A court in Beijing has opened a hearing on yet another legal dispute between herbal tea producer Jiaduobao (China) Drink Co Ltd and Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd (GPH), this one involving claims of design infringement, the Beijing-based Legal Mirror reported Monday.
GPH is seeking compensation of 300 million yuan ($46.29 million) for what it claims is a lack of substantial difference in the packaging and decoration of Jiaduobao's products and those of GPH's own well-known herbal tea Wong Lo Kat. GPH claims that the similarity has misled the public.
GPH said its unique design with a red background and Chinese calligraphy featuring Wong Lo Kat has been violated by Jia-duobao.
The two have been in court many times in recent years involving at least 15 lawsuits worth a total of 3 billion yuan over such claims as fake advertisements, trademark infringements and unfair competition.
A local court in Beijing's Da-xing district is reviewing the latest case.
Hong Kong-based Jiaduobao had been using the Wong Lo Kat brand since 1995, when it leased it from GPH. However, the company was only authorized to use the brand until 2010, but it allegedly had the lease contract extended by bribing administrative staff at GPH.
During the contract period, the herbal teas in red cans achieved huge success in China's beverages market.
Jiaduobao has denied the claims involved in the suit.
On December 2, a court in South China's Guangdong Province made a final ruling over fake advertisements. It ruled against Jiaduobao and ordered it to pay compensation of more than 10 million yuan to GPH and make a public apology.
There are five other companies with names associated with Jiaduobao in China, according to the Legal Mirror.