On Jan. 5, 2024, the Supreme People's Procuratorate has selected and published 6 typical copyright criminal cases focusing on the cultural and creative industries for the public reference. Below please find a brief of the Case No. 4, which could be of interest.

Case No. 4: Copyright infringement case between Peng and Li

[Case brief]

Suzhou Industrial Park Ruotai Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Ruotai Company) has created 20 sorts of assembled toys such as "LK503 Owl Alarm Clock" and "MC401 Racing Car". It produces and sells this series of assembled toys on the market. From August 2020 to July 2021, without the permission of Ruotai Company, Peng scanned and copied those 20 sorts of assembled toys, arranged the production of those toys by Ruian XX Handicraft Co., Ltd. he operated (later canceled) (referred to as Handicraft Company), and then sold those toys via the online store operated by him or her. The sales volume totaled more than 11,000 pieces and the total value was more than CNY 340,000. During this period, Li was responsible for copying the drawings of the assembled toys and assisting in organizing production. In July 2021, the PSB seized 4,989 pieces of the infringing assembled toys in the Handicraft Company, with a total value of more than CNY 240,000. After sampling and identification, it was found that the infringing toys were copy of the toys of Ruotai Company.


•    Determine the copyrightability of the concerned toys by the constituent elements of the Copyright Work. Whether the toys involved in the case are "works" protected under the Copyright Law is the fundamental question as whether the act constitutes the crime of copyright infringement. Copyright is protected automatically. Regardless of whether the work is registered or not, the originality of the work is the essential requirement for obtaining copyright. The parts of the toys with originality and artistic beauty can be protected as Artwork. Even if the concerned toys have been patented, the part with originality and artistic beauty are still protected under the Copyright Law. In cases where the infringing acts constitute the crime of copyright infringement, the defendant shall be prosecuted for the crime of copyright infringement.

•    Strengthen the protection of cultural and creative industries in accordance with the law by issuing formal letters. When handling copyright crime cases, the procuratorate should attach importance to the protection of the inflicted party by issuing formal letters, to help enhance the protection of the inflicted party's copyright. For sales of infringing toys via e-commerce platforms, the procuratorate could issue letters, urging the platforms to heighten the supervision and take down the infringing listings timely.

Source:  (Chinese)