Thursday, January 22, 2009

Copycats in China: Trains, Plains and ... Automobiles

Planes, traines and ... automobiles. Chinese copycats in all modes of transport. After this ruling by the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court against Zhongwei's Zonda A9 that found the latter copying the MAN AG's Neoplan Starliner, one might wonder whether Hillmann (of Iven & Hillmann, see below) who described Zonda A9 as a "vivid example of how rapid and uninhibited the Chinese are when it comes to copying," was in fact defamatory, as was alleged by Zonda.
According to the Guardian Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ordered Jiangsu province Zhongwei Passenger Bus Co Ltd, its parent company and its Beijing dealer to pay 21.16 million yuan ($3.1 million) to Neoplan Bus GmbH, a MAN AG subsidiary.
Zhongwei is going to appeal. Read the article by Michael Wei of the Guardian here.

History: Zonda sues Neoplan and blogger Hillmann (of Iven & Hillmann) for defamation in 2007

At the website of Zonda Motor one can read that Zonda sued before the Yancheng City Intermediate Court because it alleged Zonda copied its outline design.

"The indictment asked for Man AG, Iven & Hillmann Co. and Neoplan Co. ltd immediately stop slandering on Zonda Group, eliminate the negative effect brought by the affair, and apologize to the Chinese party through German media. The indictment also restated that Zonda Group has the right to require the German party to pay for the compensation and undertake the legal cost for the German media has brought serious impact to Zhongda Group by reprinting and citing.
Thereby, Hillmann soon announced his apology statement to Chinese party in his Blog. He said: “As the author of the Blog article, I had no intention to hurt the relationship between China and Germany. In June, 2006, I presented the international meeting in Shanghai on invitation and made an address, where I had been well treated by the host. Now I would like to draw back my violent words, and apologize to the Chinese auto manufacturer.
Read more here.

"The dispute was exacerbated by a blog linked to a Der Spiegel story about the lawsuit. Hillmann from Iven & Hillmann company posted on the regional Auto blog on Oct. 22 comments to the effect "this is a vivid example of how rapid and uninhibited the Chinese are when it comes to copying.""
Read the Xinhua article about it via the IPR in China site here or via the Beijing Shijitianping Intellectual Property Cooperation Organization here.
Partly victory for MAN, article by Christian Buchholz in Manager-Magazine.DE, June 8, 2007: Teilsieg für MAN (in German). MAN sues in China, article by Andreas Lorenz in Der Spiegel, November 19, 2006: MAN zieht in China vor Gericht (in German).

1 comment:

Riccardo said...

Dear Danny, the blog's very interesting. I got here through chinalawblog some time ago. I am currently writing my thesis on well-known protection in China and have two relevant questions for you: I know that under art.52 of the implem.regulations of the 2001 CTL sets a 100thousand yuan fine if the volume of the illegal business cannot be defined. Is such amount still up to date today, in 2009, or has it changed? Second of all, how many foreign well-known trademarks are registered in PRC as we speak? Is it still around 10 or 11? Finally, do you have any hot suggestion to give me for the thesis? (I'm a law student in Bologna's law faculty and have pursuing china first culturally and out of passion, then I started mixing my major with it and will leave for china in may for at least a couple of years.) here's my blog, btw: hope to get news from you soon! ciao!