Chinese Court Rules That Amazon Violated Copyright

( Amazon Connect Technology Services, a subsidiary of Amazon in China, was ruled to have infringed the trademark of ActionSoft Science and Technology Development Company in a Chinese court recently. The decision means that Amazon can no longer use the Amazon Web Services (AWS) logo in China.

Suddenly, China cares about copyright laws and intellectual property. When did that start happening?

Beijing ActionSoft sued Amazon and local Chinese partner company Beijing Sinnet Technology Co., back in 2018 over the use of the logo.

As part of the ruling, the Beijing court said that Amazon must pay 76.5 million yuan, or around $11 million USD, to the plaintiffs.

Amazon, an American company, probably didn’t stand a chance in China. Nonetheless, the ruling happened and Amazon can’t do much about it now.

An Amazon spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that they were the first to use the logo and that the ruling doesn’t make any sense.

“Amazon was the first to use the AWS logo in China to sell cloud services by many years,” the spokesperson said. “We strongly disagree with the court’s ruling and have appealed the case to the Supreme Court.”

The Chinese ActionSoft company was founded in 2003 and provides clients with software services. The company claimed in a public statement that they first applied to use the AWS logo in 2004 and was given approval by the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce to use the logo in February, 2008.

In the court judgement, ActionSoft claimed that Amazon’s use of its AWS logo infringed on their trademark because it appeared very similar, and their services also were similar in terms of content, purpose of service, and clients. The company argued that having similar logos while also offering similar services would likely confuse customers.

Amazon first entered Chinese markets in 2004, a year after ActionSoft was founded.

While no doubt a setback for the company, AWS has not gained as much traction in China as it has in Western markets. The massive international company recently bought its first planes to expand its air network, and with the COVID lockdowns expected to continue under a Biden administration, Amazon will continue serving millions of Americans through its Prime delivery service.

So…Amazon will probably be fine.