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Uni-intel Won an Invalidation Action against a CN Design Patent for “A Smart Toilet”

On May 4th, 2018, the Patent Reexamination Board of SIPO (PRB) issued a decision with regard to a Chinese design patent for “a smart toilet”. According to the decision, the PRB fully supported Uni-intel’s grounds and declared this design patent invalid.

Under entrustment of a client who is threatened by a competitor’s design patent, Uni-intel team made a well-prepared strategy and detailed attacking tactics by which the PRB’s decision was completely in favorite of the client.

Case Review

On December 1, 2017, Uni-intel filed a request for invalidation on behalf of the client opposing validity of the target design patent for not complying with Article 23 (2) of the Chinese Patent Law. Some critical evidence of prior arts were filed supporting the ground.

On April 11, 2018, a senior patent attorney from Uni-intel representing the client attended an oral hearing during which he explained to PRB in detail about the ground why the target design patent should be considered as invalid based on the well-prepared strategy and detailed attacking tactics.

Due to the excellent works by Uni-intel, the PRB fully agreed with Uni-intel’s explanation and accordingly made a very quick decision on May 4th, 2018 which undoubtedly declared the design patent invalid.

Legal Basis: Article 23(2) of Patent Law of P.R.C: Designs for which the patent right is to be granted shall be ones which are distinctly different from the prior designs or the combinations of the features of prior designs.

Key Points of the Decision:

The said patent is similar to the prior design in both overall shape and the shape of major structure. The difference between the both only lies in some subtle changes in partial design or invisible position of the product which is used in normal condition. And, these differences fail to impose a substantive visual effect to a consumer which could make the consumer distinguishing the target designed product from the prior designed product. Therefore, the target design has no substantive difference with the prior design.

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