Tens of millions of user platform data resources were used, the court ruled | unfair competition dispute case

"Together to obtain infringement cases using data sets such as stickers, effects, templates, etc."



How should the data set formed through continuous investment and operation be "brought to power"?


Many of the data of the short video clip platform involved in the case are uploaded by users, and are public information, and can be searched online. Will the use of these data be infringed?


Recently, the court of Liangjiang New Area (Free Trade Zone) concluded an infringement case involving the acquisition and use of stickers, special effects, templates and other data sets, which is the first case of unfair competition on short video clip platforms in Chongqing.



Review of the case

The plaintiff is the operator of the APP. "Clip" APP is a video editing software that provides short video templates, stickers, special effects and other materials, and re-spreads short videos created by users using the above materials. The plaintiff, as the developer and operator of the application "clipping", has paid a lot of manpower and material resources to promote the application, accumulate data resources and gather traffic effects.
The "Cut the same model" APP operated by the defendant provides the same service as the cut the same model module under the plaintiff's "cut the same model" APP. After comparison, many of the data resources such as stickers, special effects and templates provided by the defendant to the user are completely consistent with the plaintiff. The same APP operated by the defendant does not have any user work upload entry, and there is no evidence that the above data resources have a legitimate source.
The plaintiff believes that the two parties are competitors of the short video clip platform, and the defendant continues to carry a large number of materials such as stickers, special effects and templates of the plaintiff's "clip" APP through technical means, and displays and disseminates them on the "clip" APP, directly replacing the plaintiff's "clip" APP to provide services to users, and the plaintiff believes that the defendant quickly obtains users and traffic. Seizing the market share of the plaintiff, reducing the competitive advantage and trading opportunities of the plaintiff company, causing economic losses to the plaintiff and constituting unfair competition.
The defendant argued that the defendant had adopted a business model of duplicate competition common in the industry. The "cut the same" APP can not be at the same level of competition with the "cut" APP at the head in terms of function realization level, use scenario, publicity and promotion degree, business scale, product update cycle and other business indicators, and will not reduce the competitive advantage of the "cut" APP or even constitute a substantive replacement for it, so it does not constitute unfair competition.

02 Court Decision

The court of Liangjiang New Area (Free Trade Zone) held that data resources such as short videos, short video templates, stickers and special effects in the APP were presented in a non-original way. Although the above data is a resource open to the public, it can be manually collected and integrated as background data for application users to choose and use, which can make the application have a competitive advantage by virtue of its diversity of resources, convenience of access and efficiency of re-creation. Therefore, the data set can enable the plaintiff to form a competitive advantage in market competition. And bring economic benefits to it. The competitive interests formed by the plaintiff based on the non-original data set involved in the case should belong to the legitimate rights and interests protected by the anti-unfair competition law.
Many parts of the stickers, special effects, and short video templates in the defendant's application are essentially identical to those of the plaintiff. In the case that the defendant does not provide evidence to prove that the same or similar short video materials of the same APP have a reasonable source, it can be presumed that the defendant obtained and used the short video templates, stickers, special effects and other materials in the "clip" APP without permission and provided them to the public through the same APP. The defendant's conduct exceeded the limits of fair competition and diminished the competitive advantage the plaintiff enjoyed in the market. If it is not stopped, the plaintiff's competitive interests will be materially harmed. At the same time, the accused tort is not the necessary means for the defendant to achieve the purpose of business, does not have legitimacy, destroys the normal order of competition in the short trade, and constitutes unfair competition.
Accordingly, the court ordered the defendant to immediately stop the unfair competition behavior and compensate the plaintiff for economic losses and reasonable expenses totaling 200,000 yuan. After the judgment of the first instance, the original defendant did not appeal, and the case is now in effect.

03 Judge's Reminder

In the Internet environment, data has become the core competitive resource of Internet enterprises' business operations. How to obtain and use data with half the effort and gather user traffic is the key to gain market competitive advantage, which also encourages operators to innovate competition means and strategies.
However, competition based on the production, collection and use of data and information should be based on full respect for competitors' efforts and legitimate rights and interests. If operators directly seize the fruits of others' labor and provide homogenized services, it is bound to be detrimental to the innovation and development of the industry and fair competition, and should be stopped. The act of directly copying and using the data involved not only damages the competitive advantage of the infringed operators, but also has a negative impact on the enthusiasm and initiative of other operators to innovate and develop the data, thus undermining the competitive order of honest management.
The judge suggested that access to usage data should be legal and there should be accountability for overstepping boundaries. Network operators should follow the principle of good faith and business ethics, improve products or services through innovation, form a just, fair and orderly competition order, and promote the healthy and orderly development of the Internet industry. Source: Chongqing Liangjiang Free Trade Court

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