Matsushita Susumu of Japan Charges Jielong Foodstuff Co., Ltd. of Shanghai with Infringement upon Its Copyright

The plaintiff Mr. Matsushita Susumu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Matsushita Susumu Co. of Japan completed, in April 1989, the cartoon animal image in his artistic work entitled "a Little in Love", the copyright of which is owned by Matsushita Susumu. The cartoon animal image printed on the package of "901 Kuailewang Soft Sweets" manufactured by the Shanghai Jielong Foodstuff Co., Ltd. is identical with the cartoon animal image of the artistic work entitled "a Little in Love" in which the plaintiff enjoys the copyright. In 1997, after discovering that the cartoon animal image of the plaintiff's artistic work "a Little in Love" was printed on the package of the products manufactured by the defendant, the plaintiff Matsushita Susumu Corporation of Japan immediately raised its opposition and sent a warning in writing to the defendant. On 3 November 1997, the defendant wrote to the plaintiff, informing that it would stop printing the package of "the Kuailewang Soft Sweets" on the very day of receiving the warning and recollect the soft sweets in this package from the market, and making an apology to the plaintiff.

Upon hearing the case, No. 1 Intermediate People's Court of Shanghai Municipality determined that the plaintiff Matsushita Susumu Co., of Japan is the copyright owner of the artistic work "a Little in Love". Although the work was published in Japan, since Japan and China both are member states of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, according to the principle of "national treatment" under this international convention and the related provisions of the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China, the copyright enjoyed by the plaintiff in the work it has created should be under the legal protection in China. The defendant has infringed the exploitation right of the plaintiff's copyright by reproducing, without authorization of the plaintiff, the artistic work "a Little in Love", the copyright which the plaintiff enjoys, on the package of the goods it manufactured; hence, it should bear the corresponding legal liabilities according to law. The Court, on 25 June 1998, ruled that: 1. the defendant Shanghai Jielong Foodstuff Co., Ltd. stop its infringement on the copyright in the cartoon animal image of the artistic work "A Little in Love" of the plaintiff Matsuhsita Susumu Co. of Japan  and destroy all the remaining packages of "the 901 Kuailewang Soft Sweets" which bear the cartoon animal image of the artistic work within ten days starting from the effective date of the judgment; 2. the defendant Shanghai Jielong Foodstuff Co., Ltd. make "an Statement of Apology" in the Xinmin Evening News within a month starting from the effective date of the judgment; and 3. the defendant Shanghai Jielong Foodstuff Co., Ltd. compensate the plaintiff Matsuhsita Susumu Co. of Japan RMB 170,000 yuan for its economic losses. The judgment should be fully executed within ten days from the date on which it enters into effect.

Dissatisfied, the defendant Shanghai Jielong Foodstuff Co., Ltd. appealed to the Higher People's Court of Shanghai Municipality. Through mediation by the Higher People's Court of Shanghai Municipality, on 24 August 1998, both parties voluntarily reached an agreement that: 1. the appellant the Shanghai Jielong Foodstuff Co., Ltd. shall compensate, to Matsuhsita Susumu of Japan, RMB 200,000 yuan for its economic losses and the compensation shall be fully made within ten days starting from the date on which the Mediation Paper becomes effective; and 2. Matsuhsita Susumu Co. of Japan agrees that the appellant uses the remaining 119,600 packages of "the 901 Kuailewang Soft Sweets" which bear the cartoon animal image of "A Little in Love", on condition that an indication of the plaintiff's copyright be put on the packages.