Court Recognizes Right of NBA Library, Dishes Unfair Competition Victory

发布时间: 2018/12/12 10:09:00

  NBA Properties, INC. and Shanghai-based Wapu brought a trademark infringement/unfair competition case to Guangzhou IP Court, alleging three companies, namely Lanfei based in Chengdu, Lingxian based in Qingdao and Changyue based in Guangzhou for infringing trademark and property rights shared by NBA character recognition library. On May 5, 2017, Guangzhou IP Court made its first-instance decision, confirming infringement acts of the three defendants and ordering injunction. The disgruntled three companies then appealed to Guangdong High People's Court. Recently, Guangdong High made its second-instance judgment, siding with the first instance.

  NBA Properties claimed that it is the holder of intellectual property right, collective portrait right, intangible properties right for NBA, and enjoys civil rights for NBA character recognition library. Authorized by NBA Properties, Wapu had the right to use NBA logo and NBA character recognition library in NBA games for mobile phones. Lanfei and Lingxian is suspected of infringing collective portrait right by using NBA recognition elements, constituting unfair competition; Changyue is suspected of joint infringement by providing convenience for the other two defendants and did not cease its act after receiving the warning letter.

  Lanfei and Lingxian argued that NBA trademarks are not used in their game. The cartoons in the game are independently created by Lingxian, do not look like real NBA players and infringe NBA character recognition library. Changyue said that the game is not on the front page of its platform but just a hyperlink. Users may only download after searching a designated name.

  After hearing, Guangzhou IP Court held that business interests through NBA recognition element commercialization are the fruits of its investment and operation for long time. The behavior of MCNBA using NBA recognition elements is  commercial use of these elements, violating principle of good faith and universally-known business morals and damaging legal interests of the plaintiffs. Unfair competition is established.

  On this ground, Guangzhou IP court made the ruling that Lanfei and Lingxian should stop their unfair competition acts for using NBA recognition elements in MCNBA, indemnifying three million yuan in damages and Changyue 100,000 yuan.

  All three defendants appeal to Guangdong High. Recently, Guangdong High heard the case and held that NBA collective portrait including NBA players portraits were commercialized rights. Two defendants used them as cartoons in their game without consent, which constitutes unfair competition. In this connection, Guangdong High affirmed the first instance decision.(by Jiang Xu/Xiao Shengcheng)

  (Editor Shao Jingjing)

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主办单位:中国知识产权报社 未经许可不得复制