Honda Motor is suing China's biggest private motorcycle maker, accusing it of pirating the Japanese company's logo, a Shanghai court said on Friday, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Honda is demanding more than 17 million yuan ($US2 million) in compensation and legal fees from Chongqing Lifan Industry Group Co., which is based in the southern municipality of Chongqing, AP said, citing the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

It alleges that the "SOR" logo used by Lifan on its motorcycles looks too similar to an "SCR" logo registered by Honda as its trademark in 1999, Xinhua said in a report on its web site.

Officials at the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court contacted by Associated Press on Friday confirmed the case was being heard there, but would not comment further.

Honda's headquarters in Tokyo also refused to comment while the trial was still underway, as did staff at Lifan's offices in Chongqing, AP added.

The news agency noted the case comes as foreign vehicle makers and other multinationals intensify their fight against patent and copyright infringements that they say are costing them billions of dollars in lost sales both inside and outside China.

AP added that another case between Honda and Lifan is pending in Beijing's No. 2 Intermediate People's Court - in that case, Honda claimed Lifan used the name "Hongda" on its products, a name the Japanese automaker contends is too similar to its own. It reportedly is asking for more than 25 million yuan ($3 million) in compensation.