In 2004, Wuhan Xinjianye Advertising Decoration Co., Ltd. (“ Wuhan Xinjianye”) and Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co., Ltd. (“Honda”) signed a design contract for Wuhan Xinjianye to carry out the image and architectural design of Honda 4S centres. The contract did not stipulate the ownership of the copyright of the architectural works involved, which led to copyright disputes. Wuhan Xinjianye sued Honda for copyright infringement and for the economic loss of RMB 150,000 under the claim that Honda and other parties used its copyrighted CAD drawings (i.e. construction drawings) and renderings to build Honda 4S centres without authorization.
The People's Court of Haidian District of Beijing held that the CAD drawings and renderings were original and should be classified as works. As for what type of works they should belong to, under the regulatory framework PRC copyright law architectural works only refer to the buildings themselves, so they do not constitute as architectural works. Combined with the definition of graphic works and art works in PRC copyright law, as well as the characteristics and uses of CAD drawings and renderings, CAD drawings should be graphic works and renderings should be art works. Although Wuhan Xinjianye is the copyright owner of the CAD drawings, it has authorized Honda to use the drawings to build Honda 4S centres. Therefore, the acts of Honda, Guoji Company and Decheng Company, which obtained CAD drawings from Honda, do not constitute as infringement. In the end, the court ruled to dismiss all claims of Wuhan Xinjianye.
Wuhan Xinjianye appealed against the first-instance judgment and requested to revoke the first-instance judgment. Recently, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court made a final judgment on the case, rejected the appeal and upheld the original judgment.