According to the recent civil judgment of Ningbo Intermediate People’s Court of Zhejiang Province, the trial regarding a pair of infringement cases for invention patent rights in which AUX Air Conditioning sued Gree Electric Appliances and Ningbo Yongge Information Technology Co., Ltd., has now ended. Gree Electric Appliances has been ordered to compensate AUX Air Conditioning totaling about 167 million yuan ($26.31 million).
The judgment shows that both judgments revolve around a patent named “compressor”. The application date of the patent was August 11, 2000, and the original patentee was Toshiba Carrier Air Conditioning System Co., Ltd. In 2018, Toshiba transferred the right of the patent to AUX Air Conditioning while also transferring the right to pursue tort liability and obtain damages for third-party infringement before the transfer.
According to The Paper, Gree Electric Appliances said today that the current case is only the first instance, and Gree has filed an appeal.
Gree Electric Appliances said that the protection scope of the Japanese patent family for this patent is far smaller than that of the Chinese patent. According to the judgment of experts from subordinate units of the China National Intellectual Property Administration, its Chinese patent is unstable and should be deemed invalid. “At present, our company has filed a lawsuit with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court for the invalidation of the patent, pending trial by the court.”
According to Cailian Press, this afternoon, AUX responded that Gree Electric Appliances was recently awarded compensation of about 167 million yuan to AUX. For this, AUX had no response. “We will focus on the main business in the future and continue to increase investment in the fields of intelligent manufacturing and technological innovation.”
Gree Electric Appliances and AUX Air Conditioning have filed lawsuits on patent rights several times before. Gree Electric Appliances also sued AUX for patent infringement of air conditioners and was supported by the court for compensation. AUX was awarded the compensation of nearly 50 million yuan ($7.88 million) to Gree Electric Appliances in total.
What worries Gree more than lawsuits with AUX is Gree’s recent performance. The latest financial report shows that, in the third quarter of 2021, Gree Electric Appliances’s revenue was 47.083 billion yuan ($7.42 billion), a year-on-year decrease of 16.5%. The net profit attributed to parent company owner was 6.188 billion yuan ($974.63 million), a year-on-year decrease of 15.66%.
Recently, there has been a lot of news about Gree. The company controlled Yinlong New Energy to enter the field of new energy vehicles, and then released new mobile phones to promote the company’s diversification strategy. Some in the industry say these moves are designed to save the company from its current decline.