BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 11:15 GMT
Danone to challenge China ruling
Bottled Wahaha water
Wahaha is China's biggest drinks company
French food group Danone is to appeal against a decision by a Chinese court that it no longer has any rights to the popular Wahaha beverages brand.

On Monday, a Chinese arbitration commission said a trademark transfer deal signed in 1996 had expired, a ruling that Danone disputes.

Wahaha says it owns the brand rights, but Danone says the brand can only be used by the firms' joint ventures.

The dispute has highlighted risks faced by foreign firms in Chinese ventures.

'Wrong' decision

The dispute centres on ownership of the brand name.

Wahaha and Danone have been partners since 1996 and under the terms of their 11-year agreement, Wahaha is prohibited from making products that compete with Danone's range.

Wahaha production line
The long-running dispute highlights the riskiness of joint ventures

Danone accuses Wahaha of illegally selling copies of products jointly sold by the two companies.

The decision by a Chinese arbitration commission on Monday to terminate the trademark agreement was "wrong, blatantly illegal and unacceptable," Danone's lawyers said on Tuesday.

"The decision is trampling Chinese laws and seriously hurts Danone's interest," Tao Wuping said.

"We will demand that the decision be cancelled by the relevant court," he added.

Wahaha history

Wahaha, China's biggest drinks maker, was founded in 1987 by chairman Zong Qinghou selling milk products from a school store.

A deal struck with Danone in 1996 enabled Wahaha to invest in advanced production facilities, doubling its output between 1996 and 1997.

With its headquarters in Hangzhou in eastern China, Wahaha has 70 subsidiaries spread across 40 manufacturing sites.

New twist in Danone's China row
08 Jun 07 |  Business
Chinese war of words hits Danone
06 Jun 07 |  Business
Danone faces Chinese legal threat
26 Jun 07 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific