Knowles, defending patents, says fair trial in China 'impossible'

Wed Apr 2, 2014 9:45am EDT
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By Matthew Miller

BEIJING (Reuters) - Knowles Corp, a New York-listed maker of advanced micro-acoustic products, said a patent infringement case involving Chinese group GoerTek could not be decided fairly after a provincial court barred lawyers for Knowles from entering its own trial.

Lawyers representing Knowles had been blocked from entering Weifang Intermediate People's Court in Shandong province this week, the Itasca, Illinois-based company said in a statement.

"The Weifang Court's decision to bar Knowles from the legal proceedings makes a fair trial impossible," Jeffrey Niew, Knowles's chief executive, said in the statement.

No-one at the Weifang court could be reached for comment. Spokespeople for GoerTek, which is based in Weifang, could not be reached for comment.

A call to the office of GoerTek's chief executive was referred to the company's Intellectual Property Rights department, where an official declined to discuss the matter in any detail.

"I think this is a problem between Knowles and the court," the official who identified himself as Mr. Song told Reuters. Song did not give his position within the department.

China has long been a centre for disputes over intellectual property rights. Last year a U.S. research group called the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property said 80 percent of global intellectual property rights abuse occurred in China.

The Weifang trial stems from patent disputes involving micro-electro-mechanical systems, or MEMs. Knowles says it began filing patents for the technology starting in the early 2000s.   Continued...