A popular Chinese networking site is suing for 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) in compensation after a competitor used what it said was a similar name to steal and mislead users.
Kaixin001.com, a social networking site operated by the Beijing-based Kaixinren company, was launched in March last year and has become popular with white-collar workers for its games and other features.
Meanwhile Qianxiang company, which is also based in Beijing, purchased the domain name Kaixin.com in October last year. Its social networking site has also soared in the Alexa rankings, a widely-accepted system based on website traffic.
Now, the owners of Kaixin001.com want Qianxiang to stop using Kaixin - which means "happy" in Chinese - and to pay 10 million yuan in compensation for lost advertising revenue, the Jinghua Times reported.
Li Qing, the chief of the Qianxian public relations department, quoted a survey released by the Baidu website on Wednesday that showed nearly 40,000 people were using Kaixin.com every day.
The survey showed Kaixin001 had nearly 15,000 daily users.
"A domain name is just the door of a social networking site. People keep revisiting our website because it has a good reputation for games," Xu Chaojun, vice-president of Qianxiang company, told China Daily yesterday.
"Kaixin.com is not a copycat! We will fight for our right and reputation in court," he said.
Li Yunde, a lawyer acting on behalf of Kaixinren company, said its competitors violated anti-malfeasant competition law when it named the website Kaixin.com "to mislead the netizens".
"They stole the brand influence of Kaixin001.com, which has suffered huge economic losses," he said.
A Chinese Internet expert said the court case would likely raise the profile of both sites, and that they would both improve their Internet ranking.
"The investors of Kaixin.com launched legal action after months of silence because they knew they would win more money if Qianxiang was successful," Liu Xingliang, a senior Internet consultant wrote on his blog yesterday.
He said that it was a mistake for Kaixinren company to not apply for the Kaixin.com domain name in the first place.
The owner of Kaixin001.com yesterday refused to say why they waited for several months before launching the unfair competition claim against Qianxiang.
Data from the Ministry of Industry and Information suggest that the number of Chinese Internet users surpassed 300 million at the end of January.
Source: China Daily