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Unitalen Successfully Represented International Textile Group, INC in the Case of Invalidation of Patent Right for Invention


Brief of the case

International Textile Group, INC is a diversified American textile manufacturer headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. Many cars worldwide use its safety fabrics, and its shell fabrics and seat cushions are produced in different places (United States, Germany, Poland, China, and Mexico).

In March 2013, International Textile Group, INC filed with the CNIPA for a patent application for an invention entitled "Flame retardant fabric and clothing manufactured therefrom", which was granted the patent right in April, 2017. The flame-retardant fabric and clothing manufactured therefrom, as claimed by this patent, are designed to provide protection against heat and flames to prevent burns for wearers, and are particularly suitable for firefighters, other service providers, and military personnel. Regarding the granted patent, Deng, a natural person, submitted a request for invalidation to the then Patent Reexamination Board in July, 2017. After trial, the Patent Reexamination Board made an Examination Decision on the Request for Invalidation in January, 2018, deciding to uphold the validity of the patent right on the basis of all amended claims of the patentee. In response to the above Decision, Deng later filed an administrative lawsuit with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court. After trial, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court held that: the sued Decision does not violate the principle of legality and the principle of hearing, the amendment does not go beyond the scope of disclosure of the original claims and description, and involves an inventive step and should be upheld. Afterwards, neither party involved filed an appeal to the Supreme People’s Court within the statutory time limit.

Typicality of the case

This case involves consideration of unexpected technical effects when the inventive step of a patent for invention is determined. In this case, the court held that: “since there may be a plurality of technical problems to be solved and a plurality of effects to be achieved in one patent and reflected through multiple performance parameters, when whether an invention has achieved unexpected technical effects is determined, as long as the distinguishing features of the invention over the closest prior art make a certain technical effect of the technical solution of this patent unexpected to those skilled in the art, the invention can be considered to have achieved an unexpected technical effect, and it is not required to reach an ‘unexpected’ level in all technical effects. This clarified the proof criteria for an invention to achieve “an unexpected technical effect”, which has important reference value for patent authorization and confirmation cases that emphasize the inventiveness based on technical effects. Such cases are related to the application, management and protection levels of patent rights nationwide, and have fundamental and overall significance in the entire patent system of China.