Why Couldn’t the Trademark “Bond” Be Applied to Contraceptives?

(By Albert Chen) The Beijing High People’s Court (the “Beijing High Court”) established the “merchandising right” in a 2011 judgment on an administrative dispute between the Trademark Adjudication and Review Board (the “Board”) and DANJAQ, LLC (the “DANJAQ”). That was the first judicial definition of the right, and the first time it was included as a protected “prior right.”

In today’s post, we would like to describe the facts in the case, and introduce to our readers the opinions of Beijing High Court and our comments on the matter.

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Despite the Record-Making CNY 1, 000, 000 Compensation for Yao Ming, Infringer Did Not Lose the Lawsuit

Among the Ten IPR Cases issued by the Supreme People’s Court in 2012, one of the more interesting ones involves a case of portrait infringement involving international basketball star Yao Ming’s likeness. Despite the court’s understanding that infringement had been found for the unlicensed use of Yao’s portrait and name, granting compensation as high as RMB 1 million Yuan, such an amount is far less than Yao’s typical payment for participating in ads and other marketing materials. For this reason, the court’s decision to grant such an amount is simply inadequate to prevent further acts of infringement involving a well-known person’s name and likeness.

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How to Decide the Domain Name Belonging When It Conflicts with Renowned Names?

(By Albert Chen) Our website has introduced readers to the dispute between Ms. Yue and Mr. Zhou Libo, a popular talk show act in China. Yue, the plaintiff, lost the case in the first instance, because the court decided that her domain name registration was likely infringement, and that the domain name shall be Zhou Libo’s property. Yue subsequently appealed to a higher court, and the court in the second instance also refused her demands.

Today, our website would introduce to our readers the standards and methods utilized in determining when infringement involving conflicts between domain name owners and a well known name occurs, based on the judgments of the first and the second instance courts.

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Why Couldn’t the Trademark “Bond” Be Applied to Contraceptives?

(By Albert ChenThe Beijing High People’s Court (the “Beijing High Court”) established the “merchandising right” in a 2011 judgment on an administrative dispute between the Trademark Adjudication and Review Board (the “Board”) and DANJAQ, LLC (the “DANJAQ”). That was the first judicial definition of the right, and the first time it was included as a protected “first right.” The decision can be considered a clarification of the “merchandising right” by the judicial organs as well as broadening the scope of first rights.

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Summary of Administrative Case Verdict on “Britney Spears” Trademark Squatting (II)

We introduced you to the first instance of Britney Spears’ trademark administrative lawsuit yesterday, and today we will continue that discussion concerning the second instance and provide our comments on the case.

In February 2012, Britney Spears appealed to the Beijing High People’s Court citing her dissatisfaction with the first instance decision. The court of second instance decided that as a first right, the right of publicity and use of one’s name is protected by Trademark Law. Furthermore, any unlicensed registration of the trademark would cause damage to the right of name when the relevant public mistakes the origin of the product or service with the name owner, or when the relevant consuming public believes there is an association between the two parties. Therefore, to determine whether a disputed trademark will harm the right to use one’s name, one must first consider whether the owner of the name is well known or popular. Moreover, to determine whether the relevant right will be regarded as a first right, the relevant date is the registration date of the disputed trademark. The focus of this case is whether Britney Spears was widely known in Mainland China among the relevant consuming public before the registration date of the disputed trademark, in this instance November 20, 2000; also, whether the relevant consuming public would be confused as to the source or origin of “布兰妮” or “Britney” as being substantially similar to the name Britney Spears, and thus inferring a relationship between the two parties. 

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Summary of Administrative Case Verdict on “Britney Spears” Trademark Squatting (I)

(By Luo Yanjie) In past posts, we have introduced you to the trademark squatting of Yi Jian Lian, which is the name of a well-known basketball player in China. Today, we are going to show you another similar decision:

On 20th November 2000, Suzhou Yisheng Fashion Co., Ltd. (the “Yisheng Company”) applied for the trademark “布兰妮Britney” in Class 25, covering clothing articles, such as shirts, suits, coats, overcoats, skirts, t-shirts, wind coats and down jackets. The Trademark Office of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (the “Trademark Office”), after conducting a preliminary examination, published the application on its No. 807 Trademark Announcement. Britney Spears filed an opposition to the Trademark Office within the statutory period.

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Different Judicial Opinions from Cases on Name Trademarks and Domain Name Conflicts in China

By Albert Chen

In the first half of this year, our website posted an essay discussing the domain name dispute heard in the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court (“Shanghai Court”) concerning the renowned comedian Zhou Libo. Recently, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court (“Beijing Court”) decided a very similar case. Yet there were very different standards used to decide the different cases in Beijing and Shanghai. The most critical point is the determination of whether, after receiving the invitation to buy the domain name, the rights holder had bad faith during registration and use of the domain name.

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Legal Analysis on Conflict between Domain and Name Right According to Chinese Law, II

By Albert Chen

III. What are the user’s interests on the domain and fair reasons to the registration and using?

At present, the standard in practices to judge the user enjoys the interests on the domain is to determine whether there’s a connection between the user and the domain or the main part of the domain, and this connection involves the overlap or correspondence between the name, company name or trademark of the user and the domain.

Surely, it also comes to our attention that even there’s no overlap or correspondence as mentioned above, the interests on the domain of the user or a fair reason to the registration or using of the users could also be established when a domain has been operated for a long period and thereby accumulates the social reputation, like the 163. com of Netease and 360buy.com of Jingdong.

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Legal Analysis on Conflict Between Domain and Name Right According to Chinese Law, I

By Albert Chen

In recent, one of the hot news in China, might be Mr. Zhou Libo’s taking back the network domain in his name (Zhou is the comedian star of Shanghai style small talk, a talk-show like performance in Shanghai dialect). Ms. Yue from Beijing registered “zhoulibo.com” (the “domain”) in 2007, and in September of 2011, Mr. Zhou filed the arbitration in the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre (ADNDRC), claiming that the main part of the domain is as same as the pinyin of his name which is highly possible to result in the misunderstanding among the public. The ADNDRC finally adjudicated the domain to Mr. Zhou. For the dissatisfaction with the decision, Ms. Zhou brought the dispute to Shanghai No.2 Intermediate People’s Court, but the court refused all the claims of her.

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