Zhejiang Huatian, China’s largest scooter manufacturer, was fined $1.1 million for selling scooters under the Yamaha brand name.
The Chinese company, Zhejiang Huatian, registered a shell company in Japan’s remote Ishikawa prefecture in 2000 under the same three characters used by Yamaha to render its name in Chinese. This Japanese shell company then signed a licensing agreement with Zhejiang Huatian, allowing it to market its scooters in China under that name. Zhejiang Huatian went a step further by printing Yamaha’s name in English letters on its scooters.
One more example of the Chinese market playing fast and loose with the intellectual property of companies it is supposed to be doing legitimate business with. This seems to happen a lot and every time I hear of another company rushing to China, I expect this to happen again and again.
This wasn’t a little back alley operation trying to make a quick buck, Zhejiang Huatian is big.
It has sold its products, which include engine parts made under contract, in more than 20 countries, including the U.S., Germany, Italy, Iran and Vietnam, U.K. and Russia. In addition to the Yamaha brand, Zhejiang Huatian also markets scooters under the names Huatian, Jiaji and Feiling.
Aren’t there any rules over there, or rather, any rules they will not ignore?
Link: Forbes Magazine