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A Shanghai court said Wednesday that it has ordered two Chinese companies to pay a total of 300,000 yuan, or $37,000, to liquor maker Societe Jas Hennessy & Co. and stop selling products that violate its trademark. The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court ruled that wines marketed by Xiang Mu Tong Trading Co. and bottled by Xiamen Golden Huanya Food Co. under the name “Hanlissy,” or “Henglishi” in Chinese, were too similar to Hennessy’s name, registered as an international trademark in 1990, according to a report issued on the official Web site, www.chinacourt.org. The wine was sold as “French cognac brandy” in local supermarkets, although it was bottled in China, and the court ruled the Chinese companies had sought to mislead consumers, the report said. Societe Jas Hennessy & Co., a unit of French luxury goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, had sought 500,000 yuan ($62,000) in compensation from the Chinese companies, it said. A Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate court official, who refused to give her name, as do most Chinese officials, confirmed that the court handled the case but said all the information it could provide was in the report. Phone calls to Xiang Mu Tong’s office went unanswered Wednesday. A man who answered the phone at Xiamen Golden Huanya’s office said he had no comment. Foreign companies increasingly have turned to the courts to seek protection for their trademarks, patents and other intellectual property. However, piracy of foreign goods of all types remains rampant despite China’s repeated pledges to crack down on problem. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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