China Justice Observer

中国司法观察

EnglishArabicChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)DutchFrenchGermanItalianJapaneseKoreanPortugueseRussianSpanishSwedishHebrewIndonesianVietnameseThaiTurkishMalay

Chinese Court Rules in TV Drama ‘IPartment’ versus Movie ‘Ipartment’

Sat, 04 Sep 2021
Categories: China Legal News

In July 2021, Beijing Intellectual Property Court rendered the first-instance judgment on the trademark infringement and unfair competition case of Lianfan Computer Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd (hereinafter referred to as the “Plaintiff”) v. Shanghai Gaoge Film and Television Production Co., Ltd., Shanghai Film (Group) Co., Ltd., Tencent Pictures Cultural Communication Co., Ltd., Dadi Digital Cinema Corporation, Beijing Herui Film Culture Co., Ltd., and Wang Yuan (汪远) (hereinafter referred to as the “Defendants”). Pursuant to the judgment, the six Defendants were ordered to stop the acts of unfair competition, eliminate the impact arising therefrom and compensate the Plaintiff for the economic losses of CNY 4 million and reasonable expenses of CNY 300,000.

Beijing Intellectual Property Court held that the Plaintiff’s rights in ‘Ipartment’ (爱情公寓) Season 1 and ‘Ipartment’ Season 2 were confirmed by the binding judgment, and that the Plaintiff's authorization should be obtained if anyone wanted to use the name of the TV drama, character setting, and relevant plots, etc. After the production of the said TV drama is completed, it has been continuously broadcast on a number of TV channels and online platforms, and has gained high attention and popularity. As the name of the TV drama, “Ipartment” generally reflects the theme, content, comedy characteristics and type of the TV drama. It is identifiable in terms of the source of TV drama, and it can be regarded as a “commodity name with certain influence” and should be protected by the Anti-Unfair Competition Law. The Defendants, without the Plaintiff's authorization, used “Ipartment” as the name of the film involved in the case, promoted and publicized it. Subjectively, the Defendants had the intention to make use of the existing goodwill of the TV drama, “Ipartment” Seasons One and Two through the use of the same name. Objectively, the defendants caused confusion and misidentification among the relevant public, harmed the competitive interests of the Plaintiff, and constituted “unauthorized use of another commodity’s name which has certain influence” stipulated in Article 6 (1) of the Anti-unfair Competition Law, thus constituting unfair competition, and the Defendants should bear corresponding civil liabilities.

Beijing Intellectual Property Court also pointed out that the film title and character names in the case did not play a role in distinguishing the source of services, so the court dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim that the act involved in the case infringed on the Plaintiff’s right to exclusively use the registered trademark.

 

 

Cover Photo by JuniperPhoton (https://unsplash.com/@juniperphoton) on Unsplash

Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

Save as PDF

Related laws on China Laws Portal

You might also like

SPC Issues 2020 Typical Cases on Maritime Trial

In August 2021, China’s Supreme Court issued the “Typical Cases of National Maritime Trial in 2020” (2020年全国海事审判典型案例), which cover disputes over compensation for damages to natural resources and ecological environment, and liability for ship collision.

2021 List of Powers to be Granted and Delegated by Beijing SASAC Released

In August 2021, “List of Powers to be Granted and Delegated by State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of People's Government of Beijing Municipality (2021 Edition)” (北京市国资委授权放权清单(2021年版)) was released, which delegates or grants a total of 23 powers to the boards of directors of pilot enterprises.

China Issues New Provisions on Bond Credit Rating

In August 2021, the People's Bank of China and other four authorities jointly released the “Notice on Promoting the Healthy Development of the Credit Rating Industry in the Bond Market”(关于促进债券市场信用评级行业健康发展的通知), laying out regulations on bond credit rating.

China's Online Retail Market in First Half of 2021

In July 2021, China's Ministry of Commerce reported on the national online retail market in the first half of 2021, showing a total of CNY 6.11 trillion sales in this period, with a year-on-year increase of 23.2 %.