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A Chinese court on Monday ordered the U.S. company that publishes The Wall Street Journal to pay a Chinese calligrapher $50,000 in a dispute over its use of one of his Chinese characters as its corporate logo in China, a lawyer for the company said. The case was an unusual collision between art and commerce in a Chinese legal system that is under pressure to fight widespread piracy of copyrights and other intellectual property. Guan Dongsheng drew the character at the request of Dow Jones & Co. employees as a gift to the company chairman in 1994. Guan filed suit this year, saying he retained rights to use his character “Dao,” which sounds like Dow. Dow Jones said Guan gave oral permission to use the character, but the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court rejected that argument in a ruling Monday, said Lu Qing, a lawyer for Dow Jones. “The court believed that there was insufficient evidence that there was an oral contract,” Lu said. “It told Dow Jones to stop using the character and to pay 400,000 yuan (US$50,000).” Lu said Dow Jones had not decided whether to appeal. Chinese regard calligraphy as a high art, and collectors pay millions of yuan (hundreds of thousands of dollars) for the best work. Guan’s character is used by Dow Jones on its Web site, advertising and business cards in China. Dow Jones said earlier that it had tried to reach a settlement with Guan, whose lawsuit asked for 5 million yuan (US$600,000). His lawyers had said he rejected an offer of US$40,000. Guan drew the character as part of a Chinese saying presented to company chairman Peter Kann during a visit to Beijing — “All gentlemen love wealth, but only if gotten through noble ways.” The “dao” character in that sentence means “noble way.” Guan is a former art professor at the Nationalities University in Beijing. The university said Monday that he no longer worked there and it didn’t have a current phone number for him. The newspaper Beijing Evening News quoted Guan as saying that after paying his legal bills, he planned to donate the remaining court award to China’s intellectual property-protection agencies. Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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