- Our Team
- Practice Areas
- Notable Cases
- About us
On July 9, Lifang partner Xie Guanbin and his associate Deng Yong represented I.M. Pei before the Beijing Haidian District Court. Mr. I.M. Pei had accused Changzhou Changfa Property Company (“Changzhou Changfa”), Jiangsu Changfa Property Company (“Jiangsu Changfa”), Changzhou Daily Press and www.sina.com of infringing his personality rights. Nanfang Zhoumo [Southern Weekend], Legal Daily, Xinjingbao [Beijing News] and other media attended the hearing and reported on the proceedings and the facts of the case. Nanfang Zhoumo reported the case under the heading, “Real Estate Developer’s False Ads Debunked by Master Architect,” and Legal Daily and Xinjingbao both reported the court hearing in detail.
In July 2008, a friend of Mr. Pei noticed expressions such as “Changfa Real Estate joining hands with world famous architect I.M. Pei” along with gigantic photos of Mr. Pei on large billboards outside Changzhou Changfa’s real estate development. The phrase “Designed by I.M. Pei to be a Hundred Year Legend” appeared in advertising materials. Lifang lawyers discovered that Changzhou Changfa had made similar statements on its website. Changzhou Daily Press featured news reports in its Changzhou Daily and Changzhou Evening News which said that “I.M. Pei, the world-class master, has given free rein to his magic touch, and his attention to detail resulting in glorious and noble buildings.” This story caused quite a sensation when it appeared on www.sina.com.
I.M. Pei argued that as the defendants had infringed his rights and interests, they should be held liable. He asked the court to order them to cease publishing the infringing articles and advertisements, cease releasing and destroy the advertising materials, publish an apology continuously for one month in the Changzhou Daily, Changzhou Evening News and on www.sina.com, and pay compensation of RMB500,000 for economic losses.
The defendants conceded most of the plaintiff’s assertions, although Changzhou Changfa insisted that the phrase “Designed by I.M. Pei to be a Hundred Year Legend” did not infringe the plaintiff’s rights. The defendants apologized orally before the court for the damage caused to Mr. Pei’s rights and interests. However, the parties could not agree on the amount of compensation and the specifics of any public apology. The hearing closed with the court due to announce its decision at a later date.