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Honda: We Lost Patent Appeal

BEIJING, Sept 27, 2002 Reuters reported that a Beijing court has denied a bid by Honda Motor Co <7267.T> to restore a motor scooter patent the Japanese firm lost in a dispute with Chinese rivals, a company spokesman said on Friday.

"We received the notice of the court's judgement," the spokesman said. "The basic situation is that Honda lost."

The case highlighted the perils of securing patents in China, which has pledged to step up enforcement of intellectual property rights as part of its membership of the World Trade Organisation.

Honda sued China's Intellectual Property Bureau over a ruling last year that nullified a design patent Honda had been granted in China in 1994.

In a ruling handed down earlier this week, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court upheld the Intellectual Property Bureau's decision, the spokesman said.

The bureau argued that two Chinese firms had sold similar models before Honda's patent application, but Honda objected that essential parts of the scooters were not similar enough to have overturned its patent.

The Honda spokesman said the company was still considering whether to file and appeal.