标记有外国专利号的产品在美国销售所涉及的法律问题

作者:Gregory B. Gulliver
译者:胡群林

From: Gregory B. Gulliver
Re: Marking products sold in the U.S. with foreign patent numbers.
This memo answers the following questions; 1) is marking a product sold in the United States with a foreign patent number allowed; 2) if allowed, what is the requirement; and 3) if improperly done, what is the liability.
With regards to marking a product with a foreign patent number, most countries with patent laws allow marking a product. But, it is a common theme in most patent laws to make it illegal to deceive others about patent protection. With regards to United States patent laws, 35 U.S.C. §292 addresses marking a patented product. 35 U.S.C. §292 states:

(a) Whoever, without the consent of the patentee, marks upon, or affixes to, or uses in advertising in connection with anything made, used, offered for sale, or sold by same person within the United States, or imported by the person into the United States, the name or any imitation of the name of the patentee, the patent number, or the words “patent,” “patentee,” or the like, with the intent of counterfeiting or imitating the mark of the patentee, or of deceiving the public and inducing them to believe that the thing was made, offered for sale, sold, or imported into the United States by or with the consent of the patentee; or Whoever marks upon, or affixes to, or uses in advertising in connection with any unpatented article the word “patent” or any word or number importing the same is patented, for the purpose of deceiving the public; or Whoever marks upon, or affixes to, or uses in advertising in connection with any article the words “patent applied for,” “patent pending,” or any word importing that an application for patent has been made, when no application for patent has been made, or if made, is not pending, for the purpose of deceiving the public – Shall be fined not more than $500 for every such offense.
(b) Any person may sue for the penalty, in which event one-half shall go to the person suing and the other to the use of the United States.

Thus, the use of the term “patent” or “patent applied for”/”patent pending” for the purpose of deceiving the public is illegal in the United States. So, the answer to the first question is that a product sold in the United States may be marked with a foreign patent number as long as the marking is not for the purpose of deceiving the public.
Now turning to the second question of the requirements for marking a product sold in the United States with a foreign patent number, we must look to the foreign countries patent laws that issued the foreign patent. For example, if a patent is issued in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) the marking laws of PRC must be followed when marking a product. The relevant laws in the PRC patent laws are article 15 and article 83. Article 15 provides that a “patentee has the right to use patent marking and to indicate the number of the patent on the patented product or on the packaging of that products” and Article 83 of the Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law requires that such marking be in a prescribed manner. The prescribed manner is:

During the effective period of a PRC patent, patentees or licensees (if permitted to do so under the license) may place a patent marking and patent number on the patented products, products obtained directly using the patented method, or the packaging of such products. All patentees and licensees who choose to exercise this right must follow the requirements in the Provisions. These are:
· The type of patent must be specified in Chinese, i.e., (PRC Invention Patent), (PRC Utility Model Patent) and (PRC External Design Patent).
· A product obtained directly using a patented method or the packaging of such product should carry a statement in Chinese to the effect that “[This] product is a product obtained pursuant to a patented method.”
· Other words, graphical symbols, etc. may be used alongside the prescribed patent markings and patent numbers so long as they and their manner of use will not mislead the public.
· The patent number indicated must be the exact number issued by SIPO.
The Provisions provide that the local patent administrative authority can order rectification if the use of patent markings and patent numbers fails to comply with the Provisions. Further, improper use of patent markings and patent numbers that amounts to the passing off of patent rights is punishable under Article 59 of the Patent Law with fines of up to RMB 50,000.

Therefore, in order to use a marking for a patent issued by a foreign country, the patentee must follow the marking requirements of the issuing country.
The reason for following the marking requirements of the foreign country is the only purpose for marking a product sold in the United States with a foreign patent number is to receive protection in that foreign country. The foreign patent conveys no rights to the patentee in the United States. If the foreign countries marking laws are not followed when marking a product with the patent issued from that country, then there is an argument that the marking was done with intent to deceive because no protection in the United States or in any other country is accomplished by the marking.
To answer the last question about liability we must examine the elements for determining mismarking. Interpreting 35 U.S.C. §292, the four elements that must be proved for violation are: (1) a marking importing that an object is patented (2) falsely affixed to (3) an unpatented article (4) with intent to deceive the public. 263 F. Supp. 2d at 791.
If a foreign patent number is affixed to product sold in the United States and it does not follow the patent laws for marking from the issuing country, then we believe that all the elements are found. The fine in the United States for deceiving the public about a product being patented is $500 per occurrence.
Mismarking a product may violate other federal and state laws dealing with false advertising and unfair competition, such as section 43 of the Lanham Act. A product that is mismarked or represented as having some type of patent rights in the United States when no rights exist (such as with a foreign patent number that does not follow the marking laws of the issuing country) is possibly in violation of these laws.

1)标记有外国专利号的产品能否在美国销售?
2)如果可以,需要满足什么条件?
3)如果违反了相关的条件,有什么责任.

关于在一个产品上标记外国专利号的问题,多数有专利法的国家都允许在产品上标记专利。 但绝大部分专利法律共通的主题是将在专利保护方面欺诈公众规定为非法。在美国专利法律方面,美国法典35法案292条规定了专利产品的标记问题:

(a)未经专利权人之同意,意图伪造或仿造专利权人之标示,或意图欺瞒公众,使公众误认其产品为专利权人于美国境内所制造、要约销售或销售,或由专利权人输入至美国境内,或经其同意者,而将专利权人之姓名或仿名、专利号码,或“专利”、“专利权人”等类似之字样、标示、粘贴或使用于其所制造、使用、要约销售、销售于美国境内或输入美国境内之任何产品;或以欺瞒公众为目的,将“专利”或任何隐含已获准专利之字样或号码,标示、粘贴或使用于未准专利产品之广告上;或以欺瞒公众为目的,于申请专利前,或虽申请而已遭核驳之状态下,将“专利申请中”,或“专利审查中”,或隐含专利已提出申请等字样,标示、粘贴或使用于其产品之广告上者-每一违反行为,处五百元以下之罚金。
(b)任何人均得诉请前项罚则,于该情况下,告诉人可得罚金之一半, 而另一半则归美国政府所有。

因此,在美国以欺骗公众为目的在产品上使用“专利”或“申请中的专利”/“审查中的专利”字样是非法的,第一个问题的答案应该是:标记有外国专利号可以在美国销售,但前提必须是此一标记行为不是以欺骗公众的目的。
现在转向第二个问题,将标记有外国专利号的产品在美国销售需要满足什么条件?我们必须考虑到授予该专利权的相应外国法律, 举例来说,如果该专利权是依据中华人民共和国(大陆)的专利法而被授予的,那么在产品上标记专利号就必须遵守中华人民共和国专利法的相关规定。中华人民共和国专利法中与此相关的是第15条和第83条。 第15条规定,专利权人有权在其专利产品或者该产品的包装上标明专利标记和专利号。而且专利法实施细则第83条还规定:专利权人依照专利法第十五条的规定,在其专利产品或者该产品的包装上标明专利标记的,应当按照国务院专利行政部门规定的方式予以标明。此处所述“规定的方式”是指:

在中国专利有效期内,专利权人或被许可人(如果依据许可合同得到授权)有权在专利产品、依照专利方法直接获得的产品、及该产品的包装上标注专利标志或专利号上。所有行使此权利的所有专利权人和被许可人同时必须使其行为符合相应的规定:
* 采用中文标注专利权的类别,例如中华人民共和国发明专利、 中华人民共和国实用新型专利、中华人民共和国外观设计专利。
* 在直接利用专利方法获得的产品上或其包装上必须用中文注明:以专利方法获得的产品
* 其他文字、图形可以与规定的专利标志和专利号一起使用,但前提是这些文字、图形本身及其使用方式不得造成对公众的误导
* 必须正确无误地使用国家知识产权局所授予的专利号
按照中国专利法第59条的规定,地方专利管理部门发现有不按照规定使用专利标志和专利号的情形时,可以责令改正;不当使用专利标志和专利号,甚至企图假冒专利的,将遭致不低于50000元人民币的罚款。

因此,要在产品上使用外国所授予的专利,专利权人必须遵循该授予专利国家的相应法律规定。
遵循外国专利标记要求的原因,也即在某种在美国销售的产品上标注外国专利号的目的,都是在该外国受到专利保护。因外国授予的专利权不能赋予美国的专利权人任何权利,所以在某产品上标注外国专利却又不遵循该外国标注专利的相关法律的,该标注行为不能从美国或任何其他国家得到保护,而应被视为是企图对公众进行欺诈。
为解决最后一个关于不当标注的责任问题,我们必须检视不当标记行为成立所应满足的要件。按照美国法典35法案292条的解释,该四要件为:1、表明某物体具有专利权的标志2、虚假地粘附到3、一个未获专利的物品4、其目的为欺骗公众。
如果某种在美国销售的产品上标记着一个外国专利号,但该标记行为没有遵循授予此专利的国家的相关法律,我们可以认为所有的违法要件都已具备。在美国,就产品专利欺骗公众的,每次将给予500美元的罚款。
依据兰哈姆法案第43章,在产品上不当地使用标记还可能触犯联邦和州的虚假广告和不公平竞争法,在某种产品上标注或表明其享有某种联邦所保护的专利权,但实际上这种专利权却不存在的时候(比如有专利号却没有按照专利权授予国法律规定正确标记的情形)都有可能触犯这些法律。