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Court stops sales of Peter Rabbit books
www.chinaview.cn 2004-12-24 09:02:11

    BEIJING, Dec. 24 -- Despite two separate appeals, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Press will not be allowed to continue publishing Peter Rabbit books.

    Officials from the publisher said the decision that it will keep its books of the famous character off the shelf was contradictory.

    Court ruling

    The Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled yesterday that the press did not violate nine of 11 trademarks owned by British Frederick Warne & Company Ltd, which owns Petter Rabitt.

    Still, the court did not rule on whether the Chinese press had violated the other two trademarks.

    Instead, it referred to a previous judgment last week which upheld the administrative decision to pull the books off the market.

    The case started last year when Warne & Company complained the Chinese press violated its trademarks.

    In April 2003, the Chinese press published 19 stories created by American writer Beatrix Potter.

    Books seized

    The local bureau of industry and commerce seized more than 20,000 Peter Rabbit books and fined the publisher 358,000 yuan (US$43,000) in August 2003.

    But the publisher hit back, suing both the bureau and Warne & Company.

    Last week, the court upheld the decision of the Xicheng Branch of the Beijing Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce. In effect, the court said the Chinese publisher violated copyright.

    Late American writer Beatrix Potter, who died in 1943, created Peter Rabbit.

    Between 1994 and 1997, the British company registered the 11 trademarks on Potter's creation, two of which are on Peter Rabbit and another nine on related characters.

    According to the Chinese law, copyright ends five decades after the death of the author.

(Source: China Daily)

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