A local court Saturday ruled against the Beijing-based New Oriental School in a copyright and trademark lawsuit brought by two American educational organizations, and ordered the Chinese school to pay some 10 million yuan (US$1.21 million) in compensation.
As the developer and sponsor of the widely recognized "Test of English as a Foreign Language" (TOEFL) and "Graduate Record Examination" (GRE), two examinations that students from non English-speaking countries are required to take before applying to graduate schools in the United States, the New Jersey-based Educational Testing Service (ETS) has registered the copyright of TOEFL and GRE test questions with the American Copyright Bureau, and has registered "TOEFL" and "GRE" as trademarks in China.
The Virginia-based Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), developer and sponsor of the "Graduate Management Admission Test" (GMAT), has also done the same procedures.
However, the New Oriental School, a well-known private English training center, has been selling copies of TOEFL, GRE and GMAT test questions for years to Chinese students who want to study overseas without ETS and GMAC permission. Internet surfers can also access the test questions by logging onto the New Oriental website.
In 1997, the local industry and commerce administration confiscated the illegal copies of ETS and GMAC test questions produced by New Oriental, which admitted its infringement of ETS and GMAC copyrights upon the confiscation but continued to sell the illegal copies.
The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court found the activities of the New Oriental School infringed on the rights of ETS and GMAC and ordered the immediate termination of the illegal activities.
The New Oriental School was also ordered by the court to hand in all illegal copies of ETS and GMAC materials and to publish an apology to the two American institutions in the Chinese newspaper Legal Daily.
In addition, New Oriental has to pay 8.9 million (US$1.1 million) and 410,000 yuan (US$49,580) to ETS and GMAC respectively for economic losses as well as shoulder the lawsuit fees of 1.016 million yuan (US$122,900).
According to lawyers of the New Oriental School, the decision on whether to launch an appeal is subject to further consultation with the school.
(Xinhua News Agency September 28, 2003)