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On 27 June 2018, the Beijing IP Court made a ruling to lift the restraining order imposed on Shanghai Canxing Culture Media Co., Ltd. (Canxing) that prevented them from using the Chinese title of “The Voice of China” (Chinese:中国好声音 Pinyin: Zhōng Guó Hǎo Shēng Yīn). This was quickly followed by the State Administration of Radio and Television approving the reuse of the show title. With many in the Lifang & Partners team being fans of the show, we are pleased to have helped The Voice of China make a comeback.
Disputes between the parties started in 2016 after Talpa unilaterally ended Canxing’s production license and entered into arrangements with Talent International (Talent) to form a joint venture that would produce the Voice of China. Canxing believed that rights to the Chinese title belong to Zhejiang TV Satellite Channel, who first registered the title for broadcasting purposes in China. As such, when their license was terminated, they stopped using the English title but carried on using the Chinese title. Talent considered the use of the Chinese title to be infringement despite it being officially registered to Zhejiang TV Satellite Channel.
As a result, Talent claimed that Canxing and others had infringed its lawful rights and interests as they used the show title without obtaining an effective license from Talpa. In June 2016, Talent filed an ex-parte application for a pre-suit restraining order with the Beijing IP Court that prevented Canxing and others from using the Chinese title. The Beijing IP Court granted the restraining order.
This case is noteworthy because it is the first case in which a pre-suit restraining order was made by the Beijing IP Court. Moreover, as the show previously had extremely high ratings (reportedly 120 million at one point) and the case had been filed just before the beginning of season 5, the dispute captured the attention of the Chinese general public.
Fast forward two years and the situation has turned around for Canxing. On 25 June 2018, Talent settled their dispute with Canxing. As part of their settlement, the parties agreed to drop all lawsuits. This was followed by Talent applying to the Beijing IP Court to have the restraining order against Canxing lifted.
Because the dispute has now been settled, we can soon enjoy the Voice of China once again.
Lifang & Partners helped ensure the return of a much-loved television show. This was achieved through hard work and a firm grasp of the law. Lifang & Partners has rich experience in fields related to television and media and can provide clients with specialist legal services related to various aspects of television and media production, distribution and ownership.