Mobike Sues Advertisers: Beijing, Guangzhou Fleets Plastered with Illegal Ads

Mobike is declaring war on illegal ads.

Mobike sued Shanghai Huijia Information Technology in Shanghai Pudong District People’s Court on December 14. Mobike demanded the defendant immediately stop attaching illegal ads to Mobike bikes, and to compensate for its infringement and to publicly issue a statement to eliminate the bad effect.

Mobike said Huijia recently began printing ads to stick over Mobike seats in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan and other cities. Huijia has put its ads on more than 200,000 bikes. This has not only seriously damaged the rights and interests of Mobike and others, but also had a negative influence on the city’s appearance, Mobike said.

In the past year, shared bicycles have connected urban transportation, meeting the needs of short trips and has becoming a cornerstone of the new landscape of urban green travel. The act of pasting and placing small ads on the bicycles can not only affect user experience, but also damages the city environment. The false information on many ads also poses a danger to public interests.

“The actions of the defendants have not only damaged the image of Mobike, but also cost us a lot to clean up. Mobike will continue to take action through civil litigation and administrative legal action, and will crack down on such behavior. Mobike will report alleged crime to public security, and will investigate and affix criminal responsibility,” said Sun Keqing, director of legal affairs at Mobike.

“Handing out small ads itself is obviously illegal. It damages the city’s appearance and is alleged unfair competition. It also sabotages Mobike’s normal operation and use,” said Xie Tao, a lawyer in Tiance (Shanghai) Law Firm.

Xie said this is not the first time a bicycle company has sued an advertisement printer. In October 2016, a company in Quanzhou, Fujian province, was sued by the Quanzhou Public Bicycle Company after it posted small ads on public bicycles in Quanzhou without permission. The court considered that the defendant’s conduct constituted unfair competition and should be prohibited. The defendant promised to stop posting small advertisements, apologized publicly and paid compensation.

Mobike said that in addition to safeguarding its legitimate rights and interests through legal channels, Mobike will open a “small ads reporting line” – a first in the shared cycling industry. Users can dial Mobike’s service phone number 400 and press 4 to open the line. A customer service agent will guide the user through the reporting process. In addition, Mobike will set up a “shared bicycle illegal advertising information library,” which will take various measures against illegal enterprises.

This article originally appeared in Paper and was translated by Pandaily.