China’s Shanghai Intellectual Property Court affirmed a win on December 31, 2021 for Japanese special effects studio Tsuburaya Productions against five Chinese companies, finding that the movie Dragon Force: So Long, Ultraman (《钢铁飞龙之再见奥特曼》) developed, produced, marketed, and distributed by five companies infringed Tsuburaya Productions’s copyright.
Dragon Force: So Long, Ultraman is an action animated film premiering in China in 2017. Five Chinese companies Guangzhou Blue Arc Animation Media Co., Ltd. (广州蓝弧动画传媒有限公司), Blue Arc Culture Communications Co., Ltd. (广州蓝弧文化传播有限公司), Guangzhou Blue Magic Culture Communications Co., Ltd. (广州蓝奇文化传播有限公司), Le Vision Pictures (乐视影业（北京）有限公司), and Shanghai SynaCast Media Tech Co., Ltd. (上海聚力传媒技术有限公司) were involved in developing, producing, marketing, and distributing the movie. Tsuburaya Productions, owner of the Ultra Series, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit with the Pudong New Area People’s Court of Shanghai city in 2018 alleging the film ripped off the titular character Ultraman without its authorization."
The trial court agreed with the plaintiff’s arguments ordering the five defendants to stop the infringement, make public apologies on various media outlets, and pay the plaintiff 2.5 million yuan ($390,000) in damages and costs. Four defendants appealed the case to the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court and the appeals court backed the trial court’s decision.
The case docket no. is （2020）沪73民终544号. Its English transliteration is 544, second instance (终), civil case (民), (2020) Shanghai Intellectual Property Court (沪73).