The eldest brother of late Canto-pop queen Anita Mui Yim-fong has sued the production company behind a lavish biopic currently screening in Hong Kong over alleged trademark violations.
Peter Mui Kai-ming on Thursday filed a High Court claim accusing Edko Films of infringing his rights to two registered trademarks, including “Anita Mui”, without his authorisation in the production, promotion and content of the film Anita, causing him to suffer an unspecified amount in financial losses.
In addition to damages, he is seeking two injunctions to stop the company from continuing the alleged infringement and another court order for the defendant to hand over all materials bearing the trademarks.
Anita Mui, who died from cervical cancer at the age of 40 in 2003, was the biggest Canto-pop female singer in Hong Kong, dubbed the “Madonna of Asia”.
She was also a celebrated actress who starred in more than 40 films and was honoured with several awards for best actress and best supporting actress both locally and regionally.
The box-office hit Anita, which was released on November 12, chronicles her rise as a child performing at entertainment venues to generational superstar in both music and film. The film also covers personal setbacks she endured in her prime and the solemn final months before her death in December 2003.
Her brother said that given her fame, brands and related trademarks in her name had an extremely high commercial value.
Peter Mui said that as her brother and the holder of the two trademarks the public might be misled into thinking he was associated with the film, causing him to incur losses, which were expected to continue unless the infringement was stopped.
Court documents made available on Friday showed his claim to two ordinary Class 14 trademarks – relating to precious metals, jewellery and time instruments – registered in his sister’s Chinese and English names following her death.
In 2018, he had also applied for defensive trademarks of Class 9, 16, 18, 25, 35 and 41, covering computer and scientific devices, printed matter, leather goods, clothing and advertising, as well as entertainment and cultural activities.
A defensive trademark is to protect marks that have become exceptionally well-known in Hong Kong.
The 2018 application is still being processed.
Founded in 1950, Edko Films is a full-scope independent company that produces and distributes films, and is involved in advertising production. It also operates pay-TV channels and the Broadway Circuit of cinemas.
Notable productions include Hero, Fearless, and Lust, Caution.
The company has been reached for comment.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.