A recent court case in China has highlighted the importance and value of registered designs for graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

In the case, between Qihoo 360 and Jiangmin, Qihoo 360 have sued Jiangmin for infringement of their GUI designs, and have sought $1.5 million in damages.  In response, Jiangmin have applied to invalidate Qihoo 360’s design registrations. The case was heard recently and the judgement will be issued shortly.

From when design protection for GUIs was introduced in 2014 in China, this is the first major litigation involving such rights, so it will be interesting to discover what scope of protection Chinese courts offer to GUI designs, which are of increasing importance in the world of smartphones and tablets.

It is not just in China that GUI designs are being litigated.  In the recent US Supreme Court case between Apple and Samsung, one of Apple’s design patents that was found to be infringed by Samsung was for the icons on an iPhone.


“Beijing-based anti-virus software developer Qihoo 360 Technology Co applied for design patents for three types of its GUI in 2014, which were approved by SIPO. In April, the company sued its competitor Beijing Jiangmin New Science and Technology Co at the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, claiming the latter’s software was developed using Qihoo 360’s GUI design patents without authorization, and asked for compensation of 10 million yuan ($1.5 million).”