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Kyodo

The Intellectual Property High Court has ruled that an Internet shopping mall operator could be required to pay damages if it neglects to delete items that violate trademark rights from its website within a reasonable amount of time.

The ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by the Italian company that owns the “Chupa Chups” candy trademark came against major online shopping mall operator Rakuten Inc. The case involved hats and mugs with a logo similar to the candy’s logo.

Presiding Judge Tetsuhiro Nakano ruled that while it may be difficult for a mall operator to detect a trademark violation immediately, it must check whether one of its mall marketers is displaying items that infringe on trademarks right away if its receives a complaint.

“The operator, along with the mall participant, should accept liability if it neglects to do so,” Nakano said in the ruling.

But he dismissed the claim for damages from Rakuten as the firm deleted the display in question within eight days of receiving a complaint.

Earlier, the Tokyo District Court rejected the plaintiff’s claim for damages from Rakuten, saying the online store that displayed the items through the Internet mall was responsible, and that Rakuten, the mall’s operator, was not.

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