Intellectual Property

Olympic hurdler Liu Xiang sues Jingpin Gouwu weekly newspaper for IPR infringement


Liu Xiang, China's 110-metre hurdles gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, has taken the weekly Beijing newspaper Lifestyle (jingpin gouwu) and a department store to court over the use of his picture.

The People's Daily last week reported:

The Beijing Haidian District People's Court accepted the suit on Monday.

The Beijing-based Life Style newspaper allegedly used a photo of Liu jumping a hurdle during the Games without permission in an October front page.

The photo took up most of the front page. The bottom part of the page was taken up by an advertisement for the Zhongyou Department Store, according to the indictment filed by the Olympic champion.

"The two defendants seriously violated Liu's rights... for financial gain," said Liu's lawyer.

According to statistics he provided, every copy of Life Style is read by 4.2 people.

Liu's photo was also used on the newspaper's website, which may have been visited by 2 million people.

The website operator and the owner of the newspaper's trademark were included in the indictment.

The Olympic champion demanded 1.25 million yuan (US$151,000) from the Life Style newspaper, the Beijing Zhongyou Department Store and the other two defendants. He also asked the court to order all the defendants to stop using his picture and issue an apology...

...In 2001, the Liaoning High People's Court ruled a cigarette company in Kunming had to pay 800,000 yuan (US$97,000) to another famous track and field athlete, Wang Junxia.

The company had used Wang's photo without permission in 1996 on the Hong Kong Takung Pao newspaper.

The image above is the offending Lifestyle cover. The People's Daily report (taken from the Chian Daily) is here.

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