8.7.3 Permanent injunction
Once patent infringement is established, as discussed in Section 8.5, the patentee may seek a court order preventing the defendant from manufacturing, using or assigning the defendant’s products or using its processes.159 The patentee may also seek an order for the defendant to take actions, for example, to destroy the products by which the infringement had been committed.160 These are different forms of permanent injunctions. In this section, we focus on the issues arising in relation to injunctions.
There are five elements to a permanent injunction.
The person seeking an injunction against infringement (i.e., the patentee). The plaintiff must be registered as the patentee when argument at the fact-finding trial is closed. A nonexclusive licensee is not entitled to file a claim for an injunction against infringement because they do not have the exclusive rights to practice the patent. If a group of persons jointly own the patent right, one of them may independently file for an injunction because the exercise of the claim is an act of preservation.
The party subject to the injunctive order (i.e., the person committing infringement). The patentee may seek an injunction against a person who infringes or is likely to infringe on their patent right by practicing the patented invention without legitimate authority to do so. Nonetheless, a request for disposal or other actions under Article 126(2) of the Patent Act should be made to the person who owns or has the right to dispose of the infringing product or facilities subject to the destruction order.161 In cases where a group of persons has practiced the patented invention, and such acts individually constitute patent infringement,162 the patentee may seek an injunction on each act against each of the infringers.
Practicing the patented invention for business purposes. To constitute patent infringement, the infringing party must have exploited the patented invention for business purposes. Practicing the invention for personal or household purposes does not constitute infringement. As long as the patented invention was practiced for business purposes, the number and scale of the practice, as well as whether any profit was derived therefrom, are irrelevant. Implementation for nonprofit business operations is still a practice for business purposes.
Specification of the infringing act and the defendant’s duty to disclose the specific act. The plaintiff should specify each infringing act committed by the defendant. When the defendant disputes the specified infringing act, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff. The Patent Act requires the defendant to disclose their actual conduct, and, where they fail to present the specific conduct without any justifiable reason, the court may deem the specific infringing conduct as alleged by the plaintiff to be true.
Infringement or likelihood of infringement. The patentee may seek an injunction against the implementation of the patented invention by the other party if the other party is currently committing an infringing act or, even if not, is likely to commit the infringing act in the future.
There are three elements to the scope of a permanent injunction.
Claim for an injunction. Once the aforementioned requirements for patent infringement are met, the court’s default move is to automatically issue a permanent injunction as per the plaintiff’s claim, usually to prohibit the practices of the other party that amount to patent infringement. If the patented invention pertains to a part or component of the defendant’s product, issues may arise as to what extent the permanent injunction covers the whole product and whether the plaintiff may also claim for destruction of the whole product in addition to the injunction. The law on this issue is unsettled. Some lower courts have issued injunctions only against the infringing part and have ordered the destruction of the manufacturing equipment on the ground that the infringing part could be detached and separately traded from the rest of the product.163
Claim for disposal of infringing products. The patentee may demand the disposal of the products that constituted infringement (including the products obtained by the infringement if the relevant invention is a product by process invention), the removal of the facilities used for the infringing act, and other measures necessary to prevent infringement.164 A claim for the disposal of such products must accompany a claim for injunction and may not be independently sought. The products to be disposed of should be clearly specified in an appendix. The court will dismiss a claim for any unspecified part in the plaintiff’s demand in the complaint.
Other measures necessary to prevent infringement. The Patent Act allows the patentee to claim for “other measures necessary to prevent infringement.” However, a far-fetched and unlimited interpretation of the term may cause an excessive burden to the other party beyond the protectable scope of the patent right. The need for such measures should be determined after balancing the potential disadvantage to the other party if the measure is issued and the potential disadvantage to the patentee if the claim is dismissed.165
An example of a court order for an injunction against infringement is as follows:
- A. The defendant shall not produce, use, assign, lease, import, offer to assign or lease, or display to assign or lease each product described in [Appendix 1] PRODUCTS practiced by the defendant.
- B. The defendant shall discard finished goods and semi-finished goods (articles that have the structure of finished goods but are not yet completed) of each product described in [Appendix 1] PRODUCTS practiced by the defendant in the head office, branch office, office, business office, plant, or warehouse of the defendant. The defendant shall also discard all equipment used solely for the production of the goods.