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Chinese Firm Wins Suit in US
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General Protecht, an electrical product manufacturer based in East China's Zhejiang Province, has won a three-year patent infringement lawsuit in the United States.


According to a Federal Court ruling in New Mexico, the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) products of General Protecht did not infringe upon the patents of the US company Leviton.


Beginning in April 2004, Leviton filed lawsuits against several customers of General Protecht in New Mexico, Florida and California, alleging several patent infringements of its products.


GFCI is a small electrical device often used in houses. They can reduce the risk of electrocution.


"It's a great win for General Protecht, which has always respected the intellectual property rights (IPR) of others," said Chen Wusheng, president of the company.


It shows a Chinese company, which conducts business in the US, can be treated fairly and impartially according to the rule of law, he added.


General Protecht is a specialized manufacturer of GFCI. All of its products are exported to countries such as the US and Canada. The products have been approved by Underwriter Laboratories Inc (UL) and Canadian Underwriter Laboratories Inc (CUL).


As a large-scale export enterprise, General Protecht has paid great attention to its patents. The company has obtained several invention patents and outward design patents in China as well as in the US, said Chen.


Chen also said the technologies of his company are more advanced than its US competitors and are popular with US consumers. Leviton simply wants to use its patent rights as a tool to stifle competition, Chen added.


The lawsuit has significantly affected General Protecht's business. Sales have plummeted sharply and the company has to pay hefty legal fees. However, it vowed not to back down, he said.


"It's a significant win for General Protecht. The company has set up a good example for other Chinese companies," said Quan Guotong, an analyst with Beijing High-tech IPR Research Institute.


(China Daily July 20, 2007)


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