Monday, February 17, 2020

Two More Remedies Cases from Japan

I recently mentioned a summary of an important damages case, NeoChemir Inc. v. Medion Research Labs. Inc., Case No. 2018 (Ne) 10063, Judgment of June 7, 2019 (IP High Court), that I had come across in the September 2019 issue of A.I.P.P.I.--Journal of the Japanese Group of AIPPI.  That issue includes summaries of two other remedies decisions, and translations of both judgments also can be found on the IP High Court's website.

1.  The first case is Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm, Inc., Case No. 2018 (Ne) 10048, Judgment of Feb. 19, 2019 (IP High Court), in which Apple sought a declaratory judgment that its products did not infringe Qualcomm's Patent No. 4685302 ("Method and apparatus for determining a reverse link transmission rate in a wireless communication system").  The IP High Court affirmed a judgment dismissing the claim, on the ground that Qualcomm had "made an unconditional and irrevocable covenant that it would not sue Apple for infringement of its nine patents involved in" the (subsequently settled) U.S. litigation between the parties, "including the US patent corresponding to the Patent.  As a result, the court concluded that Apple did not have an interest in seeking the declaratory judgment.  

The translation of the full judgment is available here. For further (brief) discussion of declaratory judgments in Japan, see my book at p.331. 

2.  The second case is Kawatsuru Co. v. Mori & Co., Case No. 2018 (Ne) 10053, 2018 (Ne) 10072, Judgment of Mar. 6. 2019 (IP High Court), in which the court affirms in part a judgment against the defendants for violation of the plaintiff's plant breeder's rights in a variety of shiitake mushroom.  The court construes the relevant statute as requiring the plaintiff to assert its rights against the producer of the propagating material (a Chinese company), rather than the named defendant (a Japanese company), once the plaintiff has notice of that entity's identity (as it did on June 4, 2012), and thus denied an injunction and request for destruction.  (The court also found it unnecessary to require the defendant to publish an apology.)  If I'm understanding correctly, however, the court awarded damages for lost profits from sales of mushrooms derived from mushroom beds transferred from China to Japan before June 4, 2012, based on (1) the quantity of mushrooms sold by the defendant, minus a small quantity it argued it had obtained from domestic Japanese producers, (2) multiplied by the percentage of infringing mushrooms in this quantity (82%), (3) multiplied by the plaintiff's profit margin (152 yen per kilogram), (4) multiplied by percentage of sales plaintiff had the capacity to make (30%).  The court also awarded investigation costs (1,011,960 yen) and attorneys' fees (810,000 yen), for a grant total of 8,916,375 yen.

The translation of the full judgment is available here.

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