A company run by Bruce Lee’s daughter is suing 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.
— LatestLY (@latestly) December 26, 2019
The food chain responded Thursday by saying the logo had long been authorized by Chinese authorities.
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
“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).
#ShannonLee, daughter of #Kungfu star #BruceLee, filed lawsuit against a Chinese fast food brand for using image similar to her father for 15 years without authorization, asking for 210 million yuan ($30 million) for compensation. pic.twitter.com/Bg7COSEFc6
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) December 25, 2019
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.
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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.
Shannon Lee vs Quentin Tarantino
Recently, Shannon Lee took offence of Tarantino new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood because of its depiction of Bruce Lee.
She wasn’t pleased seeing her father played almost purely for laughs, arguably stripped of his humanity and turned into a caricature as he throws punches with Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) in a great hand-to-hand fight scene.
Tarantino stood by his depiction of Lee in the movie. The actor, martial artist, and philosopher was famous for his arrogance, according to Tarantino. If Lee was indeed more arrogant than confident, it’s the only facet of him Tarantino intentionally chose to emphasis for audiences. The filmmaker defended that choice during a press conference:
“Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy. The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up. I heard him say things like that to that effect. If people are saying, ‘Well, he never said he could beat up Mohammad Ali,’ well, yeah, he did. All right? Not only did he say that, but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read. She absolutely said that.”
Shannon Lee said he wished Tarantino would either “shut up” about it or acknowledge it’s fantasy. At the end of the day, it is a fantasy, but Tarantino is occasionally a bit thin-skinned towards criticism and didn’t try to meet Lee in the middle or express some empathy.
Things took a turn for the worse when Lee reached out to the Chinese government. She issued a complaint, and not long after, Chinese sensors indefinitely postponed the release of Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood a week before its release.
GVS News Desk with additions from news agencies