Hands off my love potion: Hong Kong’s Andy Lau sues Chinese water purifier firm for US$287,000

  • Case comes two years after Canto-pop star threatened legal action against several companies he accused of trading on his name
  • Pop singer’s 1994 hit made him an instant, but unofficial, ambassador for water purifiers
PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 October, 2018, 4:12pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 October, 2018, 9:56pm

Hong Kong actor and singer Andy Lau is suing a Chinese water purifier manufacturer for 2 million yuan (US$287,600) for using his image to promote its products without permission.

Ever since the release of his 1994 hit song Forget Love Potion – known as Wang Qing Shui in Mandarin, which translates as “Water that makes you forget love” – the Canto-pop star has been an unofficial ambassador for numerous water-related brands.

However, two years after threatening several firms with legal action if they failed to remove his image and signature from their advertisements, he is now pursuing a case against water purifier manufacturer Zebrafish.

The case will be heard by China’s first “cyber court”, which opened for business last year in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang province, and where the company is based, local newspaper Dushikuaibao reported on Friday.

The court was set up to handle online trade disputes, copyright lawsuits and product liability claims for online purchases.

As well as the compensation, Lau is claiming 10,000 yuan to cover his legal fees and wants Zebrafish to issue a public apology, the report said.

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Despite his demands, many people on social media were unsympathetic to Lau’s case.

“Are you really that short of money, Andy Lau?” one person wrote on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.

Lau is not the first celebrity to take a Chinese company to court for trademark infringement.

In December 2016, China’s Supreme People’s Court upheld former US basketball star Michael Jordan’s claim to the Chinese characters that represent a transliteration of his name. The ruling brought to an end a four-year legal battle that had seem lower courts rule in favour of Qiaodan Sports Company, which Jordan said had been using the characters to promote its products.