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Shoemakers Told to Pay Nike Compensation
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A court in Shanghai has ordered two Chinese shoe manufacturers and a French supermarket to pay American sporting goods giant Nike 350,000 yuan (US$46,000) compensation for copyright infringement.


Jinjiang Longzhibu Shoes Co Ltd and Jinjiang Kangwei Shoes Co Ltd manufactured shoes bearing a logo that was "basically the same" as one of Nike's -- a silhouette of former basketball star Michael Jordan slam-dunking -- the Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People's Court said yesterday. And the Shanghai branch of France-based retailer Auchan was guilty of selling the products without permission from Nike, it said.


"All three have conducted copyright infringement against Nike," the verdict read.


The shoemakers were ordered to pay 100,000 yuan and 90,000 yuan in compensation and Shanghai Auchan Hypermarket Co Ltd 160,000 yuan.


The three will also have to publish an apology to counter the negative effects of the infringement.


As one of the most popular international brands in China, Nike has been a target for many counterfeiters in recent years.


Customs officers in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, said recently they had this year seized more than 70,000 pairs of copied shoes bound for export. And in its latest raid, nearly 40,000 pairs of Nike shoes were confiscated, along with quantities of Adidas and Puma products.


The Shanghai High People's Court said early this year that courts in Shanghai had seen an increase in intellectual property rights (IPR) cases. Most copied brands, such as Levi Strauss, Nike and Adidas, came from the United States, Britain, Japan and Germany.


During a raid on two shops in the city, a district industry and commerce bureau found more than 200 fake Giorgio Armani, Puma and Nike items of apparel. The owners of the two shops said they bought the pieces for 5 to 10 yuan and sold them for much more.


Nike registered the Jordan logo in China in 1993. In January, its employees purchased four pairs of sports shoes bearing a similar logo from the three Auchan stores in Shanghai. On February 2, Nike's lawyers sent letters to Auchan, informing them of the infringement and asking them to produce purchase and sale records for the product. But the shoes were still on sale at two of the stores at the end of the month, Nike told the court.


It filed a suit against Shanghai Auchan and the two shoemakers in May, demanding total compensation of 1 million yuan.


(China Daily August 21, 2007)

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