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[SHANGHAI] Disney has won a copyright dispute over a Chinese knock-off of its animated movie Cars, a China court said Friday, a rare victory for a foreign firm in a country famous for counterfeits.
Bluemtv, which makes the Chinese cartoon The Autobots, and the film's publisher have been ordered to stop their infringement of Disney's copyrights, the Shanghai High People's Court said in a statement posted on the Twitter-like Weibo.
The court also ordered the Chinese side to pay 1.35 million yuan (S$282,104) to Disney including compensation and legal fees, a microscopic sum for a company that opened a US$5.5-billion theme park in Shanghai in June.
Produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Disney in 2006, the US film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
The court said The Autobots, released last year, took the design of key characters from the Cars series, including Lightning McQueen in the first film and Francesco Bernoulli in the sequel, violating the copyrights of Disney and Pixar.
The Chinese name for Autobots also has a similar sound and meaning to the translated title of the Disney film, it said, constituting "unfair competition".
Intellectual property rights are a bone of contention between Western countries and China.
A Chinese court in May ruled against Apple in a case it brought against a small maker of "iphone"-branded leather goods.
But earlier this month, in what many saw as an encouraging sign, basketball megastar Michael Jordan won part of his trademark suit against a China-based sportswear company, following a years-long struggle for control over the rights to his Chinese name.