Wed, May 10, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Polylight appealing Din Tai Fung ruling

By Wang Ting-chuan, Yang Ya-min and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Samples of Polylight Design Co’s Lungzai character, right, are shown alongside steamed bun restaurant chain Din Tai Fung’s registration papers for the same design on Monday.

Photo: Wang Ting-fu, Taipei Times

Polylight Design Co on Monday said it has appealed against allegations of appropriation of intellectual property rights by restaurant chain Din Tai Fung, who said Polylight used “mascots” designed for the restaurant.

Polylight manger Hsu Wen-hua (徐文華) said the company has been working with Din Tai Fung since 2008, designing three restaurant-specific mascots — cartoon figures of Paozai (包仔), Lungzai (籠仔) and a frog — that were for sale at the restaurant chain’s stores.

Polylight agreed to surrender ownership rights of the 3D trademark of the mascots to the restaurant chain in 2009, but Polylight retained the rights for the 2D trademark, Hsu said.

Hsu said that not only had Din Tai Fung circumvented the company to register the 2D trademarked mascots in its own name, it had also, without warning, terminated its contract with Polylight.

The termination of the contract has caused Polylight great losses, as there were more than 10,000 items stored in its warehouse specifically made as part of the contract, Hsu said.

Hsu said Din Tai Fung planned the takeover of its intellectual property rights by directly hiring the designer of the Lungzai and Paozai characters, adding that the restaurant chain was also “stealing” the intellectual rights of the frog figure that was featured in other brochures and leaflets promoting restaurant products.

Polylight is suing Din Tai Fung and its manager, Yang Chi-hua (楊紀華), for violations of the Copyright Act (著作權法).

The Taipei District Court recently ruled in favor of Din Tai Fung, saying that Polylight had knowledge of the restaurant’s registration for the 2D trademark; that Polylight had a history of being unable to provide these products for the restaurant and that Polylight knew of the restaurant’s manufacture and use of its own version of the Paozai and Lungzai products, but had not notified the restaurant chain that such an act was breach of their contract.

Hsu on Monday said that the ruling was a result of “extensive interpretation” by the court and appealed the ruling, which will see trial under a collegiate bench at the Intellectual Property Court. A date for the trial has not been set.

Hsu said the restaurant’s claims that its products were different from that of Polylight, and that its claims that Polylight has been unable to provide the products, does not address the issue that the restaurant is violating Polylight’s intellectual property rights.

Hsu added that Din Tai Fung should not have altered the trademarks in any way, despite having obtained the rights to the 3D trademarks.

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