France's Schneider Pays 157.5 Million Yuan to Chinese Firm as Compromise
French electrical company Schneider agreed to pay 157.5 million yuan (23 million U.S. dollars) to China's Chint Group as a settlement to end a three-year patent lawsuit, a court in east China's Zhejiang Province said.
The Tianjin-based Schneider Electric Low Voltage Co. Ltd., in which Schneider holds 75 percent of stakes, will pay the compensation within 15 days to Zhejiang-based Chint Group for infringing the patent of Chint's electrical apparatus technology, according to the agreement at the provincial Higher People's Court. The two rivals, which had been warring with each other over patent infringement since 1999, also reached a global compromise.
In September 2007, Wenzhou Intermediate People's court ruled Schneider to pay 334.8 million yuan in 10 days to compensate Chint's economic losses as five models of Schneider's apparatus were based on the technology owned by Chint.
The amount of compensation was believed to be the highest in China in an intellectual property rights case. Schneider appealed the ruling to the higher court, citing the invalidation of the patented technology.
Chint's success in the lawsuit case encouraged the Chinese enterprises to pay more attention to protecting the intellectual property rights and using laws to protect themselves in the competition, said Nan Cunhui, board chairman of Chint. Suing business rivals for patent infringement is a common resort that some transnational companies use to elbow out competitors and dominate the market, he said.
Chint has grown from a small workshop with only 50,000 yuan as initial investment to a competitive manufacturer of low-voltage electric apparatus in the world market. It has been trying to expand business to Germany, Italy, France and some other countries once dominated by Schneider. (Source: SIPO 2009-04-20)
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