Could Nike Get the Trademark “Liuxiang”?

(By Luo Yanjie) Recently, the lawsuit filed by Nike against China’s Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (“TRAB”) (note: the link is in Chinese) was heard in the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court. The case was brought because TRAB refused Nike’s application to trademark Liu Xiang (刘翔) for the reason that the trademark had been registered by another company twenty six years ago, namely in July of 1986. At that time, a company named Shanghai Liuxiang Company applied for the trademark Liu Xiang Brand (刘翔牌) in the class of clothing, and the exclusive period for the use of that mark will last until 2017. Incidentally, the Liu Xiang Brand trademark happens to have the same name as the famous Chinese athlete, Liu Xiang. The case is currently being heard, but the author believes Nike has little chance of winning the case. Today’s will examine the issues involved in this case.