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Bruce Lee's daughter sues Chinese fast food chain over image use

Chinese fast food chain Real Kungfu has used Lee, in his iconic fighting stance and yellow tracksuit from the 1972 film Game of Death, in its logo since 2004. Photo: Jason Lee/Reuters

A company owned by Bruce Lee’s daughter is suing a Chinese fast food restaurant for allegedly using the late martial arts star’s image without permission.

Shannon Lee's Bruce Lee Enterprises, which handles the merchandising and licensing of Bruce Lee’s image, alleges restaurant chain Real Kungfu has used Lee as its logo for over 15 years without paying any intellectual property rights.

However, the Guangzhou-based restaurant claims the image was authorised by local Chinese authorities.

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"The Real Kungfu chain's logo is one that the company had applied for and obtained after a rigorous screening by the national trademark agency, we have already been using this for 15 years,” Real Kungfu said in a statement via China’s Weibo social media platform.

“We're confused that we are prosecuted many years later. We're actively studying the case and preparing to respond.”

Real Kungfu, known as Zhen Gongfu in Mandarin, was founded in 1990 and has used Lee, in his iconic fighting stance and yellow tracksuit from the 1972 film Game of Death, in its logo since 2004.

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Bruce Lee Enterprises has asked that it immediately remove the image, clarify for 90 consecutive days that it has nothing to do with Bruce Lee, and pay compensation of 210 million yuan (£23.1m).

The chain has over 600 restaurants across the country, and ranked sixth on the list of the top 10 food companies in China by the China Cuisine Association in 2018.

Bruce Lee Enterprises earlier this year lost a battle against a UK-based theatre company Barisons over its plans to launch a show called Jun Fan: The Bruce Lee Musical.