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Sohu Takes Sina to Court
Sohu, one of China's main Internet content providers, filed a lawsuit yesterday in Beijing alleging unfair competition against Sina, its main competitor.

The suit marks the second attempt by Sohu to hit back after Sina's earlier case against Sohu claiming copyright infringement.

Sohu asked the court to order Sina to pay compensation of 500,000 yuan (US$60,400) and to make a public apology. No judgment was made yesterday by the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court after the first almost day-long hearing.

"It is behavior typical of unfair competition for Sina to announce that Sohu has wantonly plagiarized Sina's content before the court makes a final judgment (in that case)," said Ma Xiaogang, Sohu's lawyer.

Sina took Sohu to court in January for copyright infringement and unfair competition, starting the month-long court fight between China's two Internet giants.

The second court session was opened at the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court in late August. No decision has been made.

Sohu filed a lawsuit in April with the Beijing Haidian District People's Court for infringement of right of fame. The court has discontinued the action, saying the trial should be based on the result of the lawsuit now before the No 2 intermediate court, which has not been concluded.

"The legal rights of Sohu were infringed by Sina as there is still not sufficient proof to support Sina's announcement on whether Sina is the exclusive legal copyright owner of the pictures and stories concerned," Ma said.

The plaintiff also listed 75 mobile-phone message pictures yesterday on which it believes it holds copyright and monopoly usage rights, and which it says Sina has illegally plagiarized on its website www.sina.com.cn.

Sina lodged a counter accusation in court, saying that Sohu has blamed its critics after plagiarizing Sina's online content.

The defendant requested compensation of 100,000 yuan (US$12,100) and that a statement of apology appears on the front page of www.sohu.com.

For his part, Tong Mingyou, Sina's lawyer, said "Sohu's using the 75 pictures has in fact violated the copyright of Sina, the original designer of the pictures."

(China Daily October 31, 2002)

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China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC)
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