Sina.com, one of China's top Internet portal sites, won a lawsuit against competitor Sohu.com for copyright infringement yesterday.
The Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court ordered Sohu.com to pay 150,000 yuan (US$18,000) in compensation to rival Sina.com and to make a public apology to Sina on its own website.
Despite this recent verdict, the year-long court fight between China's two Internet giants, both of whom are NASDAQ-listed Internet companies, is not over.
Sina first sued Sohu in January for copyright infringement and unfair competition claiming that Sohu plagiarized 383 mobile phone short message pictures and a diagram on its finance channel.
Sohu then filed suit against Sina claiming they infringed on the copyright of 75 pictures the following week.
This second case is still being heard by the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court.
The much-publicized lawsuits are an indicator of the fierce competition among China's Dotcom companies, experts said.
"The key problem of these Internet infringement cases are who is indeed the original designer. There must be someone who was lying to the public," said Sina lawyer Tong Mingyou.
Sohu claimed that Sina was operating under unfair competition and argued that this was detrimental to Sohu's reputation and business operations.
"We are going to appeal to a higher court against the ruling," said Chen Ying, director of Sohu's public relation department.
(China Daily December 3, 2002)