In response to the request for invalidation by Sogou, which is represented by Unitalen, against Baidu's No. ZL201110421574.2 invention patent titled "a method and client for prompting users to perform touch operations on mobile terminals", the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued the invalidation decision, declaring all patent rights involved invalid.
The patent involved is one of the bases for Baidu's accusation made in 2016 that Sogou's input method has infringed on its 10 patents. After the failed attempt to invalidate Baidu’s patents for the first time, Sogou entrusted Unitalen to file for a second invalidation request against the patent involved. Unitalen invalidation litigation team, after a thorough research, decided on using the following evidences for invalidation:
Evidence 1: Notarized instruction video of "Fishing Master" Game V1.2 published on the Zhiyou forum
Evidence 2: China Taiwan Acer Corporation CN101349944A invention patent
Evidence 3: China Taiwan HTC Company US20090285383A1 invention patent
Evidence 4: China Taiwan VIA CN101819505A invention patent
Evidence 5: CN1855021A invention patent of Korea LG Electronics Co., Ltd.
Evidence 6: China Taiwan Inventec CN102073439A invention patent
Evidence 7: CN101697181A invention patent of Apple
Evidence 8: CN1472670A invention patent of Fujitsu Corporation
Evidence 9: US Microsoft Corporation CN102067079A invention patent
Evidence 10: Notarized "iPHONE 3GS Official Chinese Version User Guide Video" published on Youku, Sohu, and Tudou websites respectively
Evidence 11: CN101986251A invention patent of China Huawei
Based on the above-mentioned prior arts, Unitalen proposed the specific reasons for why the patent rights involved should be completely invalidated.
Highlights of the Judgement
Highlight 1: Whether the evidences collected online shall be accepted
The collegiate panel believes that:
(1) In respect to online forums, factors such as the reliability, influence, and dissemination efficiency of the online information can better determine their credibility. Zhiyou Forum is a large third-party Android communication forum in the industry, with a large number of registered users and posts, it ranks high in traffic in China. The patentee’s claim that the forum’s affiliated company being involved in infringement or subject to administrative penalties caused its low credibility shall not be constituted;
(2) The software of Evidence 1 is downloaded and obtained by the requestor through legal means under the supervision and notarization of the notary public, and it is not a condition that should be excluded by the "Provisions on Evidence in Civil Litigation of the Supreme Court".
Highlight 2: Determination of the publicity of online evidence
The collegiate group believes:
For the purpose of increasing the number of replies, the poster setting the full text of the post to be visible only to the repliers is a common practice in online forums. This practice will not become an obstacle to the public's access to its content, and thus will not have substantial influence on the publicity of the content of the post.
Highlight 3: Determination of the time of disclosure of the online evidence
The collegiate group believes that:
According to the rule for modifying posts on the forum verified by the requester: that is, when modifying a published post, the last editing time will be displayed to prove that the time shown in Evidence 1 is the last edition made to the post, which can be regarded as the time of the content going public. The patentee’s claim that the forum rules published in 2011 may be different from that in 2018 is not accepted.
Highlight 4: Comment on inventiveness
The collegiate panel believes that:
First of all, the difference between Claim 1 and Evidence 3 lies in: 1) the content of the touch guidance is different, Claim 1 shows touch guidance animation and Evidence 3 shows touch operation guidance information; 2) Evidence 3 has disclosed one of the multiple touch prompt events defined in Claim 1;
Secondly, against the above-mentioned Difference 1, the "Fishing Master" game operation instruction video has disclosed the display of touch guidance information in the form of animation, and the animation stops playing upon the specific touch operation performed by the user, that is, it has disclosed Difference 1 and the function of this feature in Evidence 1 is the same as its function in the patent involved to solve the technical problems. Therefore, those skilled in the art have the motivation to incorporate Evidence 1 into Evidence 3 to provide touch guidance with lively animation;
In addition, in respect to Difference 2, Evidence 8 has disclosed the technical feature of displaying the corresponding guidance screens for varied prompt events such as new mail, incoming call, new message, etc., and the function of this feature in Evidence 8 is identical to that in the patent involved. Therefore, those skilled in the art have the motivation to integrate Evidence 8 into Evidence 3 to provide guidance for different events such as new mails and new messages.