Findlaw.com reports that Honda Motor Co. is suing China's biggest private motorcycle maker, Chongqing Lifan Industry Group Co., accusing it of pirating the Japanese company's logo, a Shanghai court said last Friday. Honda is demanding more than 17 million yuan ($2 million) in compensation and legal fees from Chongqing Lifan, claiming that the "SOR" logo used on its motorcycles looks too similar to an "SCR" logo registered by Honda as its trade mark in 1999. Officials at the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court have apparently confirmed that the case was being heard there, but would not comment further. Lifan denies copying Honda's logo or products
Another case between Honda and Lifan is pending in Beijing's No. 2 Intermediate People's Court. In that case, Honda said Lifan used the name "Hongda" on its products - a name the Japanese automaker contends is too similar to its own. It is asking for more than 25 million yuan ($3 million) in compensation. Chongqing Lifan, set up in 1992 by entrepreneur and former college professor Yin Mingshan, began exporting motorcycles to Japan in 2001 and holds a large share of the market in Vietnam. The company has also branched into home appliances, wine making, security doors and financial services. It also owns a soccer team, the Lifan Football Club.
Given the high profile of Honda’s brands and the large amounts of money at stake, the IPKat will be watching this case carefully: it will send out a clear message as to the extent to which China’s centrally controlled economy is capable of protecting foreign IP rights against what appear to be blatant officially sanctioned rip-offs.
Things SOR stands for here
Things SCR stands for here
Chinese piracy here, here and here
China’s response to piracy here and here
Imitation: flattery or thievery? Click here, here and here
Sunday, 6 June 2004
Posted by Jeremy at 2:19:00 p.m.