Writer ends publishing due to trademark infringements

Writer: Cao Zhen  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-04-20

Zheng Yuanjie

Chinese writer Zheng Yuanjie, who is hailed as “king of fairy tales” in China, announced on his Weibo account Tuesday in a “farewell letter” that he will no longer publish new works although he is still writing.

The 68-year-old author noted that he has lost confidence in tackling trademark infringements and won’t waste his time in the “673 trademarks” that he accuses of using his fairy tale characters’ names.

In his post, the prolific writer said that in 1981-1982, he created literary characters such as Pipilu, Luxixi, Shuke and Beita who later became household names and now he has sold more than 300 million books.

Children’s book series “The Adventures of Shuke and Beita” written by Zheng Yuanjie. File photos

“In 2021, I paid over 10 million yuan (US$1.45 million) of personal income tax for the sales of my publications, which is a solid proof of a writer’s popularity and influence. In 2008, the World Intellectual Property Organization of the United Nations awarded me the International Copyright Creative Gold Award for my creations. In 2011, I was entitled Anti-piracy Image Ambassador by national organizations including National Press and the Publication Administration and National Copyright Administration,” he wrote.

Zheng said his characters’ names were improperly registered by companies for 710 trademarks and in the past 21 years, he only won a few cases. “It takes an average of six years to win each case. The longest time spent on a trademark infringement case took me 19 years, which was finally settled in the Supreme People’s Court. There are still 673 infringed trademarks that have not been solved.”

The writer said he finally lost his confidence in the battle after he lost a trademark infringement case Feb. 20. “Fighting against trademark infringement is so hard that I now give up. So Long!”

          Zheng Yuanjie on the cover of the last issue of the Fairy Tale King magazine in late 2021.

In January 2022, Zheng stopped publishing his magazine Fairy Tale King, which he had managed for 36 years, for similar reasons.

Born in Shijiazhuang and raised in Beijing, Zheng has penned many children’s books, mesmerizing several generations of Chinese readers. In 2009 and 2012, he topped the list of wealthiest authors in China.

Every issue of his magazine was printed with Zheng’s legal counselor’s and attorney’s names, with a legal statement for reserving copyrights. “The move was aimed at planting the concept of intellectual property protection in readers’ minds,” the writer said in an earlier interview. “For a writer, the best investment is not in housing or in the stock market, but in the protection of his or her own intellectual property,” he added.