China’s Wuxi Intermediate People’s Court of Jiangsu province in December ruled in favor of France’s electrical equipment producer Legrand S.A. in a lawsuit against a Chinese company accused of infringing Legrand’s trademark rights.
In the trial, the court ordered the defendant to submit evidence based on Article 24 of China’s Supreme People’s Court’s Provisions on Evidence in Intellectual Property Civil Litigation (《最高人民法院关于知识产权民事诉讼证据的若干规定》). This has been the first order of this kind handed down by a Chinese court since the Provisions became effect on November 18, 2020.
According to Article 24, the party who bears the burden of proof shall apply in writing to the people's court to order the opposing party who controls the evidence to submit evidence. If the reasons for the application are valid, the people's court shall make a ruling and order it to submit.
The court found that the Chinese company used Legrand’s trademarks without authorization in manufacturing and marketing its products and making contracts and various documents, which were inaccessible to the plaintiff as evidence. The court issued the first order requiring the defendant to submit relevant evidence. The defendant submitted some financial statements and invoices, which were found inconsistent with the facts that the plaintiff claimed and the defendant’s factual business conditions. The defendant also failed to provide evidence such as receipts and contracts required by the court. The court ruled that these acts constituted obstruction of evidence and made its decision on the merits ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff 2 million yuan ($310,000) in damages.