Korea Introduces Treble Damages in Infringement Cases and Reverses the Burden of Proof
韓國《專利法》修法導入懲罰性賠償制度，自2019年7月9日起，侵害他人專利權、或專屬授權的行為若是出於故意 (intentional infringement of patent rights or exclusive license)，法院得科以懲罰性賠償，金額最高可達認定損失的 3 倍，除了充分賠償受害人，更意在遏止產業歪風—–不肯協商（支付）合理權利金，而是先侵權再說。
Korea has officially adopted punitive damages for willful infringements of a patent right or a trade secret. Effective July 9, 2019, any intentional infringement of a patent right or its exclusive license in Korea shall be imposed punitive damages. The amount is up to three times the damages recognized by the court. The adoption of punitive measures is to ensure that the infringed right holders can be fully compensated and to curb unethical business practices in which competing market players prefer to infringing and paying damages, rather than negotiating and paying the appropriate licensing fees as provided by law.
這次修法由大韓民國國會 (National Assembly) 於2018年12月7日通過，內容也包括侵權訴訟的舉證責任逆轉。未來修法生效後，侵權訴訟過程中，被控侵權方若不能提出充分證據，說明自身正當性，法院得認定被控告的侵權行為成立。
This new provision was included in an amendment bill of the Korean Patent Act and was passed by the National Assembly of Korea on December 7, 2018. The amendment bill also shifts the burden of proof, in patent infringement litigation, to the party denying a specific act of the alleged infringement. If the accused party fails to justify the specific act with sufficient evidence, the court may assume the allegedly infringing act to be true.
目前韓國《專利法》規定，專利權人若提出侵權訴訟，需承擔舉證責任，負責鑑別侵權產品或行為。不過實務上，那些證據往往很難透過公開方式取得，被告僅需否認到底，專利權人也無可奈何。韓國2016年曾修改《專利法》第132條 (Submission of Materials) 及《民事訴訟法》規定，允許專利權人要求法院，下令被控侵權方提出必要資料，以鑑定是否侵權，但是未帶來明顯成效。
Under the current Patent Act, the burden of proving a specific act of infringement in patent litigation lies with the accuser. The right holder has the obligation to identify an infringing product or service; but, in most cases, such evidence is not publicly or easily available. The defendant may win the lawsuit by simply denying the allegation. The Act and the Korean Civil Procedure Code were amended in 2016 so that the court may order the alleged infringer to produce materials necessary to verify the alleged infringement. It however doesn’t bring a substantial change in the situation.
Eight Factors in Damage Calculations
According to the newly added provisions, Articles 128 (8) and 128 (9) of the Korean Patent Act, the court will consider the following eight factors in determining whether the act of infringement is willful or intentional, as well as the amount of damages to be awarded.
- whether an infringer is in a dominant position (superior status);
- the degree to which an infringer recognized the willfulness of his misconduct or potential damages that a Plaintiff may sustain;
- the scope of damages suffered by a Patentees;
- economic benefits that an infringer obtained as a result of the infringing act;
- the period and frequency of the infringing act;
- penalties arising from the infringing act;
- the scope of an infringer’s assets; and
- the degree of remedial efforts by an infringer.
The adoption of treble damages for willful infringement is expected to redress certain distortions in the technology market and to encourage licensing between companies, as well as aid the infringed right holders to sufficiently recover their damages through litigation. The provisions regarding the punitive damages will be applicable to infringements occurring after the effective date of the revised Acts.
- 韓國《專利法》2013 年中英對照版 (Act No. 11690, Mar. 23, 2013)
- 韓國《專利法》2016 年英文版 (Act No.14112, 29. Mar, 2016., Partial Amendment)
- Lee International IP & Law Group, Korea Introduces Punitive Damages , Newsletter No. Spring 2019
- Cheol Hwan Kim, Jeong Hoon Hwang, Hae Ju Kim, Hyeong Joo Lim, Jin Son and Samuel SungMok Lee, Korea Strengthens Protections of Patents and Trade Secrets – Treble Damages, Changes in Burdens of Proof, and More, from the original on 18 December 2018. Retrieved 16 April, 2019.
- Dong-Jae LEE, Patentee’s Alleviated Burden of Proof in Patent Infringement Lawsuit under Recent Revisions of the Korean Patent Act, Retrieved 30 April, 2019
「懲罰性損害賠償」 (punitive damages) 是一種損害賠償金，相對於「補償性損害賠償金」 (compensatory damages) ，前者適用於被告惡意、故意、欺詐或放任之方式致使原告受損，原告可以獲得「實際損害賠償金」(actual damages) 之外的損害賠償金；「補償性損害賠償金」(compensatory damages) 則泛指補償實際及精神損失、傷害等一切損害賠償金，但不包括懲罰性損害賠償金。說明參考《元照英美法詞典》