|The infringement involves the use of a logo - silhouette of former basketball star Michael Jordan slam-dunking - on the sports shoes of the Chinese companies. (File Photo)
BEIJING, July 17 -- American sporting goods giant Nike is suing two Chinese shoe manufacturers for alleged copyright infringement and a French supermarket for displaying and selling the shoes.
The infringement involves the use of a logo - silhouette of former basketball star Michael Jordan slam-dunking - on the sports shoes of the Chinese companies.
No 2 Intermediate People's Court held its second hearing yesterday. No verdict was announced.
Nike International Ltd is demanding the three - the shoe companies based in Jinjiang, Fujian
Province, and the Shanghai branch of France-based retailer Auchan - to stop the infringement, make a public apology, and pay compensation of 1 million yuan ($131,000).
But the three contend the logo is not well-known in China though it might be in other countries, and therefore, no apology is necessary. They also contend the compensation is too high.
As one of the most frequently copied brands, Nike has been fighting numerous counterfeits of its goods in recent years. Other major international brands are also doing the same.
Felicia Deng, Cartier's Shanghai representative, said the company is seeing counterfeits of its products worldwide. "We have a group of lawyers to deal with it."
Shanghai High People's Court statistics show the courts are seeing an increase in intellectual property rights (IPR) cases involving overseas brands.
Last year, 17.6 percent of the 972 IPR infringement cases were related to overseas companies or individuals.
Brands most copied were from the United States, Britain, Japan and Germany. They involved Levi Strauss jeans, and the sports products of Nike and Adidas.
Early this year, Nike found several shops selling sports shoes bearing the slam-dunk logo but not manufactured by the company. The shoes were being sold for about 100 yuan ($12.8) per pair.
"We found infringements not only in the Auchan store in Shanghai but also in its store in Ningbo," Nike's lawyer told China Daily.
Nike sent solicitors' letters to Auchan Shanghai on February 2, requiring it to stop the infringement and provide records of purchase and sales the shoes.
"The requests were all ignored," the lawyer told the court.
Nike has filed suits against both the Shanghai and Ningbo offices of the retailer and the manufacturers of the shoes, Jinjiang Kangwei Shoes Co Ltd and Jinjiang Longzhibu Shoes Co Ltd.