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Firm appeals copyright case

A LOCAL court heard an appeal yesterday brought by a Chinese firm that was found guilty of copyright infringement last year.

In November, the Pudong New Area People's Court found that FirstTrust China Ltd had violated the trademark of Charles Schwab & Co, a financial service company based in the United States.

FirstTrust had been using the Chinese name "Jiaxin," the same Chinese name Charles Schwab uses. Since both firms are engaged in the financial services business, the court ruled FirstTrust had purposely used the name in order to take advantage of Charles Schwab's reputation.

FirstTrust China was ordered to change its name and pay 150,000 yuan (US$21,930) in compensation.

At yesterday's appeal, FirstTrust told the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court its Chinese name was simply a translation of the name of its investor, FirstTrust Group Inc, an American company that helps Chinese companies get listed on the American stock market. FirstTrust claimed it was a coincidence that its Chinese name was the same as that of Charles Schwab.

Charles Schwab & Co said their firm had registered "Jiaxin" as a trademark in China in 2000, three years before FirstTrust was founded. Charles Schwab & Co said FirstTrust displayed the phrase "American Jiaxin" in its office, on name cards, on advertising material and on its Website, and claimed this would mislead potential customers.

The result of yesterday's appeal is pending.


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