Japan's Yamaha Motor Co. said June 12 it had won a 8.3-million-yuan (US$1.1 million) damages suit in China against four local companies that have sold scooters carrying its brand name. The amount of damages is believed to be the largest ever awarded in a trademark rights lawsuit in China, Yamaha Motor spokesman Osamu Sugimachi said.
The Supreme People's Court in China last week ordered the Chinese firms, including a dealership, to pay the damages and publish a statement of apology in a Chinese motorcycle magazine, Yamaha Motor said.
The Japanese motorcycle maker described the ruling as "epoch-making" and said that it could help other companies which have faced similar trademark infringements in China. Yamaha Motor filed the lawsuit in 2002 with the Jiangsu Higher People's Court against motorcycle manufacturer Zhejiang Huatian Industry Co., Taizhou Jiaji Motorcycle Distribution Co., Taizhou Huatian Motorcycle Distribution Co. and the motorcycle dealer.
It added that the Chinese companies in 2000 set up a dummy firm in Japan with the name Nippon Yamaha. They signed a contract with that firm on the use of its name as part of trademark logos. As a result, the Chinese firms manufactured and sold scooters in China with trademarks including the name "Yamaha" and another Yamaha brand, "Future."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007