Fri, September 05, 2008
Business > Industries

Chinese court turns down first anti-monopoly case

2008-09-05 08:50:14 GMT2008-09-05 16:50:14 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- The No. 1 Intermediate People's Court of Beijing on Thursday rejected an anti-monopoly case considered the first of its kind in China, the Beijing Times reported.

In a first-instance trial ruling, the court cited a factor that the plaintiffs filed litigation after its validity period expired as the reason for turning down the case, the newspaper quoted Zhou Ze, the attorney on the case, as saying.

It went further to defend its decision by citing Article 58 of the Administrative Procedure Law and the first item of Article 41 of the Interpretation Regarding Issues Related to Implementation of the Administrative Procedure Law.

In accordance with both legal documents, administrative organs lay out certain administrative actions. If they fail to inform citizens and legal representatives or fail to give other organizations the right of litigation or the terms of the litigation, the starting time for the period of the litigation or the term of the litigation should be counted from the day the litigants presumably should have known. This period of being informed shouldn't have exceeded two years at most.

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

They insisted the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), an industry regulator, violated two Chinese laws including the anti-monopoly law in the latter's efforts to popularize an online network known as Product Identification Authentication and Tracking System (PIATS). They also raised a legal case with the Beijing court to sue the latter for administrative monopoly on Aug. 1, which coincided with the date when the country's first anti-monopoly law took effect.

PIATS is an online tracking platform said to be launched by China Credit Information Technology Co., Ltd. in April 2005. This organization was jointly set up by three investors -- CITIC 21CN Company Limited, a Hong Kong-registered business and the AQSIQ information center, among them.

The original four plaintiffs were later joined by four other anti-counterfeiting Chinese companies from across the country also in August.

The expanded team of plaintiffs clarified their demands in the litigation of AQSIQ's business to popularize PIATS; its administrative act of asking all enterprises to pay fees before getting codes for products with PIATS were acts of violating regulations and laws, and AQSIQ be told to stop such violations and take measures in order to eradicate the negative impact caused by AQSIQ violations on the plaintiffs.

Attorney Zhou, who said he received the court's letter of decision on Thursday, didn't 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," he said, vowing to appeal the case.

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