ARTnewsletter Archive

Beijing Court Rules in Favor of Sotheby’s in Counterfeiting Case

Sotheby’s announced it won a key anti-counterfeiting case in China when a Beijing court upheld an earlier decision against a Sichuan-based auctioneer.

NEW YORK—Sotheby’s announced it won a key anti-counterfeiting case in China when a Beijing court upheld an earlier decision against a Sichuan-based auctioneer.

In February of this year, the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court ordered defendant Sichuan Su Fu Bi Auction Co. Ltd. to cease all usage of the SUFUBI mark and trade name, the Chinese version of the Sotheby’s mark. Sichuan Su Fu Bi was also ordered to pay Sotheby’s compensation in the amount of RMB 110,000 ($16,000) and publish an apology in the national newspaper, Guangming Daily.

According to a statement from Sotheby’s, the court recognized the Chinese version of the Sotheby’s mark as an unregistered well-known trademark and a famous trade name.

Recently the Beijing High People’s Court issued a final judgment that rejected Su Fu Bi’s appeal. The High Court accepted evidence that Sotheby’s was established in London in 1744 and that its Hong Kong office was established in 1974, followed by its Shanghai office in 1994, according to a statement from Sotheby’s.

According to the decision the defendant “must immediately cease using the trademark ‘Sotheby’s’ . . . and similar marks,” and pay damages.

China has become a key market for Sotheby’s in recent years as demand for objects ranging from Ming vases to contemporary Chinese paintings has soared among growing numbers of newly wealthy Chinese buyers.

  • Issues