Disney issues warning on IPR against Wanda

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Visitors take photos during a parade at the Shanghai Disneyland park. [Photo/Xinhua]

Visitors take photos during a parade at the Shanghai Disneyland park. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Walt Disney Co said it is prepared to take action to protect its intellectual property rights after performers dressed as Snow White and Captain America appeared at Dalian Wanda Group Co's new theme park in China.

Wanda opened its first outdoor entertainment complex in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province in eastern China on Saturday, one of its seven planned parks as Shanghai Disney is set to open on June 16.

Other performers, including one bearing a strong resemblance to Kung Fu Panda, were also featured at the park.

In a statement about IP protection, Disney said: "We vigorously protect our intellectual property and take action to address infringement."

Disney's characters and trademarks have been widely used in the country. In October last year, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce issued a circular on a crackdown on the infringement of Disney trademarks across the country from October 2015 to October 2016.

"Our characters and stories have delighted generations, these illegal and substandard imitations unfortunately disappoint all who expect more," Disney said in its statement.

Wanda said in a reply to China Daily that the non-Wanda characters were operated by individual stores within Wanda Mall. They do not represent Wanda.

Wanda's top management have also been bullish, insisting its venues will beat Disney hands down in terms of visitor numbers and total revenue once it has rolled out what could eventually be as many as 20 Wanda Cities nationwide by 2020.

Ben Cavender, the principal of China Market Research Group, said Wanda's prices were competitive. A ticket to the first Wanda City outdoor theme park in Nanchang costs 198 yuan (US$30) during the week and 248 yuan on weekends and holidays, compared with Disney's 370 yuan and 499 yuan, respectively.

Hu Tianlong, associate professor at the Law School of Renmin University of China., said Wanda should strengthen its monitoring and supervision of action that might infringe intellectual property rights, to support the healthy development of the industry in an orderly and legal environment.

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