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Softstar Entertainment Inc. v. Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited (dispute over infringement upon the right to the exclusive use of a registered trademark)
  • Type of Dispute: IPR-->IPR Ownership & Infringement
  • Legal document: Judgment
  • Judgment date: 12-24-2010
  • Procedural status: Trial at Second Instance
  • Source: SPC Gazette,Issue 12,2011

Softstar Entertainment Inc. v. Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited (dispute over infringement upon the right to the exclusive use of a registered trademark)
(dispute over infringement upon the right to the exclusive use of a registered trademark)
Softstar Entertainment Inc. v. Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited
(dispute over infringement upon the right to the exclusive use of a registered trademark)


[Summary] [裁判摘要]
Where an approved registered trademark that is used while providing online gaming services includes a title for a certain class of games that is established by usage of the public, if other persons do not use the game title as a trademark to differentiate product or service sources, but instead such game title is only mentioned in the introduction to game content, features, and modes for the online gaming services without causing confusion of the relevant public regarding the provider of the online gaming services, such acts are appropriate uses of a registered trademark and do not constitute an infringement upon the right to the exclusive use of a registered trademark. 在提供在线网络游戏的服务上经核准注册的商标,含有相关公众约定俗成的一类游戏的名称的,如果他人不是将该游戏名称作为区分商品或者服务来源的商标使用,只是在网络游戏服务中以介绍游戏内容、特点的方式使用该游戏名称,不会造成相关公众对网络游戏服务提供者的混淆,属于对注册商标的正当使用,不构成对注册商标专用权的侵犯。
Plaintiff: Softstar Entertainment Inc., domiciled at Jhonghe City, Taipei County, Taiwan 原告:大宇资讯股份有限公司。
Defendant: Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited, domiciled at Pudong New District, Shanghai Municipality. 被告:上海盛大网络发展有限公司。
Plaintiff Softstar Entertainment Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “Softstar Company”) filed a lawsuit with the People's Court of Pudong New District, Shanghai Municipality against Defendant Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited (hereinafter referred to as “Shanda Company”) over a trademark infringement dispute. 原告大宇资讯股份有限公司(以下简称大宇公司)因与被告上海盛大网络发展有限公司(以下简称盛大公司)商标侵权纠纷一案,向上海市浦东新区人民法院提起诉讼。
As alleged by Plaintiff Softstar Company, ever since 1989, it has independently developed and sold eight series of the “Monopoly” game software, earned a good reputation on the market, and has product identity. In 2005, after examination and approval of the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, Plaintiff obtained the word mark of the “Monopoly,” which was verified to be used in service items of Category 41, including those of “online games provided (on the internet).” In June 2005, Plaintiff discovered that Defendant Shanda Company launched an online game, “SNDA Monopoly”, through the internet. Both “SNDA Monopoly” and the Plantiff's “Monopoly” fell under the service items of “online games provided (on the internet).” Furthermore, they were similar in terms of character composition, meaning, and pronunciation in Chinese. “SNDA Monopoly” did not change the basic meaning of “Monopoly” and both of them had no significant difference, which objectively has already confused and misled game users. Hence, the Defendant's act infringed upon Plaintiff's right to the exclusive use of a trademark. Plaintiff requested the court to order Defendant to immediately stop its acts of infringement, compensate Plaintiff 500,000 yuan for economic losses and 44,825.3 yuan for other losses (including 30,000 yuan for lawyer's fee, 3,500 yuan for notarization fee, and 11,325.3 yuan for travel expenses). 原告大宇公司诉称:自1989年起,原告自主开发研制并销售了8款“大富翁”系列电子游戏软件,在市场上建立了良好的口碑,具有产品识别性。2005年经国家工商行政管理总局商标局核准,原告取得了“大富翁”文字商标,核定使用在第41类服务项目,其中包括“(在计算机网络上)提供在线游戏”项目。2005年6月,原告发现被告盛大公司通过计算机网络推出网络在线游戏“盛大富翁”,与原告的“大富翁”电子游戏同属“(在计算机网络上)提供在线游戏”的服务项目,且“盛大富翁”与“大富翁”在文字组合、含义、读音等方面均构成近似,“盛大富翁”并没有改变“大富翁”的基本含义,两者之间没有明显的区别性,客观上已经对众多游戏用户造成了混淆和误解。因此被告的行为侵犯了原告的商标专用权,要求判令被告立即停止侵权、赔偿经济损失人民币50万元及其他损失人民币 44 825.3元(其中包括律师费人民币3万元、公证费人民币3500元、差旅费人民币 11 325.3元)。
Plaintiff Softstar Company submitted the following evidence: 原告大宇公司提交了以下证据:
First Item of Evidence: the trademark registration certificate (No. 3606240 of the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce), the notarial deed (No. 100208 [2006] of Taiwan Banciao District Court) issued by the Chan Meng-Lung Notary Public Office of Taiwan Banciao District Court, the notarial deeds (No. 5518 [2005] and No. 6161 [2005] of the Notary Public Office of Haidian District, Beijing), which proved that Plaintiff Softstar Company had the right to the exclusive use of the word mark of “Monopoly” and that Defendant Shanda Company used “SNDA Monopoly” on its website. 证据一:国家工商总局商标局第 3606240号商标注册证,台湾板桥地方法院所属民间公证人詹孟龙事务所出具的九十五年度板院民公龙字第100208号公证书,北京市海淀区公证处(2005)海证民字第5518号公证书、(2005)海证民字第 6161号公证书,以证明原告大宇公司享有“大富翁”文字商标专用权和被告盛大公司网站上使用“盛大富翁”的情况。
Second Item of Evidence: five agreements entered into between Plaintiff Softstar Company and non-parties from 1998 to 2002 on the authorized publication or release of standalone games of Monopoly IV, Monopoly V, Monopoly IV and V OEM, and Monopoly V Plus; six agreements entered into between Softstar Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. (a wholly-owned subsidiary as alleged by Plaintiff Softstar Company) and non-parties from 2002 to 2005 on the copyright authorization or product sales of standalone games of Monopoly VI, Monopoly VII, Monopoly VII Traveling in Taiwan, Monopoly VII Game Software, and Monopoly VIII; the Basic Contract of Authorization concluded between Plaintiff and a non-party; and three disks of the Monopoly Game, which proved the business operations of the series of “Monopoly” products by Plaintiff and the material style of the “Monopoly” games. 证据二:原告大宇公司与案外人自 1998年-2002年签订的就《大富翁四》、《大富翁五》、《大富翁四、五OEM版》、《大富翁五Plus》单机版游戏授权出版或发行的5份协议,软星科技(北京)有限公司(原告称该公司为其全资子公司)与案外人2002年-2005年签订的就《大富翁六》、《大富翁七》、《大富翁七游宝岛》、《大富翁七游戏软件》、《大富翁八》单机版游戏的版权授权或产品经销的6份协议,原告与案外人签订的《授权基本合同书》,《大富翁游戏》光盘 3份,以证明原告就“大富翁”系列产品所进行的经营活动和大富翁游戏实物的样式。
Third Item of Evidence: the Lawyer's Letter and printed e-mails, which proved the negotiation between Plaintiff Softstar Company and Defendant Shanda Company. 证据三:律师函、电子邮件打印件,以证明原告大宇公司与被告盛大公司交涉的情况。
Fourth Evidence 4: the Business License for an Enterprise with Legal Person Status of Softstar Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. and the power of attorney issued by Plaintiff Softstar Company to authorize Softstar Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. to notarize and collect evidence on behalf of it; the legal service agreement entered into between Plaintiff and Beijing Dongfang Law Office; the invoice of the lawyer's fee; the fee receipt issued by the Chan Meng-Lung Notary Public Office of Taiwan Banciao District Court; the fee receipt issued by the Notary Public Office of Haidian District, Beijing Municipality; the receipts submitted by the agent of Plaintiff for costs incurred in traveling back and forth between Shanghai and Beijing, which proved the expenses of Plaintiff incurred from the dispute in this case. 证据四:软星科技(北京)有限公司的企业法人营业执照及原告大宇公司授权其公证取证的委托书,原告与北京东方律师事务所签订的法律服务协议,律师收费发票,台湾板桥地方法院所属民间公证人詹孟龙事务所费用收据,北京市海淀区公证处收费收据,原告代理人为诉讼往返上海、北京的相关费用的单据,以证明原告因为本案纠纷产生的费用。
As answered by Defendant Shanda Company, “Monopoly” was a common name of an intelligence chess game that simulates business ventures. As a trademark, “Monopoly” did not have distinctive characteristics. Hence, Defendant had the right to legally use it. The name of the Defendant's game, “SNDA Monopoly,” consisting of “SNDA” that is the trade name of Defendant and “Monopoly” that is a general word, and could be reasonably used. Furthermore, “SNDA Monopoly” was neither the same as nor similar to the trademark of Softstar Company. “SNDA,” the trade name of Defendant, has been registered and it is popular in the industry. It would not cause confusion with the trademark of Plaintiff. Defendant has registered many game trademarks related to “SNDA” and the application for the trademark registration of “SNDA Monopoly” has been accepted by the Trademark Office. In addition, the Chinese characters (“Monopoly” consists of three characters in Chinese) of “Monopoly” of Plaintiff were only used in standalone games as the name of a commodity rather than a trademark. The trademark used in the standalone games was “Softstar.” Plaintiff has never launched any product under service items of Category 41 “online games provided (on the internet)” and the trademark at issue has never been used. Therefore, the name of Defendant's game, “SNDA Monopoly,” has not infringed upon the Plaintiff's right to the exclusive use of a registered trademark. Hence, Shanda Company did not consent to the claims of Plaintiff. 被告盛大公司辩称:“大富翁”是一类模拟商业风险的智力游戏棋的通用名称,“大富翁”作为商标不具有显著性,被告有权正当使用。被告的游戏名称“盛大富翁”系由被告的企业字号“盛大”和通用词汇“富翁”两部分组成,属合理使用,且与原告大宇公司的商标不相同也不相近似。被告的企业字号“盛大”已经注册了商标,而且在业内有知名度,不会造成与原告商标的混淆。被告已经注册了许多与“盛大”有关的游戏商标,“盛大富翁”的商标注册申请也已经得到了商标局的受理。此外,原告的“大富翁”文字仅在其单机版游戏上使用过,还是作为商品名称而不是作为商标使用,其单机版游戏上使用的商标是“softstar”。而原告在第41类“(在计算机网络上)提供在线游戏”项目上从未推出过产品,也未使用过涉案商标、因此被告的游戏名称“盛大富翁”并没有侵犯原告的商标专用权,故不同意原告的诉讼请求。
Defendant Shanda Company submitted the following evidence: 被告盛大公司提交了以下证据:
First Item of Evidence: A total of 37 items of evidence in six groups have been provided. Group 1: 24 reports published in Hong Kong from 2000 to 2002 in the Ming Pao Weekly, Sing Tao Daily, Ta Kung Pao, Hong Kong Economic Times, Hong Kong Commercial Daily, Oriental Daily, Science and Technology Daily, proving that “Monopoly” was a conventional chess and card game; Group 2: eight articles published from 2001 to 2002 in the magazines of Mainland China such as Popsoft, Play, Policy & Management, Upgrade You, PC Magazine, and Computer & Network, proving that “Monopoly” has become a common name in online games and mobile games; Group 3: the materials issued by the United States Trademark and Patent Office on granting patent right to the disk game installation named “Monopoly,” proving that “Monopoly” had been granted a patent in 1935 and it has become a common name for chess games. “Monopoly” does not have the distinctiveness and identifiability to be registered as a trademark; Group 4: the Certificate of Literature Provisioning and the annexes thereto issued by the Shanghai Library and Institute of Scientific & Technical Information of Shanghai, proving that the above 33 items of evidence were professionally retrieved by Shanghai Library and Institute of Science & Technical Information of Shanghai; Group 5: the Everything I Know About Business I Learned From Monopoly by Alan Axelrod (translated into Chinese by Wang Bohong), proving that “Monopoly” was a game similar to bridge and flying chess. According to the rules of such game, a player defeated his or her opponent by making him or her bankrupt, from which he or she knew the rules for doing business; Group 6: the Monopoly board game, proving that the games and cards named “Monopoly” are being widely produced and sold. The said six groups of evidence intended to prove that: “Monopoly” is a common name of games simulating practical rules for doing business; and the trademark of “Monopoly” of Plaintiff Softstar Company was not distinctive and consumers could not identify products or service sources through it.
 证据一:共有6组37份证据。第一组: 2000年-2002年我国香港地区出版的《明报》、《星岛日报》、《大公报》、《经济日报》、《香港商报》、《东方日报》、《科技日报》等刊登的24份报道,以证明“大富翁”是一款传统的棋牌类游戏;第二组:2001年-2002年的我国大陆出版的《大众软件》、《家用电脑与游戏》、《政策与管理》、《新潮电子》、《电脑时空》、《计算机与网络》等杂志刊登的8篇文章,以证明“大富翁”已成为网络游戏和手机游戏的通用名称;第三组:美国专利局对名为“大富翁”的盘式游戏装置授予专利权的资料,以证明“大富翁”在1935年就已申请专利并被批准,“大富翁”已成为游戏棋的通用名称,不具有注册为商标的显著性与识别性;第4组:上海图书馆上海科学技术情报研究所出具的《文献提供证明》及附件,以证明前三组33份证据由上海图书馆上海科学技术情报研究所专业检索;第五组:亚伦·艾斯勒著、王伯鸿译《大富翁的赚钱智慧》一书,以证明大富翁和桥牌、飞行棋一样都是游戏,其游戏规则是以令对手破产取胜,从中体会经商之道;第6组:强手大富翁游戏棋,以证明名为“大富翁”的游戏棋牌仍在广泛生产和销售。以上六组证据都旨在证明,“大富翁”是一类模拟现实经商之道的游戏的通用名称,原告大宇公司的“大富翁”商标不具有显著性,消费者无法通过“大富翁”识别产品或服务来源。

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