: one the one hand, Changrong has taken precautions over patent protection even at the early stage of R&D; on the other hand, it has shown much determination and courage countering the Japanese company.
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