23 April 2009 – Schneider Electric will pay US$23 million to a Chinese low-voltage equipment manufacturer to settle a patent lawsuit. It is the largest recorded settlement for an intellectual property (IP) case in China.
Traditionally, these cases involve foreign firms suing Chinese companies over patent infringements and the damage awards have been small. Lawyers said the size of the Schneider settlement was a "wake-up call" to foreign companies about the growing legal risks of Chinese companies asserting IP rights. When Chint Group of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province first brought the case against Schneider in 2007, the court awarded damages of US$48 million. The French company appealed but ended up reaching a settlement on Wednesday. Guy Dufraisse, president of Schneider in China, said the company was “happy to stop fighting.”