In the largest piracy case in China involving a foreign investor, Yamaha was awarded $1.1 million in damages in a trademark lawsuit.
Zhejiang Huatian, one of China’s largest motorcycle manufacturers, was reprimanded Tuesday by China’s highest court, the Supreme People’s Court. Zhejiang Huatian and two local distributors have to pay the damages for selling scooters carrying Yamaha’s brand name. The ruling also requires the companies to issue a statement of apology.
Most Chinese pirating cases involve smaller industrial parts and luxury goods, such as designer bags and clothing. Few Chinese copycats have gone as far as Zhejiang Huatian in publicly marketing a full range of products complete with a trademark brand.
The decision follows five years of legal wrangling. Yamaha filed the suit against the companies in 2002, after confirming they were selling scooters carrying a logo similar to that of the Japanese company. Yamaha says the damage was calculated based on the evidence it gathered for the lawsuit.
“This judgment is a landmark decision. We hope our lawsuit serves as a useful reference somehow to other enterprises confronted with similar trademark infringements,” Yamaha said in a statement.