Recently, Beijing Internet Court concluded a case brought by Xiaomi Corporation (“Xiaomi”) against defendant Mr. LING regarding an Internet tort liability dispute. JunHe’s team represented the client to fully win the first instance, with the court finding that the defendant had infringed upon Xiaomi’s right to reputation. The defendant ws ordered to apologize to Xiaomi, compensate for economic loss and pay expenses of RMB 251,100.
The defendant in this case, Mr. LING, repeatedly released slanderous and false statements about Xiaomi through an online social media platform. The infringing contents referenced various member companies of the Xiaomi Group and contained personal attacks on Xiaomi founder Mr. LEI Jun. The false remarks published by him caused the China Securities Regulatory Commission to make clarifications to the media. This case received a lot of attention and has been widely reported on by the media. Beijing Internet Court also attached great importance to it.
In 2021, the case was placed on file and it has since gone through many complicated litigation procedures. The defendant raised a jurisdictional objection and appealed to the Fourth Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing. Thereafter, the plaintiff urgently petitioned the court for act preservation in litigation with respect to some of the defendant’s infringing articles. Courts at all levels have been strict in terms of the requirements for act preservation for many years and in practice, it is rare for a court to support a petition for act preservation. In fact, Beijing Internet Court has never issued an act injunction against an infringement upon the right to reputation. With regard to the petition for act preservation and the substantive trial of this case, the court organized multiple rounds of hearings, talks and court sessions for the parties concerned, and conducted an examination and comprehensive trial of the disputed statements, context and claims of all the parties. During the litigation of this case, Mr. LING filed another lawsuit in the Putuo District Court of Shanghai against Xiaomi, Mr. LEI Jun and Sina Weibo, claiming that Xiaomi and Mr. LEI Jun had infringed upon his right to reputation by publishing on Weibo the “Statement on Resolutely Using Legal Weapons to Safeguard Our Legal Rights” and by reposting this statement respectively.
JunHe’s team worked diligently in this case and represented the client before Beijing Internet Court and the Fourth Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing to obtain a ruling dismissing the defendant’s objection to jurisdiction and a ruling dismissing the appeal of the objection to jurisdiction. Then JunHe’s team filed a petition for act preservation in Beijing Internet Court and obtained the first ever act preservation injunction against an infringement upon the right to reputation since the court was established.
In the first-instance judgment, the court admitted the comprehensive and detailed arguments submitted by JunHe’s team, recognized the explanation regarding the eligibility of the subject submitted and quoted it in the judgment. In addition, the articles and relevant contents claimed by Xiaomi as an infringement upon its right to reputation also received qualitative support from the court. In terms of legal liability, JunHe’s team provided detailed evidence to fully demonstrate the serious consequence and maliciousness of the defendant’s infringement. In the first-instance judgment, the court regarded the “obviously radical words in the statements involved in this case”, the “obviously untruthful remarks” and “the defendant’s continued release of derogatory articles against the plaintiff even after the act preservation ruling was made in this case” as the defendant’s subjective fault when determining liability. While ordering the defendant to delete the articles and make a public apology, the court supported a high amount of compensation which is rare in cases involving infringements upon the right to reputation where a natural person is the defendant.
With respect to the case filed by Mr. LING against Xiaomi and Mr. LEI Jun with the Putuo District Court of Shanghai, the Putuo District Court also made the first-instance judgment recently, finding that the statement published by Xiaomi on Weibo was within a reasonable scope and contained no errors in terms of basic facts and wording and dismissed all claims submitted by Mr. LING.
JunHe partner Mr. LIU, Yang (Jigger) led the project and JunHe partner Mr. LU, Liang (Larry) undertook the work. JunHe’s team demonstrated its solid legal background, rich experience, accurate predictions and thorough understanding of the case alongside its excellent litigation skills, efficient team work and outstanding ability to cooperate and communicate clearly with the client. The professional level and service attitude of JunHe’s team have been highly affirmed by the client.