Beijing court dismisses first anti-monopoly case

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 September, 2008, 12:00am

The Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court has rejected an anti-monopoly case that is considered the first of its kind in the country, the Beijing Times reported.

One factor the court had cited in its ruling on Thursday was that the plaintiffs' litigation had been filed after the deadline, the newspaper quoted lawyer Zhou Ze as saying.

The case involves the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and its efforts to popularise an online tracking network, which brought an objection from four other anti-counterfeiting ventures in Beijing.

They claimed the action by AQSIQ, the industry regulator, amounted to an administrative monopoly.

Mr Zhou said he would appeal against the ruling.

The plaintiffs were four anti-counterfeiting ventures based in the capital led by Beijing Zhaoxin Information Technology.

They said the AQSIQ violated two laws, including the anti-monopoly law, by pushing the Product Identification Authentication and Tracking System (Piats).

They sued the regulator for administrative monopoly on August 1, the date when the country's first anti-monopoly law took effect.

Piats is an online tracking platform said to have been launched by China Credit Information Technology in April 2005. The organisation was jointly set up by three investors, including Citic 21CN, a Hong Kong-registered business, and the AQSIQ Information Centre.

The original four plaintiffs were joined by four other domestic anti-counterfeiting companies later in August.

The plaintiffs said AQSIQ, as part of its efforts to popularise the tracking system, had asked all enterprises to pay fees before getting Piats codes for their products in violation of regulations and laws.

They asked that AQSIQ be told to stop such violations and take measures in order to remove the negative impact caused by such violations on the plaintiffs.

Mr Zhou, who said he received the court's letter of decision on Thursday, did not agree with the court's ruling.

'I don't think the term of my customers' litigation expires, as AQSIQ's efforts to spread Piats among producers have been going on and on,' the lawyer said, vowing to pursue the case.