Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bandai's Legal Action Against Pirated Gunpla Manufacturer & Seller in China

Finally, Bandai deploys the most direct attack on pirated Gunpla brands: legal action against them.

From a report (in Chinese) by China Legal Publicity on April 23rd, a case was bought before Beijing First Intermediate People's Court on April 21st, where the plaintiff, Bandai (through its representatives) is suing two Chinese companies over their conducts of illegally manufacturing and selling products copyrighted by Bandai, and the products as mentioned specifically referred to Gunpla kits.

It's also mentioned in the report that before the court opened, the plaintiff, with the help from the court's clerks, displayed a cartful of original and pirated models kits for the judges' examination.

Bandai registered Gundam, its product series, packaging and manual printing in the Chinese government's copyright office on May 6th and October 27th back in 2008.

The first defendant is an electronic toy manufacturer based in Shantou City, Guangdong Province, which produced pirated Gunplas under its "TT" brand. The second defendant is a toy distributor based in Beijing named Huang, which sold the pirated products made by the first defendant in large volume. If convicted, both companies must admit, offer public apology, stop the copyright breach, clear its influence and compensate Bandai over their illegal act, which has caused the company huge monetary loss.

The first defendant argued that it *does not* know that the Gundam models are copyrighted by Bandai, and the manufacturing work was actually being contracted to another company, thus denying the accuse of breaching the copyright act. The second defendant, Huang argued that he does not know that the products are copyrighted by Bandai as well. Also, as a mere seller, he denied the responsibility of the copyright breach.

From the 41 items shown before the court, the first defendant *admit* that some of them were being illegally produced by them, but denied the rest (may be produced by other companies).

The court went on for more than 2 hours, and as the arguments became more complicated, the presiding judge rested the court without any conviction, pending it till another undisclosed date.

And so, the war begun. ^^; From the case, it seems that there's no room to escape for the two defendants. The argument of not knowing that the products were copyrighted is worse than a lie told by a 3-year-old. It's almost like they are arguing that they don't know who Bandai is, and being in the same industry (toy and hobby), that's extremely laughable.

The manufacturer of the TT brand has admitted to the production of some of them, but denying the others shown before the court, so if the case goes on, the other pirated brands are going to be investigated as well. The result from this case is going to affect many other companies involved in producing and selling pirated Gunplas, that's for sure.

Information is from China Legal Publicity. Also reported on Xhood Dotnet, China 114 Toy Web, Toys 365. All in Chinese.