China adopts a bifurcated system for patent infringement cases, i.e., infringement and patent validity are handled separately by different authorities. By now, there has not been a change but in a recent case, the SPC provided a new way of handling cases where the validity of the patent involved is questionable.
The patentee, Zudian filed a patent infringement lawsuit with Shenzhen Intermediate Court (first instance), claiming that the defendants Simsukian and Youdian had infringed its utility model patent. All three parties are Shenzhen based companies. The defendant raised a patent invalidity defense on the grounds that another patent in the patent family was already invalid and the patent involved is invalid as their claimed technical solutions are very similar.
The Shenzhen court held that the patent involved in the case was obviously or most likely to be invalid, and supported the defendant's patent invalidity defense, and rejected the plaintiff's claim. The plaintiff appealed to the SPC. IP March