CHINA> Regional
Court finds for Dutch liquor firm
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-27 07:57

SHANGHAI: A Shanghai firm has been ordered to pay Dutch liquor-maker Diageo 1.25 million yuan ($183,000) for copying its packaging, as the city concluded a campaign to fight intellectual property infringement.

In 2006, Diageo Brands B.V. and its Shanghai branch found Blueblood (Shanghai) Wine Co had used a packaging similar to that of its Black Label on a whisky named Polonius, and lodged a complaint to the local commerce bureau.

Blueblood was fined but continued to use the packaging. So Diageo filed a suit with the Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People's Court, demanding 2 million yuan compensation.

According to the verdict, Diageo owns Jonnie Walker, a Scotch whisky created in 1820. The whisky is sold in 150 cities in China, and achieves sales revenue of 320 million yuan a year.

Black Label is one of its most popular blends and has registered its trademark and square glass bottle packaging in China. Blueblood copied the packaging and sold about 37,000 bottles of Polonius bearing a similar packaging.

The court announced the verdict on Tuesday, and no appeal has been filed yet.

On the same day, 13 other intellectual property lawsuits were decided by courts in Shanghai.

In one case, Rock Records, a Taiwan record company, won 2.9 million yuan in compensation in two lawsuits against three record companies in Shanghai, Guangdong and Jilin provinces.

The record firms were found to have violated the copyright of more than 100 records produced by Rock.

The Shanghai No 1 intermediate people's court announced the verdict.

The court also ruled that a company in Zhejiang province stole the technology for a 3M dust-proof face-mask, and was ordered to pay 200,000 yuan in compensation.

Shanghai high people's court Wednesday announced three other verdicts.

In one, a fruit trading company in Nantong, Jiangsu province, was ordered to pay 300,000 in compensation to New Zealand firm Zespri.

The Chinese company used a trademark similar to that of Zespri, according to the court.

Ying Xinlong, deputy director of the Shanghai high people's court, said courts in Shanghai will work hard to improve efficiency in trying IPR cases.

"We are hoping that harsher penalties will prevent more intellectual property infringements in the future," he said.

Between 1994 and Sept this year, Shanghai courts have accepted nearly 10,000 civil cases relating to on intellectual property infringements.

"More overseas companies are suing and being sued," Ying said.