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Old 10th January 2006, 01:48 PM
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Starbucks wins Chinese logo case

Starbucks has won a two-year legal fight in China after a court found that a local coffee store chain had violated its trademark.
A Shanghai court concluded that Chinese firm Xingbake had infringed the US firm's rights by using a Chinese name and logo similar to Starbucks.

The trademark case was something of a landmark in China, where foreign firms have for years complained of piracy.

Starbucks has 300 outlets in China, having opened its first in 1999.

Piracy concern

State media reported that Shanghai Xingbake had been ordered to stop using its name and to pay the US retailer 500,000 yuan ($62,000) in damages.

Starbucks uses the name Xingbake in China. In Chinese, Xing means star while bake sounds like bucks.

Xingbake argued that it had registered its name in 2000, before Starbucks had secured its trademark in China.

However, Starbucks insisted that it had registered its name and logo in 1996 and claimed that the use of the Xingbake name in 38 Shanghai outlets violated its intellectual property rights.

The court concluded that Xingbake's name and logo was similar to Starbucks' and that the US firm was entitled to have the sole right to use its name in both English and Chinese.

China introduced new laws in 2001 to give both Chinese and international companies greater protection for their trademarks.

Foreign companies have complained for years of rampant counterfeiting of goods including CDs, DVDs and designer clothes.

Although the penalty is tiny by Western standards, the decision will encourage others to feel that China's courts are a place where there is now a chance of getting legal redress, says the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Beijing.
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