China: 标准必要专利禁令救济的司法实践

Last Updated: 19 August 2019
Article by Yi Jin

一、标准必要专利和FRAND原则

根据我国国家标准GB3935.1-1996《标准化和有关领域的通用术语》,标准是指为在一定的范围内获得最佳秩序,对活动或其结果规定共同的和重复使用的规则、导则或特性的文件。该文件经协商一致制定并经一个公认机构的批准。技术标准是指对一个或几个生产技术设立的必须得符合要求的条件以及能达到此标准的实施技术。技术标准具有强制性,其实质上是一种统一的技术规范,能保障重复性的技术事项在一定范围内得到统一,以保证产品或服务的互换性、兼容性和通用性,从而降低生产成本,并且消除消费者的"替换成本"以保护消费者的利益,并促进技术进步。[1]根据《北京市高级人民法院专利侵权判定指南(2017)》,标准必要专利是指为实施技术标准而必须使用的专利。

技术标准与专利相结合时,其带来的好处和弊端都是明显的。标准的制定可以促进新技术的开发与推广,并有利于产品或服务的兼容性和通用性,从促进创新、避免浪费以及提高消费者福利角度都有其积极的一面;而从另一面看,其带来的弊端也十分明显:对于非标准必要专利而言,当权利人寻求过高的许可费,或提出不合理的许可条件时,由于市场上有很大可能存在着替代选择,潜在被许可人可以通过寻找第三方技术或自行研发替代技术,避开权利人的专利,因此非标准必要专利的权利人通常难以获得市场支配力;但标准必要专利则不同,当某一行业中的技术标准被确立之后,产品制造商为了使其产品符合标准,必须实施标准必要专利,别无选择。这就带来了标准必要专利许可中的专利劫持和许可费叠加问题。

专利劫持的概念最早由美国学者马克·莱姆利(Mark A. Lemely) 和卡尔·夏皮罗(Carl Shapiro)提出,他们认为"永久禁令极大提高了专利权人的谈判能力,从而导致专利许可费超过了正常的基准范围......如果法院延缓永久禁令的效力,给予被告企业时间重新设计他们的非侵权产品,那么,因永久性禁令而引起的劫持问题就会减轻。"[2]专利权人通过将其专利纳入标准,使潜在被许可人无从寻求替代技术,从而掌握了专利许可市场上的支配力,并因此获得要求明显高于该专利被纳入标准之前的专利许可费的能力,这就造成了专利劫持的问题。

许可费叠加的产生原因是当某一标准由多个专利组成,而组成标准的专利分属于不同的权利人时,标准的实施就必须获得多次授权,多次支付许可使用费,从而可能导致标准实施人的产品最终负担的许可费过高的问题。例如在通信产品领域,标准中的必要专利动辄成千上万,许可费叠加的问题尤为突出。

"FRAND"是英文"Fair,Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory"的缩写。FRAND原则即公平、合理、无歧视原则,是目前被各标准组织普遍采纳的,对加入标准化组织的成员所要求的必须遵守的原则,其内涵在于要求标准必要专利权人以公平、合理、无歧视的条件,将其标准必要专利授权给所有潜在被许可人使用。其目的在于平衡标准必要专利权人与被许可人之间的利益,对标准必要专利权人加以制约,阻止其滥用权利,从而减轻专利劫持和专利费叠加问题。

国际标准化组织例如欧洲电信标准化协会(European Telecommunication Standards Institute,简称ETSI)、美国电气及电子工程师学会(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers,简称IEEE)等在其专利政策中都规定了FRAND条款。ETSI知识产权政策第6.1条规定:当与某特定标准或技术规范有关的基本知识产权引起ETSI的注意时,ETSI总干事应当立即要求知识产权所有者在三个月内以书面形式给予不可撤回的承诺,该承诺须说明知识产权所有者将准备根据该知识产权中所规定的公平、合理和无歧视条件来授予不可撤销的许可,并且至少涉及以下范围:制造,包括制造或代工用于制造符合被许可人自行设计标准的定制组件和子系统;出售,出租或以其它方式处置按此方式制造的设备;维修、使用、或操作上述设备;以及使用方法。[3]IEEE在其标准委员会章程第6.2条中也规定了类似的承诺要求,并进一步规定:已经向IEEE 做出FRAND 许可声明的标准必要专利权利人不得请求禁令或者请求执行禁令,除非当一方在合理期限内向有权认定合理许可费率及其他合理许可条件;裁判专利有效性、可执行性、必要性、以及侵权;判决损害赔偿;审理被告的抗辩及反诉请求的法院提起诉讼时,标准实施人不参与诉讼程序,或拒不执行判决。[4]

二、标准必要专利禁令救济的域外实践

无救济即无权利。标准必要专利权人请求禁令是最为常见,也最有杀伤力的救济手段。如果禁令请求成立,则被诉侵权人的产品将面临退市、召回等极为不利的局面。各司法辖区由于知识产权保护水平以及法律体系的差异,对禁令请求的处理有所不同。并且随着司法、执法实践的发展,同一司法辖区对禁令的处理方式也在发展和变化。以欧盟为例,欧盟成员国法院、欧盟委员会及欧洲法院近年来处理了一系列具有代表性的涉及标准必要专利的案件,从2009年德国联邦最高法院审理的"橙皮书标准"案,到2015年欧洲法院对华为与中兴专利纠纷案的先行裁决,欧盟对禁令救济的实践经历了几个阶段的变化。

在2009年的"橙皮书标准"案中,德国联邦最高法院对被告阻却权利人禁令请求成立提出了较高的要求,要求被告在协商谈判中应提出"无条件的、真实的、合理的和易于被接受的要约",尤其明确要求被告的要约不能以专利有效和证明实际侵权为条件,并且要求被告应预期履行其合同义务,包括向原告提供相关财务记录、提存专利使用费等。[5]德国法院在此后的摩托罗拉诉苹果案[6]、摩托罗拉诉微软案[7]中,对"橙皮书标准"案中确立的原则加以引申,进一步提高了被诉侵权人挑战禁令成立的难度。

而在2012年启动的两起分别针对摩托罗拉公司和三星公司的反垄断调查中,欧盟委员会对禁令的态度与德国法院出现了不同。在2014年4月29日做出的裁决中,欧委会认为,在苹果公司已明确表示愿意接受第三方裁定的FRAND费率的前提下,摩托罗拉公司继续寻求禁令的行为构成欧盟竞争法所禁止的滥用市场支配地位行为。[8]同一天,欧委会接受了三星公司做出的承诺,停止了对该公司的反垄断调查。对涉及标准必要专利许可的谈判框架,三星公司在承诺中提出:(1)双方应进行为期12个月的谈判;(2)如未达成协议,应由任一方选择的法院或双方选择的仲裁机构确定FRAND条款。[9]欧委会在摩托罗拉案中正式为标准必要专利许可谈判确立了"安全港"原则,即:如果潜在被许可人愿意遵守FRAND原则进行谈判,并在谈判破裂后,接受法院或仲裁机构的裁决,那么标准必要专利权利人就不得向法院请求对潜在被许可人实施禁令。三星承诺书中提出的谈判框架,对上述安全港原则进行了进一步细化。

2015年7月16日,欧洲法院就华为诉中兴案做出先行裁决,该裁决进一步发展了欧委会在上述两起案件中确立的原则。欧洲法院认为,在满足以下两个条件的前提下,权利人寻求禁令的行为不应视为《欧盟运行条约》第102条所禁止的滥用市场支配地位行为:1.专利权人在提出专利诉讼前,应首先警告侵权人,指明其所侵犯的专利权及侵权方式;在侵权人表达了按照FRAND条件缔结标准必要专利许可协议的意愿之后,向侵权人提供一份具体的书面要约,其中要特别说明许可费及其计算方法。2.侵权人继续使用涉案专利,且没有根据业内普遍认可的商业惯例和诚实信用原则对专利权人的要约给予积极回应。对此进行判断时,法院应考虑案件中的具体客观因素,尤其要考量侵权人是否故意采用拖延策略。[10]可以看出,欧洲法院的上述裁决试图站在较为中立的立场上,平衡权利人与被许可人之间的利益,并对标准必要专利许可谈判的双方提出"善意"谈判的模型。

三、我国法律对标准必要专利禁令救济的相关规定及司法实践

禁令救济是英美法系中的概念,在我国侵权责任法中对应的概念为责令停止侵权行为。我国司法实践中对标准必要专利侵权纠纷中停止侵权的判定也经历了一定的演变。

最高人民法院受理的首个涉及标准必要专利的案件是辽宁省高级人民法院就季强、刘辉与朝阳市兴诺建筑工程有限公司专利侵权纠纷的请示一案。该案涉及建筑领域的一项标准。最高人民法院在(2008)民三他字第4号复函(以下简称"2008年4号复函")中认为,"鉴于目前我国标准制定机关尚未建立有关标准中专利信息的公开披露及使用制度的实际情况,专利权人参与了标准的制定或者经其同意,将专利纳入国家、行业或者地方标准的,视为专利权人许可他人在实施标准的同时实施该专利,他人的有关实施行为不属于《专利法》第十一条所规定的侵犯专利权的行为。专利权人可以要求实施人支付一定的使用费,但支付的数额应明显低于正常的许可使用费;专利权人承诺放弃专利使用费的,依其承诺处理。"[11]该复函虽仅对个案生效,但曾一度被解读为首次规定了标准必要专利的"默示许可"。不应忽视的是,最高人民法院的这个复函是在我国当时标准必要专利信息披露制度建设不足,专利披露不充分的背景下做出的,一定程度上具有推动标准必要专利信息披露的目的。

随着标准必要专利披露制度的逐步完善,司法实践也发生了相应的变化。2012年,最高人民法院在张晶廷与衡水子牙河建筑工程有限公司等侵害发明专利权纠纷案(最高人民法院(2012)民提字第125 号)中,做出了与2008年4号复函不同的认定。本案与前案最主要的区别在于,原告张晶廷参与了涉案推荐性标准的制定,主动将其专利技术纳入该标准,并履行了披露义务。因此,最高人民法院认为"本案2006年规程为推荐性标准,张晶廷履行了专利披露义务,在被诉侵权施工方法所依据的2006年规程前言部分,明确记载有识别的专利技术和专利权人的联系方式。该规程的实施者不能从中推断出,2006年规程不包含专利技术或者专利权人向公众开放了免费的专利使用许可的意图。实施该标准,应当取得专利权人的许可,根据公平合理无歧视的原则,支付许可费。在未经专利权人许可使用,拒绝支付许可费的情况下,原则上,专利侵权救济不应当受到限制。"[12]该判决的要点在于,对于推荐性标准,在标准必要专利信息已经明示的前提下,专利权人请求专利侵权救济不受所谓"默示许可"的限制。

2013年12月19日,国家标准委、国家知识产权局发布了《国家标准涉及专利的管理规定(暂行)》(以下简称"暂行规定"),对国家标准制定过程中涉及的专利信息披露、实施许可声明等进行了详细规定。但暂行规定中对强制性国家标准如何处理未做明确规定,这也直接影响了最高人民法院于2016年公布的专利司法解释。

2016年《最高人民法院关于审理侵犯专利权纠纷案件应用法律若干问题的解释(二)》(以下简称司法解释二)第二十四条第二款规定:"推荐性国家、行业或者地方标准明示所涉必要专利的信息,专利权人、被诉侵权人协商该专利的实施许可条件时,专利权人故意违反其在标准制定中承诺的公平、合理、无歧视的许可义务,导致无法达成专利实施许可合同,且被诉侵权人在协商中无明显过错的,对于权利人请求停止标准实施行为的主张,人民法院一般不予支持。"该条规定的两个前提是:1.推荐性标准;2.标准对所涉必要专利信息进行了明示。其判断是否支持权利人请求停止标准实施行为主张的两个核心因素是:专利权人是否履行了公平、合理、无歧视的许可义务;被诉侵权人在协商中有无明显过错。但该司法解释未涉及强制性标准,也未对国际标准组织制定的标准进行规定[13];对于是否颁发禁令的条件,也仅以负面列举的方式给出了专利权人无过错,被诉侵权人存在明显过错下不予支持停止侵权主张的一种情形,对双方均无过错、双方均有过错,以及专利权人无过错,被诉侵权人有过错三种情形下如何判定,均未给出答案。对如何判断专利权人故意违反FRAND义务,以及如何判断被诉侵权人具有明显过错,亦未论述。

2017年4月20日生效的《北京市高级人民法院专利侵权判定指南(2017)》(以下简称侵权判定指南)对司法解释二进行了进一步的补充。与标准必要专利相关的内容规定在该指南第六部分"专利侵权抗辩"的"不停止侵权抗辩"一节中。侵权判定指南第149条首先对司法解释二第二十四条第二款的适用范围进行了补充,将国际标准组织或其他标准制定组织制定的标准中,专利权人按照标准组织章程明示且做出FRAND声明的标准必要专利纳入适用范围;第150条对请求FRAND许可的被诉侵权人提出了依诚信原则积极协商的要求。

指南第152条、第153条分别补充了双方均无过错或均有过错情形下,对于专利权人请求停止标准实施行为的主张的处理原则;并且分别对如何认定专利权人故意违反公平、合理、无歧视的许可义务,以及如何认定被诉侵权人在标准必要专利许可协商过程中存在明显过错进行了细化。从以下表格可以看出,指南对双方谈判义务的设定几乎是一一对应的:

与欧洲法院在华为中兴案中确立的原则接近,侵权判定指南意在通过为专利权人和潜在被许可人设立善意许可谈判的程序性指南,引导双方在诚信基础上进行善意协商,但并不反对权利人在无法通过善意协商达成许可协议的情况下,通过诉讼要求对方停止侵权。侵权判定指南给出的谈判指引,概括而言可以分为两方面,即:1.谈判程序应符合商业惯例,不存在恶意拖延;2.许可要约及反要约应当合理。与欧洲法院的前述判决不同,侵权判定指南并非从竞争法视角出发,而是从专利法视角出发,并进一步将谈判程序和许可要约是否合理,作为评判禁令请求是否成立的依据。

四、标准必要专利禁令救济制度尚待解决的问题

由上述分析可见,我国在标准必要专利禁令救济问题上的司法实践发展基本与国际接轨,甚至更进一步地给出了判定禁令请求是否成立的具体标准。然而由于标准必要专利的复杂性,仍有很多问题尚待解决。

从谈判程序角度看,是否不合理拖延谈判是指南关注的重点。但在不同规模的专利许可谈判中,如何判断合理的答复期限以及一方是否拖延并非一概而论。例如大型交叉许可谈判往往会持续数年,双方的谈判范围、专利实力对比在谈判期间经常会随之发生变化,由于这些变化导致许可协议无法及时达成,是否构成拖延?从许可要约和反要约的合理性看,双方对合理许可费的报价是重中之重。然而由于专利定价本身就是一个公认的难题,其至少包含技术和市场两个评判维度,而标准必要专利谈判过程又往往伴随着技术的演进和市场的变迁,就使得确定合理费率的问题更加困难。司法实践中经常使用的"可比协议法""由上而下法"等方法,由于可比协议难以获得、论证可比性存在难度,以及专利必要性评判复杂耗时、贡献值的计算方法缺乏公认标准等原因而经常遇到阻碍。

司法解释二和侵权判定指南结合国际经验及我国司法实践给出的解答绝非完美,但相信随着司法审判实践经验的进一步积累,我国标准必要专利禁令救济制度与规范、高效的谈判制度会逐步成熟、完善起来,形成符合我国知识产权保护和竞争、产业政策的理论、实践体系。

注释:

[1] 广东省高级人民法院(2013)粤高法民三终字第305号民事判决书。

[2] Mark A. Lemley& Carl Shapiro,Patent Holdup and Royalty Stacking,Texas Law Review, 1991, 85: 1991-1993.

[3] 参见欧洲电信标准化协会(ETSI)知识产权政策:http://www.etsi.org/about/how-we-work/intellectual-property-rights-iprs (最后访问日期:2018年3月1日)。

[4]参见美国电气及电子工程师学会(IEEE)标准委员会章程:http://standards.ieee.org/develop/policies/bylaws/index.html (最后访问日期 :2018年3月1日)。

[5] German Federal Supreme Court, 6 May 2009, KZR 39/06- "Orange-Book-Standard".

[6] Motorola v. Apple, 2012, Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe, Federal Republic ofGermany, Case No. 6 U 136/11.

[7] Motorola v. Microsoft, 2012, Regional Court of Mannheim, Federal Republic of Germany, Case No. 2 O 240/11.

[8] European Commission,Antitrust: Commission finds that Motorola Mobility infringed EU competition rules by misusing standard essential patents. [EB/OL] (2014-04-29).

[9] European Commission,Antitrust: Commission accepts legally binding commitments by Samsung Electronics on standard essential patent injunctions. [EB/OL] (2014-04-29).

[10] Court of Justice of the European Union, Case C-170/13.

[11] 最高人民法院(2008)民三他字第4号复函。

[12]最高人民法院(2012)民提字第125号民事判决书。

[13]如上文所述,2013年《国家标准涉及专利的管理规定(暂行)》中未对强制性国家标准涉及专利如何处理做出规定。司法解释二为与暂行规定保持一致,对此亦未做规定。

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