A company run by Bruce Lee’s daughter has sued a Chinese fast food chain for allegedly using an image of the late martial arts film star without permission.
Shannon Lee’s Bruce Lee Enterprises accuses restaurant chain Kungfu Catering Management of having used her father’s image for 15 years in a logo without paying intellectual property rights.
The food chain responded on Thursday by saying the logo had long been authorised by Chinese authorities.
“We’re confused that we are prosecuted many years later. We’re actively studying the case and preparing to respond,” the company said in a statement posted on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.
According to the Chinese internet portal sina.com, Shannon Lee asked the food chain to immediately stop using her father’s image, clarify for 90 consecutive days that it has nothing to do with Bruce Lee, and pay compensation of 210 million yuan (US$30 million).
The Guangzhou-based restaurant chain known as Real Kung Fu (Zhen Gongfu in Mandarin) was founded in 1990. Since 2004 its logo has featured image of a dark-haired man in a kung fu pose who looks like Bruce Lee.
The founder of the chain said it has more than 600 stores across the country, with a total asset value of over five billion yuan, according to Chinese media.
It ranked among the top 10 fast-food companies in China last year on a list issued by China Cuisine Association.
Bruce Lee Enterprises in Los Angeles handles merchandising and licensing of Bruce Lee’s image and aims to keep the martial artist’s energy alive, its official website showed.
Shannon Lee, who has taken over the company from her mother, has been involved in the preservation of her father’s legacy for around two decades.