BIC holds public hearing on first circuit trial of its new circuit trial mechanism
On Dec 14, the Beijing Internet Court (BIC) held a public hearing on the copyright and unfair competition dispute between Datatang, a Beijing-based data service company, and a Shanghai-based data service company Yinmu, with a collegial panel in accordance with the law.
Given that the facts of the case involved evidence materials that needed onsite verification, the trial was arranged in the BIC’s judge workstation in the Beijing Intellectual Property Protection Center (IPPC). And per request of enterprises in the Beijing pilot demonstration zone of data infrastructure systems, an online port was set up at the BIC's data rights circuit tribunal in the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area (ETDA). Representatives from the China National Intellectual Property Administration, the Beijing Municipal Intellectual Property Office (MIPO), the Beijing IPPC, related departments of the Beijing ETDA, and over 10 internet companies, including Huawei, attended the open hearing on and offline.
According to the plaintiff Datatang, as a sci-tech innovation enterprise specializing in data services in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), it has invested substantial human and financial resources on recording and collecting 1,505 hours of Mandarin Chinese voice data, and has the legitimate intellectual property rights and data-related interests of the data set, which can be used by enterprises, universities and other institutions to research and develop AI technologies such as voice recognition. Datatang licenses third parties to use the data and profits from the licensing fees. The defendant Yinmu, also a data services company in the AI field, illegally obtained the voice data owned by Datatang and disseminated it to the public on its official website. It should bear such civil liabilities as ceasing infringement and compensating the plaintiff's for their losses, Dadatang said.
The defendant argued that there was no legal basis for the protection of data property rights and interests that Dadatang claimed, that Dadatang had failed to prove that it had obtained individual consent for the sensitive personal information it collected, thus the obtained data should be deemed illegal. The data set involved was completely open-source data available on the internet, making it legally sourced. Yinmu contended that it has not infringed upon Dadatang's trading opportunities and would not gain any commercial benefits.
The hearing included the providing of evidence, cross-examination, debate and inquiry. The collegial panel focused on hearing full statements from both the plaintiff and defendant on the focuses of the dispute, and fully ascertained the relevant facts of the case. The verdict will be announced at a later date.
This is the first circuit trial case the BIC has handled since it established the "1+3" circuit trial mechanism, according to Li Wenchao, presiding judge of the case and head of the BIC's research office.
In 2023, to fully integrate into the capital's coordinated development and serve the building of Beijing into a major international sci-tech innovation center, the BIC set up a data rights circuit tribunal in the Beijing ETDA, and three judge workstations in the Beijing MIPO, the Airport Economic Zone of Beijing Capital International Airport, and the Zhongguancun Fengtai Science Park.