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Beijing Court Affirms Copyright Protection for GMAT® in China

The highest court in China ruled in late December that Beijing New Oriental School (BNOS), a well-known test-preparation school in China, violated copyright law by distributing copies of retired GMAT® questions to its students. The decision, which was the result of an appeal, upheld a lower court’s 2003 finding that the school’s actions were illegal.

The Beijing High Court ordered BNOS to pay the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC®) and Educational Testing Service® (ETS®) U.S. $774,000 in damages, destroy all copyright-infringing course materials, and publish an apology in China’s Legal Daily.

"The decision sets an important precedent because it is one of the first to be decided following China’s recent entry into the World Trade Organization and may be a bellwether of future trademark enforcement," said David A. Wilson, president and chief executive officer of GMAC®.

"We are pleased with the decision and commend the Beijing High Court for ensuring the protection of the Council’s rights by enforcing the intellectual property laws of China and the international community," Wilson said.

The court specifically recognized that the GMAT® exam is entitled to protection under China’s copyright laws and the Berne Convention, which extends copyright protection internationally. This makes the decision particularly significant, because it helps protect the integrity of the GMAT® and other standardized exams by discouraging unauthorized use of copyrighted test materials worldwide.

The court’s decision stems from a suit filed in January 2001 by GMAC® and ETS® against BNOS, China’s largest English-language training institute. The suit also accused the school of violating copyrights associated with the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

GMAC® intends to continue vigorously protecting its intellectual property around the world.

GMAC®, GMAT®, and Graduate Management Admission Council® are registered trademarks of the Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®). All rights reserved.
Educational Testing Service® and ETS® are registered trademarks of Educational Testing Service®.
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