On June 5, 2022, China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security jointly issued the Typical Cases of Punishing the Crime of Obstructing the Prevention and Control of the Epidemic in Accordance With the Law (依法惩治妨害疫情防控保障犯罪典型案例). Worryingly, two of the cases involved counterfeiting trademarks for medical products including protective clothing and COVID tests. No mention was made if any of the counterfeits were exported.
I. Hu XX counterfeiting registered trademark case
In October 2021, Hu rented a residential house near a gas station in Jinxian County, Jiangxi Province and, without the permission of Guizhou Fuxianyuan Clothing Co., Ltd., owner of the registered trademark “Fuxianyuan,” commissioned others to print the inner packaging bags, outer packaging cartons, certificates and instructions of the “Fuxianyuan” brand medical protective clothing, and packaged his purchased unbranded “white board” protective clothing into the “Fuxianyuan” brand medical protective clothing. Failing to perform quality checks for the medical protection of the clothing, Hu illegally sold such protective clothing to intermediaries as Mao and Gui. The intermediary in turn sold to a property company, a medical device technology company and a biological technology company for nucleic acid testing, daily prevention and control work.
On December 20, 2021, during their inspection, police seized Hu who was moving the articles involved from a warehouse, and seized 20 outer packing cartons of counterfeit Fuxianyuan medical protective clothing, 12,000 instructions for use of Fuxianyuan medical protective clothing, and 300 “white board” protective clothing. It was found that Hu made and sold more than 40,000 pieces of medical protective clothing with the aforesaid counterfeited registered trademarks, with the price of each piece ranging from 9.2 RMB to 10 RMB. There were more than 400,000 RMB in illegal revenue and more than 33,000 RMB in illegal profits.
On December 21, 2021, the public security authority filed a case for investigation on the suspected crime of counterfeiting registered trademarks and detained Hu. On January 21, 2022, a public security authority filed a request for approval of arrest of Hu on suspicion of the crime of counterfeiting registered trademarks, and the People’s Procuratorate of Nanchang High-Tech Industrial Development Zone made a decision on approval of arrest according to the law. On March 26, the public security authority transferred this case for examination and prosecution, and on April 26, the People’s Procuratorate of Nanchang High-Tech Industrial Development Zone instituted a public prosecution against Hu for the crime of counterfeiting a registered trademark. On May 25, the People’s Court of Nanchang High-Tech Industrial Development Zone sentenced Hu to a fixed-term imprisonment of three years and one month and imposed a fine of 60,000 RMB for the crime of counterfeiting registered trademarks.
II. The case of Zhu A and others suspected of counterfeiting registered trademarks
The criminal suspect Zhu A was a distributor of a biological technology company, and engaged in the sale of rapid detection reagents for coronavirus antigens developed by the company. At the end of July 2021, Zhu A ceased cooperation with this company. In August of the same year, Zhu A, in collusion with Zhu B (punished in a separate case), without the permission of the biotechnology company, taking advantage of his familiarity with the production and sales process of the product, to find another company in Shenzhen to buy other types of new coronaviruses Antigen rapid detection reagent, and used the electronic design document of the biotechnology company’s reagent packaging box obtained through illegal means to make the packaging box, purchased cotton swabs, potions, empty tubes, manuals and other raw materials, and contacted Wang who had no qualification for production and processing to assemble the aforesaid raw materials and sell them to third parties.
After finding that someone was selling on the market the testing reagent that used the counterfeit registered trademark, Shenzhen Public Security Bureau reported the case to the Pingshan Branch on November 4, 2021. On November 13, the public security authority seized nasal swabs, extraction tubes, diluents, rapid coronavirus antigen detection reagents with counterfeited registered trademarks, kits, reagent packages, instructions and other production materials at two processing locations in Dongguan city manufactured by Wang upon the commission of Zhu A.
From November 13 to December 2, 2021, the public security authority arrested Zhu A, et al. for the suspected crime of counterfeiting registered trademarks. Upon confirmation by the Development and Reform Bureau of Pingshan District of Shenzhen Municipality, the prices of the seized finished products of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) antigen testing reagents are more than 660,000 RMB. The case is currently under review for prosecution.
Cases III and IV do not related to intellectual property and therefore not discussed here. The full text of the announcement of typical cases is available here and also reproduced here (Chinese only).