Wed, Nov 22, 2006 - Page 12 News List

China Airlines in dispute over use of Yankees logo

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

China Airlines Ltd's (華航) 2007 calendars featuring popular supermodel Lin Chi-ling (林志玲) have given rise to a piracy dispute as one of the photos, cashing in on the Wang Chien-ming (王建民) fever, shows the logo of the New York Yankees.

The April photo shows Lin wearing a striped white top, which looks like the Yankees jersey, standing with her left fist raised in the air against the backdrop of a baseball field. A big "NY" trademark can clearly be seen on the field.

"We've contacted the Major League Baseball in New York and the MLB has instructed us to hire Taiwanese lawyers to study relevant laws and regulations as the dispute occurred here," said Polo Tsai (蔡勇旺), marketing and sales director of Erics Sports Marketing Inc (智林運動行銷), the MLB's sole representative in Taiwan, during a telephone interview yesterday.

As the MLB has strict restrictions on licensing to protect its legal sponsors, Tsai said that whether or not China Airlines had infringed on any law would be determined soon.

Jim Small, the MLB's Asian vice president, was in Taipei on Monday to talk about the importance of gaining licensing approval during a seminar held by Erics Sports Marketing.

"Let me make it very clear. You cannot use MLB marks, Yankee marks, or any related logos without having a deal with us," Small said on Monday.

"In the last six months, we found two or three different violations," he said.

While most of the violations might have occurred because users did not what the rules were, it was essential to protect the sponsors' rights and interests, Small added.

In response, China Airlines said that the photo was provided by its advertising agency, David Advertising, said Johnson Sun (孫鴻文), spokesman for the nation's largest carrier.

"The advertising company would have and should have obtained the MLB's approval," Sun said.

China Airlines said it would destroy the 150,000 copies of the calendar if it were found to have broken the law.

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