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Disney wins copyright infringement case against Chinese companies

Two Chinese companies must pay compensation to Disney Enterprises, Inc and Pixar for intellectual property right infringement and unfair competition, according to a recent Shanghai court verdict.

Disney Enterprises, Inc and Pixar, holders of the copyrights of animated comedies "Cars" and "Cars 2" as well as the character images, sued G-Point in Beijing, and Bluemtv in Xiamen in eastern China's Fujian province, after they found the images, title and posters of animated movie "The Autobots" resembled those of "Cars" and "Cars 2."

"The Autobots" screened last July was produced by Bluemtv and released by G-Point.

The case was heard in Shanghai Pudong New District People's Court in June.

The court ruled an immediate stop to the infringement act and ordered compensation of over 1.35 million yuan ($194,440).

Bluemtv was asked to pay 1 million yuan to cover the plantiffs' economic losses, of which G-Point has joint liability for 800,000 yuan. The two companies were also asked to pay 350,000 yuan to cover the legal expenses of the plaintiffs.

The court said the images of the main characters in "The Autobots" -- "K1" and "K2" -- infringed on the copyright of the characters "Lightening McQueen" and "Francesco Bernoulli" in "Cars" and "Cars 2."

The court said the Chinese title of the movie has a different meaning to the Disney productions and should not be seen as unfair competition, but the resemblance in the visual effect of the movie's name on the poster constitutes an act of unfair competition, although the overall design of the posters is different.