Penalty for faking legend: Maradona $490,000, Chinese imposters zero

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
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  • Updated: Jun 19, 2013 02:37 IST

Football World Cup winning captain, Argentinian Diego Maradona will take home more than $490,000 (about Rs 2.85 crore) after a Beijing court ruled in his favour in a dispute involving the illegal use of his name and image in an online game.

The court accepted the 52-year-old Argentinian's claim that Hot-Blooded Soccer (HBS) had infringed on his image rights by featuring his cartoon and signature without consent.

The game, which was developed by The9 Ltd, had been available on Sina's online game platform, state-run newspaper, China Daily, reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper report said Maradona had demanded 20 million yuan in damages from Shanghai The9 Information Technology Co, The9 Computer Technology Consulting (Shanghai) Co and Beijing Sina Internet Information Service Co.

Co-founded by Zhu Jun, the majority owner of Shanghai Shenhua Football Club, The9 was ordered to pay 3 million yuan for infringing on image rights and 1 yuan for mental anguish.

Trademark violations are on the rise in China but it is willing to show that it is serious about dealing with such cases, especially if the name is as big as Maradona's.

"The figure was based on an endorsement deal Maradona, former Argentina national coach, has with a German brand," said his lawyer Ge Youshan. Xu Changbo, the attorney representing the internet company, said he did not think Sina would appeal.


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