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PLA has toymaker in its sights
By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-25 01:15

When a Shenzhen toy company decided to use photos of an elite Chinese regiment to promote its toyguns, little did it realize the People's Liberation Army would launch an offensive with all its legal guns blazing.

A file photo shows the PLA's Guard of Honour on performance. [newsphoto/file]

TheShenzhen Xinhe Handicraft Company is being sued by the PLA for nearly 2.5 million yuan (US$299,500) after using photos of three officers from the Guard of Honour and the regiment's name to advertise a toy saber and rifle.

The montages were burnt onto CDs and albums and distributed to retailers around the country.

The PLA's legal experts say the unauthorized use of the photos infringes personal rights and damages the regiment's reputation.

They say they have resorted to court action after calls for the company to stop using the photos and its name fell on deaf ears for four years.

The Beijing Haidian District People's Court yesterday accepted the case and will set a date for a later court hearing.

"The name, Guard of Honour of the three armed services, has been frequently used by the defendant in advertising albums and CDs. Our exclusive right to the name has been violated," the PLA's document said.

"Consumers misunderstood that the Guard of Honour made the advertisement. Our reputation has been violated," the complaint said.

The document urges the court to order the company to stop using its name and pictures immediately and to issue a public apology.

However, a spokesperson for Xinhe Handicrafts denied the accusation, adding that they had not been informed of the case.

(China Daily 05/25/2005 page1)

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