Vancouver From handbags to the latest Hollywood blockbusters, knock-off products are as much a part of Asian street markets as fish balls and curried squid. Which makes it all the more ironic that the annual summer night markets in Richmond, Vancouver, are being threatened by a battle over trademark infringement. The intellectual property in question is not the merchandise, but the markets themselves. For the past eight summers, thousands of locals and tourists turned up at a commercial area in the Vancouver suburb, which was transformed into a bustling Asian street market. Raymond Cheung, the market's founder, created one of greater Vancouver's most successful tourist attractions. Attendance was as high as 30,000 each night. The night market had dozens of vendors selling car parts, Japanese toys, bags and clothing. There was even a blackjack table. Although neighbouring businesses had complained about the congestion, the night market had the backing of Richmond's city council and tourist boards because of the good buzz generated by the weekend attraction. But this year, Mr Cheung announced that his night market would not be going ahead because of what he called a significant increase in rent. The market had been held in a large, undeveloped area surrounded by commercial buildings. Mr Cheung said he was continuing to look for another location and planned to reopen next year. That was until another group announced that it was planning to open a market in the original location. Now a battle is brewing. 'We have no association with that group,' Mr Cheung said. 'We want to assure everyone that this is just a temporary break and that Richmond Night Market will be back even stronger in 2009.' The new group simply wanted to cash in on the success of his markets, Mr Cheung said. He warned the city council that the newcomers were not adequately prepared for the demands of such a mammoth venture, which includes hiring security, parking attendants and a cleanup crew. Mr Cheung's would-be competitor, headed by rival event organiser Paul Cheung (no relation), has already secured the lease for the original site and applied to Richmond's council for a permit. Paul Cheung said his group came in to 'save the night market' because the public demanded that the event must go on. He has named his version the Summer Night Market, as opposed to Raymond Cheung's Richmond Night Market. Paul Cheung said he and his backers had received e-mails from market fans from as far away as Britain, wondering if the event was going ahead this year. 'People were very sad that there wasn't going to be a night market this year,' Paul Cheung said. 'The previous organiser wants to hold one next year, but people have said they want this market to continue this year.' Raymond Cheung has now filed a lawsuit against Paul Cheung, alleging copyright and trademark infringements. That is the same charge that an anti-counterfeit coalition is raising in relation to the markets, no matter who is in charge. The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network wants permits refused for such markets until the issue is addressed. 'There have been repeated problems with the sale of counterfeit and pirated products at the night market. Such sales are not only unlawful and criminal in nature and operation, but also can be a threat to the health and safety of consumers,' network chairman Doug Geralde said. Both event organisers said they would ensure the counterfeit problem was overcome. But before they get to that fight, they've got to duke it out among themselves.