The Beijing Wu-Mart Yutingqiao store has been sued for selling fake Adidas shoes and was sentenced by Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court to pay Adidas compensation of CNY20,000.
Adidas had registered — and has the exclusive rights for — the "three-leaf grass" and the "three-stripes" trademarks in China. These are distinguishing trademarks for Adidas products. However, in September 2007, the company found that some shoes sold in the Beijing Wu-Mart Yutingqiao store had similar or identical trademarks.
Adidas said that as a chain supermarket, Wu-Mart must have known that these shoes were maliciously imitating the Adidas trademarks — however the supermarket still sold these products and this was a trademark infringement. Therefore, it asked the defendant to stop the infringement, destroy the infringing goods, eliminate the adverse effects, and pay Adidas compensation of CNY500,000 for economic loss.
Based on the above facts, Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court decided that the acts of the defendant had constituted a violation of Adidas' exclusive right to the registered trademarks and ordered that the defendant should pay CNY20,000 to Adidas as compensation for economic loss.
THE BITER BIT
It really is ironic that a company like Adidas, that has made and still increases its fortune in this globalised world by exploiting cheap labour in emerging countries, should be the beneficiary of a court judgement when they are themselves victimised.
Adidas, as a company has enjoyed the benefits of poor wage conditions in China, and India and is contemplating removing the manufacturing base from China because the emerging economy of that country is forcing up labour costs. While it is to the credit of the Chinese legal system that it is seen to be impartial, it is not to the credit of such countries that they see the short term benefits of foreign manufacturers exploiting their citizens for the sake of the formation of employment for the masses. It would have been better had these countries negotiated a fair wage for their citizens in the first place, a move that would have ensured better prosperity for the people and a much more secure and stable manufacturing base.