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TOKYO -- Japanese tire maker Bridgestone won a patent lawsuit against Guangzhou-based Wanli Tire. This marks the second time in less than a year that the company has prevailed against Chinese manufacturers in its war on intellectual property infringement, which is increasing in China.
Tokyo-based Bridgestone said the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court in April reached a favorable ruling regarding a patent infringement lawsuit Bridgestone filed in October 2015. The suit alleged Wanli of manufacturing and selling tires with tread patterns used in Bridgestone's Dueler A/T REVO 2 tires for sports utility vehicles.
The company said the court has ordered Wanli to stop manufacturing and sales activities that are in violation of Bridgestone's patent rights, dispose of related molds, and pay Bridgestone 600,000 yuan ($88,000) in compensation.
Bridgestone's victory follows last September's success in a lawsuit alleging infringement of the company's tire-tread design rights against Chinese manufacturer Triangle Tyre.
Intellectual property infringement cases are on the rise in China as the nation's judicial system works to reform IP protection.
In response to claims from multinational corporations that China was not adequately protecting IP rights, Beijing announced in 2014 plans to open intellectual property courts. The Shanghai Intellectual Property Court is one of these. There are two other courts in Beijing and Guangzhou.
According to China's 2015 White Paper on intellectual property rights protection, local people's courts accepted 109,386 civil IP cases of the first instance and concluded 101,324 cases, a year-on-year increase of 14.49% and 7.22%, respectively. Of these, 11,607 were patent cases, up 20.3% from the following year.
Patent filings have also been increasing in China. The World Intellectual Property Organization said in a report released last year that China's patent office received 1,101,864 filings in 2015. This made it "the first office to receive more than a million applications in a single year -- including both filings from residents in China as well as from overseas innovators seeking patent protection inside China."
Bridgestone operates six tire factories in China, two of which are used for retreading aircraft tires. In 2016, the company produced 120,000 tons of rubber in China.