Raytron Group: "The promotion of this case to the intellectual property judicial protection in China and its academic significance will certainly be reflected in future judicial practice."
Raytron Technology Co., Ltd., IRay Technology Co., Ltd., Anhui InfiRay Technologies Co., Ltd., etc.（hereinafter referred to as the "Raytron Group"）, which were established in 2009, are national high-tech enterprises specializing in the design and manufacturing technology development of application-special integrated circuits, special chips and MEMS sensors, and are committed to becoming the most valuable special chip enterprise in China and the world-leading provider of intelligent sensing technology solutions.
Wuhan Hongshi Thermal Imaging Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Wuhan Hongshi") had been maintaining a cooperative relationship with Raytron Group since 2016 and selling the infrared night vision devices of Raytron Group as an agent. The two parties terminated the cooperation due to different business philosophies. In November 2019, Wuhan Hongshi filed the first lawsuit with the Wuhan Intermediate People's Court and claimed for compensation of no less than 20 million yuan on the grounds that the E3 and E6 series thermal infrared imagers produced by Raytron Group and its subsidiaries infringed its patent rights. Upon examination, the Wuhan Intermediate People's Court ruled that this case was under the jurisdiction of the Hefei Intermediate People's Court. After the case was transferred to the Hefei Intermediate People's Court, Wuhan Hongshi took the initiative to apply for withdrawal of the lawsuit in May 2020.
In June 2020, less than a month after the previous case was withdrawn, Wuhan Hongshi again filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Raytron Group and its subsidiaries with the same cause of action and the same evidence, and the amount of claim increased steeply to 44.2257 million yuan. In order to forcibly set connection point of jurisdiction in Wuhan, Wuhan Hongshi included the Wuhan branch of Raytron Group as a co-defendant in the second lawsuit. However, the establishment of the branch was later than the establishment time in the evidence submitted. Subsequently, the second lawsuit filed by Wuhan Hongshi again went through the first and second trials with regard to jurisdictional objection, and the Supreme People's Court ruled in June 2021 that this case should be under the jurisdiction of the Hefei Intermediate People's Court.
When representing Raytron Group in the infringement lawsuits filed by Wuhan Hongshi, the Unitalen team filed a request for invalidation of the patent concerned. The Unitalen team quickly retrieved the reference documents of the technical solution of the patent concerned that have been disclosed, and the relevant documents were the promotional articles on the WeChat official account and the function introduction videos on the online video platform published by Wuhan Hongshi. In the process of oral hearing of the invalidation case, Wuhan Hongshi recognized that the technical principles disclosed in the aforementioned videos are consistent with the technical principles of the patent concerned. Finally, the patent concerned was declared invalid in whole by the CNIPA on August 31, 2021.
Although the aforementioned patent infringement lawsuit was dismissed due to the successful invalidation of the patent concerned, Raytron Group's legitimate interests suffered losses for no reason. Rraytron Group consumed a lot of human resources, materials and finances to deal with the lawsuits filed by Wuhan Hongshi. Moreover, the sales of the relevant products declined and Raytron's reputation suffered immeasurable intangible losses for no reason. Accordingly, Raytron Group and its subsidiaries entrusted Unitalen Law Office to file a lawsuit arising from a dispute over liability for damage due to the malicious litigation against Wuhan Hongshi in January 2022, and the case was then formally accepted by Hefei Intermediate People's Court.
After losing the court case in the first trial, Unitalen team summed up the experience in a timely manner, took Wuhan Hongshi's act of maliciously applying for a patent while knowing perfectly well that it had disclosed the technical solution beforehand as a breakthrough point to re-collect the evidence. Unitalen submitted additional evidence to the court to prove the cooperation relationship between Raytron Group and Wuhan Hongshi in the early years and to prove that Wuhan Hongshi sold the allegedly infringing products concerned as an agent, and added evidence that Wuhan Hongshi hired a professional patent agency to apply for dozens of patents to prove that Wuhan Hongshi had subjective malice of abusing the right to sue for the reason that it knew very well the conditions for granting patent rights and the substantive defects of the patent concerned, but still applied for several patents fraudulently and filed the infringement lawsuits based on the patents. Meanwhile, Unitalen carried out legal research and searched for similar cases actively, conducted in-depth research and analysis on the legal relationship and practical precedents of malicious filing of an intellectual property lawsuit, and composed special research articles and a similar case search report.
Finally, the Anhui High People's Court supported our arguments and entered a judgment on February 10, 2023 ruling that Wuhan Hongshi's abuse of the right to sue constituted malicious litigation and ordered Wuhan Hongshi to compensate Raytron Group for the corresponding reasonable expenses.
Finally, Raytron Group won the final victory of the malicious litigation case and successfully defended its lawful rights and interests. The four-year-long series lawsuits between Raytron Group and Wuhan Hongshi spanning the entire COVID-19 pandemic ended in a satisfactory way.
Significance of the case
Unitalen Law Office assisted Raytron in winning the final victory in the patent infringement lawsuits and the malicious litigation case, which not only safeguarded Raytron's lawful rights and interests, but more importantly, restrained the abuse of right to sue by the unfair competitor for seeking unlawful interests, and made outstanding contributions to maintaining a good business environment.