MasterImage 3D took action to challenge the validity of RealD’s utility model (UM) patent in China, filing an invalidation before the State Intellectual Property Office on August 22, 2014. MasterImage 3D specifically argues that RealD’s utility model patent blatantly lacks novelty over MasterImage 3D’s earlier filed patent applications and over RealD’s older patents disclosed several years prior in the United States.
MasterImage 3D concluded that RealD’s utility model patent filed in China is not valid and lacks inventiveness. This UM application was only successfully granted because Chinese UM patents lack substantive examination.
MasterImage 3D asserted that it will stand with customers in all cases, as RealD has taken varying actions to threaten customers and competitors around the world. If RealD continues unsupported threats against MasterImage 3D customers, MasterImage 3D will take any action necessary to stop them. MasterImage 3D is also evaluating their own legal remedies to counter RealD’s misuse of the UM patent.
A utility model patent is often used as a temporary place-holder form of patent protection in lieu of regular invention patents. A UM patent is often granted for technical solutions that relate to shape or structures and has lesser threshold for determination on inventiveness over conventional technology. UM patent applications are only subjected to novelty assessment, without substantive examination of whether the technology within the UM patent application is new or is inventive. In many cases, a UM patent application is automatically granted, even if it lacks novelty or inventiveness, if there is no challenge from other parties.
MasterImage 3D filed and has been granted several invention patent applications in Korea for their innovative technologies in 3D cinema systems. This inventive patent application has been filed in China based on Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) procedures. RealD’s utility model in question was filed after that of MasterImage 3D’s invention patent application.