Their outlet in Xiamen, named Xiamen J Daxia was sued for infringing on Chou’s name and portrait rights. At the restaurant, there are photos of Chou on the restaurant’s electronic and television screens, photos of him on the restaurant’s menu cover and title page, photos of him pasted as a wall decal and a full-length standee of Chou at the restaurant’s entrance.
On the internet, there are claims that the restaurant was owned by Chou and it misled customers and was used as a marketing gimmick. The restaurant did not obtain legal authorisation from Chou to use his image and music in their outlet.
The restaurant also used Chou’s image and name for profit without his permission and it caused him to suffer great economic losses. They were asked to stop the infringement of copyright and to issue an apology to Chou as well as compensate 500,000 yuan (S$98,586) for economic losses.
Despite everything, Xiamen J Daxia argued that they had permission to use Chou’s image and name. On August 19, they released a statement on Weibo explaining its rights on using the Taiwanese star’s image and name for its decor and marketing. Accompanying the statement is a video that showed Chou attending the opening ceremony of the restaurant’s first outlet in 2015.
It was reported that an authorisation certificate from Chou’s studio was issued which gave the restaurant the right to use the singer’s image and name. In 2017, J Daxia’s Xiamen outlet was opened and Chou had sent a video congratulating the restaurant’s opening. J Daxia Chinese Restaurant said that the video is proof that Chou was aware of the use of his image and name at the restaurant.
A lawyer’s letter from Chou’s attorney was sent to both J Daxia Chinese Restaurant and Xiamen J Daxia outlets in January 2019. In the letter, it was stated that both outlets infringed on Chou’s copyrights. Xiamen J Daxia corrected their actions and then they received an email from Chou’s attorney thanking them for sorting out the issue in April 2019.
Here’s a translation of the email:
“We have received the corrections your company has made to the situation. We’re very happy that the company is abiding by the arrangement to stop infringement measures, and we want to express our gratitude.”
In December 2019, Chou formally sued Xiamen J Daxia for infringing on his image and name rights. Xiamen J Daxia noted that the material evidence used to sue the outlet were images that were taken before the outlet knew of the withdrawn authorisation. Xiamen J Daxia concluded the statement by reassuring customers that they did not deceive anyone and hoped that netizens do not spread rumours about the case. The case is currently undergoing further trial. /TISG