人民论坛

小溪细水汇集而成形成汹涌的大海洋


4条评论

各位,您说,这是不是弱肉强食?这是不是官抢民财?

justice now

不怕黑社会就怕社会黑

(中英文对照)Inventor forced by Mindef to close company over patent rights

国防部使用追索巨额赔偿款迫使专利权开发者关闭自己的公司

编者按:

1.本文文章转载自《公民在线》(THE ONLINECITIZEN“TOC”)网站。
http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/01/inventor-forced-by-mindef-to-close-company-over-patent-rights/

 2.行动党的国防部以其占有国家权势和机器和持有巨额的财富,采取了处处逼人的手段强行从陈医生自信开发并取得包括新加坡在内的9个国家专利权的认证准证的专利产品。陈医生以息事宁人的态度希望得到国防部对自己的专利权的尊重,结果,国防部却采取了处处逼人的卑鄙手段,反过来向陈医生提出了偿还巨额的律师费的索偿、将自己开发的专利权产品双手供奉给国防部;陈医生在无能力偿还和兑现国防部的这些要求的情况下,陈医生将面对的是:这项专利产品权的产品是在自己设立的公司名下拥有的资产,将由于他无能力满足对方的索偿要求,最终,公司将被迫破产。国防部将由此接管他的公司,进而‘理所当然’的以‘债权人’的身份接管了这家公司名下的产品专利权。

3.这起案件还在延烧!国防部已经通过国家总检查长引用‘防止骚扰法令’,提出要禁止陈医生继续就这起事件进行各种途径的诉求。

以下有关事件的报道.

Inventor forced by Mindef to close company over patent rights

国防部使用追索巨额赔偿款迫使专利权开发者关闭自己的公司

面对与国防部进行漫长和艰巨的有关产品侵权法律诉讼后,陈春铭医生,一位产品开发者和专业医生基于面对不断增加高昂的诉讼费用以及看来这是一场未有结局的诉讼案件,他决定撤销自己的诉讼案件。

 更加严重的情况是,国防部现在向他提出了58万元的法律诉诉讼费。这笔诉讼费用是要求作为撤销他的产品开发权和转让专利权给国防部。陈春铭医生对自己公司Mobilestats Technologies Pte Ltd的前景感到非常悲观。这家公司是拥有开发《营部流动流动救伤站》车(简称‘SWIFT’,下同。)产品开发权。

陈医生说:

“我已经非常伤心了。”“经过这起事件足于让我失去了对于新加坡是将成为环球产品开发权中心的信心。”

让他对这起事件更加心寒的是,他是从2013年起被委任为新加坡知识产权局(IPOS)的董事。他在撤销自己与国防部之间的诉讼案件后于2014年正月离开了IPOS办公室。

他在辞职信是这么写道:

“事实已经是证明,我自己同时也确信,在我们的政府高层中并没有真正的信念要把新加坡转变为环球知识产权中心。”

“我个人在最近的事件和过程中的遭遇已经告诉我,只要上层没有坚定信仰和国际化,目前我们所作的各种知识产权的努力只是嘴皮上的功夫。”

国际产品创新认证证书

陈医生和开发《及时流动遣送救护营站》的SWIFT产品的设计构想是源自2001年9月11日发生在美国的‘911‘事件。当时电视上播放着‘911’事件的画面时,让他意识到,在这样的紧急情况下需要一种以流动车辆为基础的医药设备流动救护车,这样将有助于进行救护。

 接着,他向不少于9个国家申请专利权,所进行申请国的知识产权(IP)国家几乎成功获得批准。这包括了他自己的祖国新加坡。

他是在2002年9月27日向新加坡知识产权局提出这个产品的专利权申请的。经过具有良好信誉的Danish Patent and Trademark Office数次的验证,他的专利产品最终在2005年7月6日获得知识产权局认可证书。

陈医生继续向其他8个国家和地区申请产品专利权。他也取得了澳大利亚、日本、台湾、以色列、马来西亚、香港、美国和欧洲的产品专利权认可证书。

在这个漫长的认证SWIFT的产品专利权过程中,他向新加坡民防部队展示的产品的概念。在2014年,新加坡民防部队总监James Tan先生要求他建造一个标准型的产品作为使用的目的。

新加坡民防部队终于在2016年招投标供应商生产SWIFT产品。SWIFT的产品在招投标的文件里面列明有参与招投标的供应商在决定参与这个招投标前,必须与陈医生的公司Mobilestats签署专利权协议。SWIFT将会为他们的运作提供服务和向公众宣传展示这是属于“新加坡民防部队”开发的标志。

“这是需要强化的”

 无论如何,陈医生已经对国防部失去兴趣了。他在2005 的贸易交易会上与新加坡武装部队的医疗队主管Wong Yue Sie(医生)准将说起有关SWIFT的医疗车没有在贸易交易会上展出的事。

 Wong Yue Sie准将告诉他,

 ‘(SWIFT)的车子必须进行改装以适合于新加坡武装部队。’陈医生回顾说,‘例如,车子必须涂上伪装迷彩色和需要加固。他告诉Wong Yue Sie准将,这样的改装不是问题。原设计的车子是一个模型。’

 ‘他告诉我,他将会与新加坡民防部队联系。同时,他告诉我,或者,我们可能自己进行改装’或者,他说话的大意是这样。我记得非常清楚,因为我记得,我告诉他,你不可以这么做(自行改装)因为这辆车(的设计)是拥有专利权的。’

 从那时开始,陈医生再也没听到来自国防部的讯息。无论如何,在2009年,防御科学与技术代理发出了采购‘流动救护车’的招标通告。当时,招标书要求参与招投标者需要取得知识产权局有关产品产权执照的协议书。防御科学与技术代理的招标书并没有像新加坡民防部队一样,特别说明陈医生是拥有专利权的SWIFT的产品。

陈医生说,

 ‘事实上,我并不知道他们已经侵犯了我的知识出产权。我是在2011年的国庆节展览会上看见自己所开发的那辆SWFIT。’这部车子款式几乎与2011年国庆节检阅同样类型的车子一样。很明显,这是一部属于全面投入运作的型号。

蓄意骚扰

 陈医生决定通过法律途径向国防部追究。

‘我不可以找它的供应商——他们只会把它丢回给国防部,因为他们是通过设置招投标的性质的。在任何情况下,这是国防部为这部车子定下了规格,所以,国防部必然是拥有着设计这部车子的产权。’

 通过传真发给陈医生的律师

令人奇怪的是,在双方交换法律文件期间。陈医生收到了一封署名Syntech公司的信件。这封信件的日期是2009年3月,是收信人的地址是国防部。这封信清楚的概述了它将不会支付任何费用给陈医生专利权。Syntech公司是怎么写的:

 ‘我注意到您关心在编号SG Publication Number 113446有关可能侵犯他们的专利权的问题。我们与律师一起研究他们的设计模型与我们提交所提交的文件编号No. 7108105610的设计的医疗庇护所(Medical Shelter)后,我们的结论是,我们并没有侵犯他的专利权。而且,我们也认为,他们的设计缺乏新颖/或者独创性……基于此,他们是很难为自己的专利权辩护的。’

 陈医生说,

‘显然的,国防部是注意到有关侵权的问题的,并要求Syntech公司谈述有关这方面的问题。当时,这家公司决定不向我们获取专利权执照。’‘为什么国防部让他们怎么做呢?反而,他们已经实际上的确定我们的专利权是可以能够挑战的。(我们的专利权)是在新加坡知识产权局确认了它的设计专利权后的。’

 消耗战

 陈医生所未预想到的是,这个案件已经拖延了2年,造成他耗费了大量的金钱,而实际上超过任何许可证所能够获取的成功受到案例。

陈医生说,

‘这是一场消耗战。’‘国防部不仅有总检察署为他们辩护,他们也接触了Wong and Leow律师事务所。为什么他们需要这么多的律师协助他们?他们一直在拖延这起案件,他们辩称,证人没空。这段期间,他们的拖延都是在造成增加我的诉讼费用。我已经没有剩余的金钱进行这场官司了。’

 最终,基于难于承担高昂的诉讼费,陈医生在2014年1月份决定放弃诉讼。

 国防部表面上要‘解决’这起案件,实质上是通过骚扰的手法。陈医生提出了将解决案件的条件,各方支付自己的诉讼费。他将不会向国防部索取已经建造(在国庆节检阅展示的)车子专利权费。他将要求国防部支付接下来要建造的车子的专利权费用。陈医生认为,这是一个公平合理的建议。

 无论如何,在法院安排开庭前2个星期,国防部突然扔下一颗‘反建议’的炸弹:他们要陈医生支付国防部的律师费。放弃索偿支付专利权费的一切要求,并且,把他在新加坡开发的产品转让给国防部。同时,他不再是SWIFT原创者与其他开发者在世界各地所拥有的权利。SWIFT必须把设计专利权和在其他7个国家已经注册的专利权一并交给国防部。

这是极其奇怪的事。尽管法院在2014年10月份剥夺了陈医生作为SWIFT产品开发者的权专利权力。但是,根据他获得的讯息,那个代理商到目前为止尚未到新加坡知识产权局完成撤销有关SWIFT的专利权的法定手续。

陈医生说:

‘我决定放弃诉讼的条件是,只要国防部停止侵犯我的知识产权,我将不会向国防部索偿他们已经建造的的那部车子。’‘反过来,他们却要向我提出追索他们的律师费以及同意给予他们无偿使用权。’

在这期间,Wong and Leow LLC 律师事务所已经向国防部开出了58万元的律师费。陈医生哪有钱去支付国防部这笔律师费。这样一来,陈医生的公司Mobilestats将陷入破产。这样一来,就等于陈医生的公司的债权人可以接管这家公司的专利权,直到国防部决定撤销SWIFT在知识产权局注册的专利权为止。

陈医生说,

‘坦白地说,我并不知道国防部对SWIFT的专利权有什么计划。’‘我所知道的是,国防部已经仿造了58部与(SWIFT专利设计)一样款式的车子。这是为什么?我之前是一名医疗部队的营长。根据我个人的估算,整个武装部队活动所需的SWIFT开发的医疗车子数量是12——14部。为什么需要建造58部车子?’

 《公民在线》网站已经致函给国防部对此文章发表评论。当他们回应时,我们将会刊登他们的回应。

 及时消息:国防部已经通过面书的cyberpioneer magazine做出了回应(请在此阅读详情)。

TOC编者按语:

早前的一篇文章的观点设涉及到有关 指责Wong & Leow LLC的是没有根据的。照这篇文章的内容已经更正。我们仅此向 Wong & Leow LLC无保留的表达歉意。

Inventor forced by Mindef to close company over patent rights

 JANUARY 15, 2015 BY HOWARD LEE IN TOC REPORTS • 80 COMMENTS
By Howard Lee

Facing a long-drawn and uphill lawsuit with the Ministry of Defence over a patent issue, Dr Ting Choon Meng, an innovator and medical professional, decided to withdraw his case due to mounting legal costs and a battle for which he saw no end in sight.

Even worse, given that Mindef is now demanding about S$580,000 in legal fees, to have his patent revoked and assign the rights to the Ministry, Dr Ting is looking at the very grim prospects of closing down his company Mobilestats Technologies Pte Ltd, the company holding the patent rights to his invention, the Station With Immediate First-Aid Treatment (SWIFT) vehicle.

“I am completely disheartened,” said Dr Ting. “After this incident, suffice to say that I have lost confidence in Singapore’s ability to be a global IP hub.”

What made his case even more poignant is that Dr Ting was appointed to the board of directors for the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) since April 2013. He has since stepped down in January 2014, after he withdrew his case against Mindef.

 “It has come to a point whereby I am honestly convinced that there is no true conviction right at the top of our government for Singapore to be transformed into a Global IP Hub,” he had written in his resignation letter.

 “Recent events and processes in my own encounter have unfortunately shown me that without real conviction and internalization from the top, what we are trying to do in IPOS are but lip service.”

International certification for innovation

Dr Ting and his partners invented SWIFT, effectively a quick-deployment first aid station for crisis use, after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US. Television footage of 9/11 made him realise that a vehicle-based medical facility would be a great game-changer in managing casualties during crises.

Subsequently, he applied for patent rights for his invention in no less than nine countries and successfully obtained the rights to intellectual property (IP) in almost all of them, including his home country Singapore.

His application to IPOS was filed on 27 December 2002, whereby it received a few rounds of checks through the reputed Danish Patent and Trademark Office, before it was finally approved on 6 July 2005.

Dr Ting and his partners continued to file for patent rights in eight other countries and regions, and received similar approvals in Australia, Japan, Israel, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the United States of America and Europe.

During the long journey of certifying the IP for SWIFT, Dr Ting and his partners presented the concept to Commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force Singapore Civil Defence Force, Mr James Tan, in 2004 and was asked to help build a prototype for trial purposes.

 SCDF’s SWIFT vehicle (Image by Kenneth Lai)

SCDF eventually called for a tender in 2006 for vendors to manufacture SWIFT, and within the tender documents, indicated that interested bidders need to first sign a licensing agreement with Mobilestats before SCDF would consider their bid. The SWIFT vehicles went on to serve its operational needs, and were publicised several times as an icon of “SCDF innovation”.

“It needs to be ruggedized”

However, Dr Ting had a less pleasant experience with Mindef. At a trade fair in 2005, Dr Ting spoke to BG (Dr) Wong Yue Sie, then chief of the SAF Medical Corps, about the SWIFT vehicle that was on display.

 “He told me that changes would have to be made to the vehicle if it were to be adapted for SAF’s use,” recounted Dr Ting. “For example, the vehicle would have to be painted to camouflage and it needed to be ruggedized. I told him that such changes would not be a problem, but I informed him the vehicle was patented.”

 “He told me that he would contact SCDF and said to me that, “maybe we can do it on our own” or words to that effect. I remember that clearly because I remember telling him that he could not do that because the vehicle was patented.”

Dr Ting never heard from Mindef since. However, in April 2009, the Defence Science and Technology Agency called a tender to procure a “Mobile First-Aid Post”. While the tender required bidders to obtain licensing agreements for IP, DSTA’s tender did not specifically mention Dr Ting’s SWIFT, as SCDF’s has done. The contract was eventually awarded to Syntech Engineers Pte Ltd for production, which did not contact Dr Ting or his partner about the patent.

MINDEF’s SWIFT vehicle

“In fact, I didn’t know that they infringed our IP until we saw the vehicle exhibited at National Day Parade 2011,” said Dr Ting. It was supposedly the same vehicle that was featured in the 2011 National Day Parade, apparently as a fully operational model.

Intention to infringe?

Dr Ting decided to pursue the legal route with Mindef. “I can’t take it up with the vendor – they will just throw it back to Mindef, because they set out the tender. In any case, it was Mindef who drew up the specifications, they decided on the vehicle, so they should uphold the IP.”

Fax sent to Dr Ting’s lawyers

Curiously, in the exchange of legal letters, Dr Ting received a letter from Syntech, dated March 2009 and addressed to Mindef, outlined the company’s clear intent not to pay any heed to Dr Ting’s patent. Syntech wrote:

 “We noted your concern with regards to the possible infringement of their patent rights under their SG Publication Number 113446. Together with our legal advisors, we have studied their patent design as compared to our Medical Shelter design submitted under Tender Ref No. 7108105610. We have conclude that there is no infringement of their patent rights. Moreover, we have also concluded that their patent lacked novelty and/or inventive step… As such, it will be very difficult for them to defend their patent rights.”

 “It’s clear that Mindef is aware of potential infringement and had asked Syntech about it, but the company has decided not to obtain the IP license from us,” said Dr Ting. “Why did Mindef let that happen? Instead, they have effectively decided that our IP can be contested. And this was after IPOS has certified the patent!”

 War of attrition

What Dr Ting did not count on was that the case would drag on for two years, costing him a fortune that effectively outweighed any licensing fee he would have been able to obtain from a successful case.

 “It’s a war of attrition,” he said.

 “Mindef not only had the Attorney General defending them, they also contracted Wong and Leow. Why did they need so many lawyers? They kept delaying the case, claiming that their witness was not available. Meanwhile, every delay cost me in legal fees. I have no more money to fight this case.”

Eventually, Dr Ting decided to drop the case in January 2014, as the legal cost was too high for him to bear.

Just as perturbing was Mindef’s actions to “settle” the case. Dr Ting had offered them settlement terms indicating that each party pay for their legal fees, that he would not claim IP license fees for the vehicles Mindef has already built and allowing them royalty-free use for up to three years. However, charges will apply for subsequent vehicles built by Mindef. Fairly reasonable, he thought.

However, just two weeks before the scheduled trial, Mindef dropped a bombshell with their “counter-offer”: Dr Ting had to pay for Mindef legal costs, drop all claims to IP, and surrender his patent for SWIFT in Singapore as well as for the other seven countries the patent is registered in.

This meant that Dr Ting not only lost the right to claim damages for the original infringement, but can no longer exercise his patent rights to SWIFT with other developers anywhere else in the world.

Just as strangely, although the courts awarded Mindef the right to revoke Dr Ting’s patent for SWIFT in October 2014, he heard from his sources that the agency has to date not gone to IPOS to complete the revocation.

 “When I dropped the case, my conditions was that I would not claim for the vehicles Mindef has made, so long as they stop infringing on my IP,” said Dr Ting. “Instead, they countered by demanding that I pay their legal fees, and grant them free use of the patent.”

Meanwhile, Wong and Leow LLC slapped him with a legal bill of about S$580,000. Dr Ting had no more money to pay, and would likely have to put the company in receivership. Which means any party that takes over Mobilestats would still have the IP rights to SWIFT, until Mindef chooses to revoke it with IPOS.

 “I honestly have no idea what Mindef is now planning to do with the IP for SWIFT,” said Dr Ting. “What I do know is that Mindef has produced up to 58 copies of the same vehicles. What for? I was a battalion commander in the Medical Corps before, and by my estimate, the entire SAF would only need about 12 to 14 SWIFT vehicles for its entire operational needs. Why produce 58?”

The Online Citizen has sent a request to Mindef to comment on this article. We will publish their response, if any, when they reply

Update: MINDEF has issued a response via its cyberpioneer magazine facebook. (read here)

Editor’s note:

An earlier version of the Article had made statements against Wong & Leow LLC which were false and without foundation and that the Article has therefore since been corrected. TOC unreservedly apologises to Wong & Leow LLC for the statements.