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October 17, 2012

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Bright bottles provoke patent row

BRIGHT Dairy Co yesterday admitted that a complimentary bottle in its promotional campaign looked "the same" as a patented bottle designed by South Korea-based Lock&Lock but refused to pay compensation.

At a hearing at the Shanghai Intermediate People's Court yesterday, the local dairy producer claimed the bottles involved in the alleged infringement were a complimentary gift and Bright Dairy had not made any profits from them.

The Shanghai Lock&Lock Trade Co, commissioned by its parent company, filed an infringement lawsuit against Bright Dairy and the bottle supplier, Shanghai Jinyu Culture and Communication Co, after it discovered look-alike bottles being sold at a supermarket on Caobao Road in June.

Lock&Lock said the complimentary bottles infringed the right of an exterior design patent it had acquired from China's State Intellectual Property Office on August 18, 2010, which is still valid.

Lock&Lock demanded 300,000 yuan (US$47,864.066) in compensation and a public apology during yesterday's hearing. It also asked the two defendants to stop the infringement and destroy the mold and the remaining bottles.

Bright Dairy said it was not aware that the complimentary bottles were an infringement. But it had stopped giving away the gifts and had asked its supplier, Jinyu, to stop producing the bottles after receiving a legal notice from Lock&Lock.

Jinyu, the bottle supplier, argued that there were many bottles similar to Lock&Lock's patented bottle in the market and it had applied for a patent review with the SIPO.

Jinyu said it bought the bottles for 3.70 yuan each from a factory in Ninghai in Zhejiang Province and sold it to Bright Dairy at 4.28 yuan.

Zhai Fengjia, of Shanghai Lock&Lock's legal department who represented the firm, told Shanghai Daily that Lock&Lock didn't know that a third party had produced the bottles and it will consider adding the third defendant to the suit.


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