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Court Rules in Favor of Premier League in Trademark Dispute
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England's Premier League has won a trademark dispute in a Chinese court, giving it exclusive use in the country of its crowned-lion logo.

Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court upheld an earlier ruling that the Xiangshi Celebration Service Company, located in the booming eastern province of Jiangsu _ must stop using a similar lion-image trademark, court spokesman Wang Wenbo said Thursday.

The dispute began in 1999 when the Chinese company registered its trademark _ nearly identical to the Premier League version, but minus a soccer ball in the lower left corner of the logo.

The Premier League's attempt to register its logo in 2000 was initially rejected, but it won an appeal in 2001. Xiangshi subsequently sued the Premier League and China's Trademark Review and Appraisal Board.

Su Xiaoman, lawyer for the Premier League, welcomed the verdict and praised the Chinese government for cracking down on trademark infringements.

"The Chinese government has done much to protect the IPR (intellectual property rights) of foreign firms operating in the country in recent years," Su told the state-run China Daily newspaper.

The case is seen as a test of China willingness to protect patents, copyrights and trademarks.

(China Daily via AP December 28, 2006)

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