Beijing sentences pirate maker and seller of Beijing Winter Olympic mascots one year in prison

Global Times reports

Beijing sentenced the first case of intellectual property right (IPR) infringement on the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic mascots on Monday as China stepped up IP protection.

An individual making and selling pirate copies of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games mascots Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon was sentenced to one year in prison and fined 40,000 yuan ($6,288) on Monday, making it the first criminal case in the country that involved infringement on the image of Beijing Winter Olympic mascots, said a Chinese official at a press conference on Monday.

Aside from a  “fair use situation” specified by the law, other unauthorized usage of copyright, such as the production of toys and dolls without the permission of the copyright owner, or the use of them in clothing and other peripheral derivative products, may constitute infringement, said Tang Zhaozhi, a deputy director of copyright bureau of the Chinese Publicity Department.

Any infringement that harms the public interest shall be subject to administrative punishment and if a crime is committed, criminal responsibility will be investigated, he added.

The protection of intellectual property related in Winter Olympics has been achieved in line with regulators’ expectations, officials said.

As of Saturday, 27 major video, social, live and searching platforms including Youku, Tencent , Bilibili have removed 32,376 links on notice, removed 227,452 links through self-inspection and closed 3,363 accounts for spreading infringing content related to the Winter Olympics.

A total of 39 overseas illegal websites were closed and 52 domestic websites and Apps suspected of illegally disseminating Winter Olympics related content were taken offline in accordance with the law.

The China National Intellectual Property Administration also announced on Monday to crack down illegal trade mark registration for 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic mascot Bing Dwen Dwen and Chinese skier Gu Ailing.

The National Intellectual Property Administration has rejected 429 trademark registration applications and declared 43 trademark carrying the name Bing Dwen Dwen and Gu Ailing invalid, according to the rules on the protection of the Olympic symbols and the Trade Mark Law, the administration said in a notice issued on its website on Monday.

Since 2019, a few enterprises have registered trademarks using the fame of Olympic and Paralympic mascot and athletes to seek improper benefit, which has not only infringed on naming rights, but also caused significant negative social impact, authorities claimed.

The trademarks of Chinese Olympic athlete Gu Ailing have sparked wide discussion after it was found that the name of Gu Ailing has been registered as a trademark as early as June 2019.

The Global Times entered key word Gu Ailing on Chinese business information provider Tianyancha and found 30 trademark information results. Among them 11 trademarks for Gu Ailing submitted in June 2019 have been registered. The international classification involves education and entertainment, advertising sales, clothing and bed linen. Other trademarks using the name Gu Ailing have been rejected or become invalid.

According to the Trade Mark Law, applications for trademark registration are not allowed to infringe the existing rights of others. Therefore the criteria for evaluation lied in whether the trademark applicants can produce evidence that they have registered the trademark not because of Gu’s fame, analysts said.