China intensifies fight against misuse of Olympic trademarks


The protection of the Olympic trademarks has become a major concern for the government in the countdown to the 2008 Beijing Games.

Liao Peigui, a 20-year-old computer engineer of Danzhou City (Central Hainan), has been arrested for operating a phony Beijing 2008 Olympics website. Liao 'cloned' the official website of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games and swindled individuals out of as much as Rmb400,000 (approximately $53,191) by running bogus contests and persuading those who had 'won' prizes to transfer a deposit equal to 10% to 20% of the promised prize money to Liao's bank account. Some individuals lost as much as Rmb10,000 (approximately $1,330).

Liao's arrest demonstrates the Beijing municipality's efforts to protect the Olympic image and trademarks. The municipality aims to stamp out infringement of IP rights and crack down on illegal use of the Internet. Further, in April 2007 China launched a six-month campaign targeting online pornography, illegal lotteries, trade in infringing goods and fraud.

Moreover, the Beijing Intellectual Property Office has created a phone number to report fake Olympic goods and misuse of Olympic trademarks. However, despite the country's efforts, infringing activities involving misuse of the Olympic trademarks are on the increase.

Ai-Leen Lim, Colin Ng & Partners, Hong Kong

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