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Groupe SEB and its Chinese law firm WanHuida received the 2021 UNIFAB Award in the “Best court decision” category at the 25th European Intellectual Property Forum. This award is the culmination of several years of legal proceedings in China to protect one of Groupe SEB's most disruptive innovations, the Actifry fryer, which cooks fresh fries with just one spoonful of oil!
The Actifry is one of Seb’s flagship products, made in France at Is-sur-Tille and protected by a number of patents in several countries. By monitoring the market closely with local initiatives to prevent mass production of counterfeit goods, Groupe SEB detected copies of the Actifry on display at the famous Canton Fair in China and took the decision to prosecute the offender for design and patent infringement. In December 2019, after several years of proceedings, the Group won a remarkable and unprecedented decision from the Beijing Supreme Court - China's highest court - ordering the offender to stop the counterfeiting, destroy the molds and inventories of the counterfeit goods, and to pay RMB 1,000,000 in damages. This landmark decision is the fruit of a successful collaboration between our Chinese law firm WanHuida and Groupe SEB’s patent and legal departments.
With some 250 million products made each year, protecting innovation is a priority for Groupe SEB. The vocation of the patent and intellectual property/legal department is to support the research, development and marketing teams throughout the product development process by detecting inventions that need to be protected.
Products are covered by patents for technical inventions; and by designs and models to protect the products' aesthetic form. In 2020 Groupe SEB filed 443 patents, 312 models and 166 trademarks worldwide. Innovations are supported by a globally recognized trademark portfolio (including names such as Tefal, Moulinex, WMF, Rowenta) or regionally (Seb or Calor). The Group has a portfolio of 31 major trademarks to protect, as well as product names such as Actifry, Companion, IXEO, etc. that have become references in their product categories.
In total, Groupe SEB has registered around 7,500 patents and over 20,000 trademarks and designs worldwide.
Philippe Sumeire, Executive Vice-President, Legal for Groupe SEB, commented: "We are both pleased and proud to receive this award, which acknowledges Groupe SEB's passion for innovation. I commend the work of our patent and legal teams, who support all our new product development projects with tenacity and determination every day.”
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