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「专利许可」中的误述!

首席知识产权官
豆豆5个月前
「专利许可」中的误述!

「专利许可」中的误述!

#本文由作者授权发布,未经作者许可,禁止转载,文章不代表IPRdaily立场#


发布:IPRdaily中文网(IPRdaily.cn)

作者:涂欣   腾龙一期

供稿:中国企业知识产权研究院

原标题:原创:专利许可中的误述


什么是误述?它在专利许可场景中是如何呈现的?


一份事实声明,如果声明中的细节和条款足够确定,以致于能够合理地引导被声明方相信其真实性,以及依赖于该声明,与声明方达成协议,那么这份声明就不是一份简单的观点表述了,而应被理解为陈述。一份不真实的此类声明,可以被称为误述。


在专利许可场景下,许可方可以使用各种手段去实现专利资产的货币化,这些手段可能就包括了误述。一个典型的示例模型如下图所示:


「专利许可」中的误述!


What is a misrepresentation? How it present itself in apatent licensing scenario?


A person may make a statement of fact which is not couched simply asan expression of opinion but is made in such definite terms as reasonably tolead the person to whom the statement is made to believe it is true (however,it is not the case) and, in reliance on such statement, to enter into acontract with the maker of the statement. A statement of falsity as foresaid,shall be called a misrepresentation.


In the context of a patent licensing, a licensor may use a varietyof techniques to ensure monetization of its IP assets, which may include somemisrepresentations. A typical model therein is illustrated as follows.

「专利许可」中的误述!

1、关于Z公司进入市场的路径误述


我们可以看见专利权人Q,专利权人E和专利权人N构成了被许可人Z进入英国[1]当地市场的路障。要通过这些路障,最有效的方式是从E处获得一份专利许可(假定路径距离最短代表许可费最低)。为吸引Z达成许可协议,E可能在专利稳定性和专利覆盖范围上进行误述。关于专利稳定性,它可能陈述它的专利组合路障真实存在并发生效用;关于专利覆盖范围,它可能使得Z相信其付费得来的专利许可范围正是其为进入市场而设想的必需的专利覆盖范围。


关于误述,被许可人可以获得的救济概述


当误述发生时,许可协议是可撤销的,所以被许可人可以选择撤销或继续。因为被许可人达成许可协议是基于不真实的基础,所以,不论误述是否是欺诈性的,疏忽性的,甚至完全无辜性质的,衡平法上都给予被许可人撤销协议的权利。


欺诈性误述在侵权法律下是可诉的,并可因此寻求赔偿救济;忽略性误述却只能在许可人对于被许可人有注意义务时方可诉请赔偿救济的。然而,1967年在英国颁布的《误述法》下,无辜的被陈述方对于任何性质的误述都有权赔偿救济,除非陈述方作出的为非欺诈性陈述,且陈述方有合理的理由自我确信所述事实为真。


撤销和赔偿的模式和效果


撤销许可协议的途径有三种:被许可人可以通过向许可人发送意图撤销的通知以撤销;许可人失联致许可协议下许可人义务无法履行;或被许可人拒付许可费。为避免疑惑之安全起见,被许可人可以在法院寻求协议已被或应被撤销的宣告判决,但即使如此,这类判决仅仅只是对撤销的宣告或确认,协议撤销因被许可人的行为(如撤销通知,宣告判决诉讼程序开始),而非法院判决而生效撤销的效果是许可协议自始不存在。


因此撤销的附随效应是恢复原状,以阻止许可人不当得利。许可协议下被许可人已付的许可费应当退还给许可人。当然撤销权的行使也不是没有限制的。被许可人如果知悉了许可人陈述的不真实,却对协议效力加以确认,或者,随着时间的流逝,被许可人迟迟不予行使撤销权,两种行为都可能导致撤销权的丧失。另外,在非欺诈性误述时,法院可能要求被许可人接受赔偿,而不是行使撤销权。


1、Misrepresented route for access to market by Z


We maysee licensor Q, licensor E and licensor N constitute roadblock in businessavenue of licensee Z in UK market[1].  To pass through it, themost efficient way would be obtain a license from E under E’s patent (assumingthe shortest distance means least amount of royalties). To attract licensee Zto strike an agreement, E may make misrepresentation to assure licensee Z on bothpatentability and coverage. For patentability,it’s about there really exists a roadblock in effect (i.e., E’s patentportfolio). For coverage, E may make Z believe that the scope of license itwill pay for is consistent with the coverage Z has in mind necessary for thepurpose of access to market.


General remedies for Representation available to Licensee


When misrepresentation occurs the license agreement is voidable, sothe misrepresentee (in this case, i.e. licensee) has the option to void orcontinue.  Equity gives the licensee aright to rescind the contract, whether the misrepresentation was fraudulent,negligent or wholly innocent, for his entry into this license agreement hasbeen brought on a false basis.


While a fraudulent misrepresentation is actionable because the lawof tort gives a general damage remedy in deceit for fraudulent statements, anegligent misrepresentation may only be actionable because it is made incircumstances where the licensor owed the licensee a duty of care.  However, irregardless of the foresaid, the UKMisrepresentation Act 1967 gives the innocent party a right to damages unlessthe maker of a non-fraudulent misrepresentation can prove that he hadreasonable grounds to believe and did believe that the facts represented weretrue.   


Mode and effect of rescission and damage


Rescission may be effected by notice to the licensor of the licensee’sintention to rescind, or by conduct equivalent to such notice where thelicensor has absconded and cannot be traced (which leads to the obligationsunder license agreement cannot be fulfilled), or by withholding royalty underthe contract.  To safeguard himself incase of doubt, the licensee may ask for a declaration that the licenseagreement has been or ought to be rescinded. But even where a court order is sought, the rescission is the act of thelicensee, not of the court, and takes effect on giving notice of equivalentconduct, such as the commencement of proceedings.  The order is declaratory only.


The effect of rescission is to cancel the license agreement from thebeginning, to avoid it retrospectively so that it is treated as never havingexisted.  Hence a necessary concomitantof rescission is restitution in order to prevent the unjust enrichment of thelicensor.  Royalty paid under the licenseagreement shall be refunded to the licensee. The rescission does not effect without limitations.  The licensee may lose the right to rescind ifhe affirms the license agreement with knowledge of the falsity of therepresentation; and lapse of time also destroy a right to rescind.  On top of those, court may decide to make licenseeaccept damages in lieu of rescission in the case of non-fraudulentmisrepresentation.


另一方面,赔偿救济能够使得被许可人获得赔偿,以使得被许可人尽可能处于协议按预期履行后本应处于的位置。赔偿救济不关心恢复原状,只关心损失(包括直接损失和间接损失)。直接损失意指交易损失,即许可协议下被许可人实际获得价值与本应获得价值之差值。如果被许可人没有承受损失,它能获得的赔偿微乎其微。 而间接损失意指履约相关费用和利润损失,而这些都需要被许可人进行适当的陈情和证明。这些陈情和证明与关于损失产生事件的证据举出有关,而这又引出了关于过往事件和将来可能事件的重要概念和区别。 过往事件的建立在于关于或然性的举证,被许可人一旦举证充分,证明事件的存在,则在法律视角上事件被证明,无须就其未发生的可能性给予任何折扣。这种建立方式是或全有或全无的。 但对于将来可能事件,被许可人则无法证明该事件将会发生。 因此,当被许可人主张若非误述而预期能从将来事件获得的利润时,实际上被许可人主张的是关于未来利润获取机会丧失的损失。一般来说,法院不会支持关于机会的猜测性估值,除非机会足够重大。如果是那样,法院会考虑利润可能不会被获取的几率,从而在赔偿救济中扣除相应的折扣。


被许可人的选择


回到刚才的例子,如果E公司进行了误述以引诱Z公司达成了许可协议。 Z公司可获得的救济将受到自身选择的影响。


将定Z公司是一个智能手机制造商,Q公司,N公司和E公司是行业里的重要的标准专利持有者。Z公司意图通过获得E公司的专利许可以进入英国市场,E签署一份许可协议签约以付给E公司一笔专利许可费用以一劳永逸地解决英国市场商业运营的专利问题。然而,事实是Z公司真正需要的是应向Q公司支付一笔专利费用以进入英国市场。


「专利许可」中的误述!


However, the function of damage is to compensate the licensee so asto put him as nearly as possible in the position in which he would have been ifthe license agreement had been performed. Damage is concerned not with restoration to pre-contractual position,but with compensation for normal loss andconsequential loss.  Normal loss means loss of bargain, representedby the difference between the actual value of what he received and the value hewould have received had the license been in position as represented.  If the licensee has suffered no loss, he isusually entitled to no more than nominal damages.  Consequential loss means expenditure and lossof profit, which must be properly pleaded and proved.  It is necessary for the licensee to adduceevidence as to the loss-producing event, and in this regard there is animportant distinction between past events and possible future events.  That a past event occurred has to beestablished on a balance of probabilities, and if it is so established theevent is considered proved (from law’s perspective) and no discount is made forthe possibility that it might not have happened.  The approach is all or nothing.  But it cannot be proved that an uncertainfuture event will occur.  So when alicensee claims damage for the loss of profits that might have been expected toflow from future events but for the misrepresentation, the claim is for loss ofchance that the future profits would have accrued.  Normally the court will not embark on avaluation of chance if it merely speculative, but if it is significant, then anappropriate discount must be made for the possibility that the anticipatedprofits would not have accrued.


Election of licensee


Back to example above, if Company E makes misrepresentation which isintended to and does induce the Company Z to enter into the license agreement.The remedy arised thereupon is materially affected by the election of CompanyZ.


Suppose Company Z is asmartphone manufacturer, and Company Q, Company N and Company E are someserious standard essential patent holders in the field. Company Z intends toenter UK market with patent license of Company E, who makes falserepresentation on the patentability and coverage of its own patents, andpersuade Company Z that some lump sum payment paid to Company E would clear theroute for business operation in UK, once and for all.  However, the truth is some payment to CompanyQ is what Company Z really need to payfor the purpose of entering into UKmarket.


「专利许可」中的误述!


2、进入市场的真实路径


受限于前文所述的关于撤销权的一些限制,Z公司可以选择撤销本许可协议,协议自通知E公司时撤销,E公司应退还Z公司已付的许可费。


如果Z公司选择拒绝许可协议效力并主张赔偿,那么这些赔偿可有如下几部分构成。关于直接损失,Z公司有权从E公司获得本应付给Q公司的许可费。 关于间接损失,有关过往事件相关损失,Z公司可以获得它承受的费用,例如营销费用,物料成本,保险成本和运费;有关将来可能事件相关损失,如果Z公司能够适当地在法院陈情和证明,并说服法院,Z公司有权获得智能手机销售利润以及因首批销售建立的商誉而引发的后续订单收益。


许可人的出路


首先,许可人不应当做出任何误述,无论欺诈性的,疏忽性的或者无辜性质的误述。这意味着许可人在内部应当做到全面地尽调工作,并且在陈述时非常谨慎。


另外,如果察觉到风险(比如,Q、E和N的许可均需获得,以便进入目标市场),许可人还应当在协议中通过澄清陈述和排除部分陈述以规避相应风险。例如:


Z公司承认为达成本协议目的Z公司仍需获得第三方许可。双方承认和同意本协议中E公司基于其合理地审慎和勤勉地分析和调查做出陈述,双方均持有合理的基础相信该等陈述的真实性,以及Z公司未依赖于此产生的任何误解达成本许可协议。


「专利许可」中的误述!


3、澄清的市场进入路径


我们可以看到通过这个条款,许可人排除了欺诈性误述,疏忽性误述和部分无辜性误述(由于被许可人误解引起的),以及使得被许可人寻求赔偿救济不太可能。尽管如此,条款中蕴藏的理论有待实践中法院的确认。


2、True route for access to market by Z


Subject to the limitationsas foresaid, it is clear that if Company Z elects to rescind, upon notice to CompanyE, the license agreement is cancelled, and Company E shall refund royaltiespaid by Company Z as of the notice date.


If Company Z elects to treatthe license agreement repudiated and claim damage, there are several parts ofdamage.  For the normal loss, Company Z isentitled to payment to Company Q from Company E.  For the consequential loss, in respect ofpast events related loss, Company Z can recover expenditures it incurred, e.g.,marketing fee, material cost, insurance cost and freight; in respect ofpossible future events, Company might be entitled to the profit from sales ofsmartphones, and prospect of future contracts resulting from goodwill accruedfrom the first sales, so long as Company Z could properly plead, prove andconvince the court.


A way out for licensor


First and all, licensor shall not make any misrepresentation,whether in the form of fraudulent, negligent or innocent.  That means licensor shall do some thoroughdue diligent work, and be cautious in making any representations.

Second, licensor shall clarify and carve out some representation itmade if he smells any risks in it (e.g., both of Q’s and E’s licenses arenecessary for access to the market). For example:   


Company Z understands that thirdparty licenses shall be also obtained by Company Z.  Company E and Company Z understands andacknowledges that Company E makes representations in this Agreement based onits reasonably prudent and diligent efforts to analyze and investigate, bothparties have reasonable grounds to believe the truth of the representation, andCompany Z is in no reliance on any misunderstanding thereof to enter into thislicense agreement.


「专利许可」中的误述!


3、Clarified route for access to market by Z


We may see by thisclause licensor has excluded fraudulent misrepresentation, negligentmisrepresentation, and part of innocent misrepresentation (which arises out oflicensee’s misunderstanding), and made a resort to damage remedy less likelypossible, though the theory therein is yet to be affirmed in court.



注释:

[1]本文试图在普通法下作出评论,然后,考虑到美国法下成文法主导和案例法多样发展的趋势,在美国专利许可情景下,读者可能要计入联邦和州成文法,以及先例的因素以正确考量误述的影响。

[1]This article aims to make observations under common law practice, however, considering recent tendency of domination of statutory law and various development of case law in US law system, one may factor in such federal & state statutory law and precedents, when predicting effect of misrepresentations in US patent licensing.



发布:IPRdaily中文网(IPRdaily.cn)

作者:涂欣   腾龙一期

供稿:中国企业知识产权研究院

编辑:IPRdaily赵珍          校对:IPRdaily纵横君


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「专利许可」中的误述!

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