A Chinese court ordered a Shenzhen company to pay three million yuan ($430,000 USD) each in two lawsuits filed by MGM Holdings for trademark infringement and unfair competition.
Shenzhen MGM was convicted for registering domain names containing “mgm,” using the name “MGM” and the lion logo owned by MGM Holdings, while also authorizing more than 30 theaters across the country to operate under the brand name and logo, according to the judge of the case.
Judge Yang Jie noted in Global Times that the court would not be inclined to domestic parties in such infringement disputes involving foreign enterprises.
Chinese legal experts claim that Chinese people are showing an attitude of no favoritism toward domestic companies accused of infringement as people’s awareness of intellectual property rights (IPR) has significantly improved.
The decision prompted Chinese analysts to conclude, said the publication, that “China was showing equal legal treatment and enforcement of intellectual property rights for Chinese and foreign firms.”
In November, the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council issued a directive calling for intensified protection of intellectual property rights, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Casino giants like MGM are periodically required to defend their intellectual property rights aggressively against unscrupulous gambling websites. In 2015, the Las Vegas Sands Corp won a similar lawsuit against 35 Chinese online gambling websites that each appropriated the company’s logo
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“Strengthening IPR protection is the most important content of improving the IPR protection system and also the biggest incentive to boost China’s economic competitiveness,” reported Xinhua,
MGM Holdings has widely used and promoted the Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) brand since its founding in 1924. The brand is known to Chinese people through such movie series as James Bond and the Hobbit, according to the court.
Online polls found a majority of respondents supported the daughter of Hong Kong kung fu icon Bruce Lee in her trademark dispute with Chinese mainland fast food chain Real Kung Fu. She is suing the company for using Lee’s image for 15 years without authorization.
Image source: globaltimes.cn; tvweek.com