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July 5, 2012

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Bloomberg: Shanghai company a copycat

A SHANGHAI court heard a case yesterday as the world's largest finance data provider, Bloomberg LP, sued Shanghai Great Wisdom Co for copying its software and hardware designs.

The dispute was a highlight of heated competition in China's financial information service market as the country steps up efforts to develop and open up the capital market.

Extensive comparisons between products from the two sides were displayed at Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court yesterday. Bloomberg took its terminal to court to show Great Wisdom's version is a copycat.

It said that the multi-color keyboard, dual monitors, the theme colors of software, and the layout of the user interface are all copied from the Bloomberg model, and has thus violated China's law against unfair competition.

Bloomberg said users could mistake one for the other, and demanded 6.6 million yuan (US$1.04 million) compensation and an apology from Great Wisdom.

Si Weijiang, lawyer for Great Wisdom, argued that the monitors of the two sides are both uniform products of Hewlett-Packard, and Great Wisdom purchased its keyboard from a third-party supplier. He argued that Bloomberg doesn't own the patents for colors and layouts of the software, which are commonly used in stock-trading software and financial TV programs.

The judge ordered the two sides to present purchase contracts after court, and no verdict was handed down yesterday.

Bloomberg, which started providing financial data in 1983, said it entered the Chinese market in the early 1990s and became China's third largest financial data provider in 2010.

Great Wisdom, established in 2001, said it is the largest financial data provider in China in revenue and users.

Competition between the companies heated up in recent years after Great Wisdom drew up ambitious plans for overseas expansion, encroaching on terrain dominated by foreign providers including Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters.

Shanghai-listed Great Wisdom said in its 2011 annual report that it had finished an English database for all 2,366 firms listed in China, and it would accelerate international versions of its products.


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