The Intellectual Property Court rendered the 104-Min-Zhu-Shang-16 Decision on April 21, 2016 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that if the same idea can be expressed only in limited ways, identical or similar expressions of others would not constitute copyright infringement.
In this case, the appellant asserts that the abstract of the specification in the appelleeÕs patent application is infringing on the appellantÕs copyrighted work (i.e., “Lien Long Moving Average Curve Research “), and the appellant initiated legal action under Article 85 and Article 88, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of the Copyright Law.
According to the Decision, Article 10-1 of the Copyright Law provides: “Protection for copyright that has been obtained in accordance with this Law shall only extend to the expression of the work in question, and shall not extend to the work’s underlying ideas, procedures, production processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, or discoveries.” Therefore, copyright only protects expressions and not ideas, which is known as the idea-expression divide. The Decision then posits that if an idea can only be expressed in one or limited ways so that other authors would either have no or very limited ways to express that idea, if the Copyright Law then restricts such limited methods of expression, then such idea will be monopolized by the original author, thus those limited methods of expression are combined with the ideas themselves and are not protectable under the Copyright Law. As a result, if a single idea can be expressed only in certain limited ways, even if othersÕ expressions of such an idea are identical or similar, it will be deemed as a necessary consequence of the limited ways of expressing such an idea and thus do not constitute copyright infringement.
It was further pointed out in the Decision that a “moving average” is a mathematical concept, and the term Òmoving average lineÓ is essentially merged with such concept, so if the expression of such term is protectable, the underlying idea would also become protectable, thus the term Òmoving average lineÓ is not protectable under the Copyright Act. As none of the analytical methodology, concepts and theories asserted by the appellant is protectable under the Copyright Law, even though the appellee used the term Òmoving average lineÓ or other concepts created by the appellant in the patent specification at issue, there is no infringement.. As such, the appellant’s appeal was rejected.