Maradona wins lawsuit against Chinese firms
Beijing: Soccer legend Diego Maradona will get 3 million yuan (USD 4.90 lakh) as compensation from three Chinese companies for using his name in an online game without his consent.
A Chinese court awarded the judgement in response to a lawsuit filed by the former Argentina national coach.
The judge at No 1 Intermediate People`s Court in Beijing accepted 52-year-old Maradona`s claim that Hot-Blooded Soccer had infringed his image rights by featuring a cartoon of the star and his signature without consent.
The game was developed by The 9 Ltd and had been available on Sina`s online game platform.
Maradona had demanded 20 million yuan in damages from Shanghai The9 Information Technology Co, The9 Computer Technology Consulting (Shanghai) Co and Beijing Sina Internet Information Service Company.
The figure was based on an endorsement deal which Maradona has with a German brand, his lawyer Ge Youshan of Zhongyin Law Firm told state run China Daily.
However, the judge dismissed the endorsement deal and said the amount of damages was decided based on the length of time Maradona`s image was used and the popularity of the game.
Ge said he will contact Maradona over whether to appeal the compensation amount.
Co-founded by Zhu Jun, the majority owner of Shanghai Shenhua Football Club, The9 was ordered to pay 3 million yuan for infringing on image rights and 1 yuan for mental anguish.
It must post a letter of apology to Maradona on its website for 90 days.
Sina must also display the apology on its website, although it was not required to pay a share of the compensation.
After the hearing, Xu Changbo, the attorney representing the Internet company, described the judgement as "accurate", and said he did not think Sina will appeal.
Li Zhengning, the lawyer acting for both The9 companies, said he will need discussions on how to proceed.
The game has been removed from Sina`s games website, the daily report said.