UK: Clyde & Co Westlink Wins IP dispute for REMT
Last Updated: 11 September 2017

Clyde & Co Westlink JLV, has successfully represented Rittal Electro-Mechanical Technology Co., Ltd. (REMT), a Chinese subsidiary of Friedhelm Loh Group on its intellectual property (IP) civil litigation with SIP Mechanical Technology Co., Ltd (Taicang).

Clyde & Co China's IP team, led by partner Elliot Papageorgiou, developed the litigation strategy and successfully preserved the patents in disputes. Our client's claim was against its former managing director and employees. The managing director left REMT in 2014 and took a team of (then) employees of REMT with him, including some technicians, to his new business SIP, which was then set up in competition with our client. Our client found that SIP applied for six CN patents which were found to be comprised of technological skills identical or highly similar to the technology belonging to REMT. In order to protect the client's IP, the Clyde & Co China IP team reviewed and filtered tens of thousands of internal technical documents, drawings and emails to secure essential evidence for this case.

After several hearings before the Suzhou Intermediate Court and more than one year of proceedings, the court issued a favourable first instance judgement in favour of our client, confirming the six patents belong to REMT and requiring the defendants to relinquish them.

Elliot Papageorgiou says: "A key factor in our success in such a ground-breaking case, which had only modest expectations of success, was having appropriate advocacy resources via the German Embassy in Beijing, along with a superb local team."

Clyde & Co Westlink local partner Zhengquan Gu says: "While it is common for an ex-employee to take technology or even a trade secret from their former employer, few companies will bring patent ownership dispute cases to the courts in order to claw back the patents. Cases such as these render a very heavy burden of proof to the plaintiff, which significantly raise the difficulty of these cases. It a significant success to obtain a favourable judgement from the court, not least when involving six patents in one go, which is rare in practice. This outcome is an example of the courts protecting IP of an innovative company in China."

Note: Clyde & Co Westlink JLV is a Joint Law Venture (JLV) with Chongqing law firm Westlink Partnership. The JLV, which is licenced by the PRC Ministry of Justice/Chongqing Bureau of Justice, offers local law and international services and will operate as Clyde & Co Westlink JLV.

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