The Intellectual Property Court rendered the 107-Xing-Zhi-Shang-Su-31 Criminal Decision of November 28, 2018 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that if employees habitually store drawings created in the course of their work in their personal hard drives, even though some of the files are saved backed to the company’s computers and defective files are deleted in the course of design, it is hard to identify that employees have the subjective criminal intent to destroy the computer electromagnetic records of others without valid reasons.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Defendant surnamed Huang created drawings for the design of machinery and equipment at the Complainant’s company. The Complainant’s company also provided a dedicated computer to him for creating and saving drawings. However, the Defendant allegedly reproduced drawings which all belong to the Complainant’s company on his personal mobile hard drive and allegedly deleted relevant drawing files from the company’s computer during his employment. The prosecutors subsequently issued an indictment for the alleged offense of damaging electromagnetic records under Article 359 of the Criminal Code and for the “infringement of the copyrights of others through reproductive means without authorization” under Article 91, Paragraph 1 of the Copyright Law. The Defendant was found not guilty in the first instance decision, and the prosecutors filed this appeal.
It was first pointed out in this Decision that after relevant evidence was considered, it could hardly be concluded that the entirety of the relevant drawing files which had allegedly been illegally reproduced and deleted without justification by the Defendant as indicated in the gist of the indictment had ever been stored on the computer mainframe of the Complainant’s company and had been reproduced at one time in the Defendant’s personal mobile hard drive. In addition, both the prosecutors and the Complainant recognized that the Defendant had had the clearance for managing drawing files, and that the Defendant had received his supervisor’s prior approval on the act of saving the design drawing files in his personal mobile hard drive due to the need to perform his work. Therefore, there was certainly no “infringement of the copyright of others through reproductive means without authorization” under Article 91, Paragraph 1 of the Copyright Law.
It was further pointed out in this Decision that after relevant evidence was weighed and considered, it could hardly be concluded that the files on the computer mainframe of the Complainant’s company had been formatted and damaged due to the Defendant’s act. It was further determined that if the Defendant had habitually stored his mechanical design drawing files in his personal mobile hard drive, the files should have been continuously saved or modified continuously with unnecessary files deleted in the course of his design work. Even if he sometimes saved some of the files back to the computer mainframe of the Complainant’s company so that the same drawing files existed in his personal mobile hard drive and the computer mainframe of the Complainant’s company, still it would be difficult to conclude that the Defendant had any subjective intent to “destroy the electromagnetic records on the computers of others without justification” under Article 359 of the Criminal Code, whether he had done so on his own or at the instruction of his supervisor. Therefore, this appeal was rejected and the original not-guilty decision was upheld.