Because of the serious safety and environmental consequences of using inferior counterfeit valves and the financial devastation that can come with theft of intellectual property, ValveMagazine.com ran a two part series in July 2012 dealing with these ongoing concerns.
One point made clear in that article was that, despite technological advances and government involvement in the protection of intellectual property rights, companies themselves must be vigilant in their own behalf.
An excellent case in point came to a successful conclusion on November 15, 2012 when Rotork Controls won its third landmark judgment for intellectual property rights in China.
Rotork successfully defended its trademarks in the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court of China. In this latest judgment, Shanghai Rotork Automation Instrumentation Co. Ltd. and Rotork Actuator Co. Ltd. (based in Zhejiang) were found to have infringed Rotork’s English and Chinese trademarks by using the name Rotork either in English or Chinese on products and in advertising for goods, not covered by their China registered trademark, in so doing creating a misleading and undesirable influence in the market for Rotork’s electric actuator products.
In addition to ceasing these activities, the defendants were ordered to pay a total of 2 million RMB in damages, which is four times the maximum statutory damages figure. The defendants were also ordered to publish a declaration in a named international valve industry magazine to eliminate the undesirable influence created by their infringements. While the defendants have lodged an appeal against the judgment to the Shanghai Higher People’s Court, staying the lower court’s judgment until it is resolved, Rotork is confident of its position on appeal.
This is the third successful judgment for Rotork in China. In 2009, Rotork successfully defended its internationally recognized trademark and copyright in the Shanghai Courts against infringements by Autork Digital Instrument Co. Ltd. (also known as Greatork). The Shanghai Intermediate People’s Court and Higher People’s Court also found Autork to have been engaging in unfair competition through the use of false publicity for which they were fined the maximum amount of statutory damages. Furthermore, Autork was ordered by the Courts to cease these infringements with immediate effect.
Rotork has also successfully defended its intellectual property rights in other parts of the world. In 2007 the Dutch District Court found Autork liable for slavish imitation, breach of copyright and violation of design rights relating to Rotork’s IQ and IQT series of actuators and also infringing Rotork’s internationally recognized trademark.
In a press release issued November 15, Rotork urged its customers and users to be vigilant and wary of imitations and advised customers to contact their nearest official Rotork representative if they have any suspicions about the origins of a product.