Douban Sues Weibo for Unfair Competition
On Wednesday, Chinese social media platform Douban posted pictures on popular microblogging site Sina Weibo, saying it had sued Beijing Weimeng Chuangke Network Technology Co., Ltd., the operator of Weibo, for unfair competition.
The conflict was triggered on Tuesday, when Weibo’s “Super Topic Community” (a function allowing people with common interests to gather together) posted that the “Super Topic Nova Project” was recruiting administrators. The applicants are required to have the identity of relevant community administrators and to have managed online communities with more than 500 people.
The picture in the post lists the names of several Douban groups. In addition, one of the group leaders reported that she received a private message from the Weibo Super Topic Community, inviting her to be an administrator on their site.
In its complaint, Douban argued that it has legitimate rights and interests in the data on Douban.com, including user groups, and also enjoys the exclusive right to use the trademark the term “Douban Group.” It also argued that Weibo had infringed its rights by using the names of several Douban groups without authorization, and by recruiting people with experience managing Douban groups to create a similar super-topic community. In addition, Douban pointed out that multiple marketing accounts on Weibo have been re-uploading content from Douban for a long time, and that Weibo has failed to address complaints from Douban and some users.
Douban demanded that Weibo immediately stop its infringement, including but not limited to deleting certain links and stopping recruitment for its Super Topic Nova Project. Douban also demanded a public apology and 1 yuan as symbolic compensation, and that Weibo bear all the legal costs of this case.
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A spokesperson for Weibo also posted on Wednesday, saying that the Nova Project launched by Weibo’s Super Topic is not targeted at a certain platform, but falls within the scope of normal business operations, and there is no unfair competition or plagiarism at all. In contrast, Weibo has previously issued several announcements, prohibiting users and multi-channel network institutions from re-uploading inaccurate, antagonistic and other undesirable content from a certain platform.