Why Ronghe Shaofang Wine constituted Trademark Infringement to Maotai Wine?


(By You Yunting)Maotai, a well-known Chinese baijiu (the classic Chinese alcohol made from distilled sorghum that averages an alcohol content from of 53 percent), is made in Maotai Town, Huanren city in Guizhou Province. In Maotai town, there are many liquor factories but only the KWEICHOW MOUTAI CO., LTD (the “MOUTAI”) holds the “贵州茅台酒” trademark (the “disputed trademark”). On account of “Maotai” brand name glamour, such free riders likeother liquor factories’ use of the disputed trademark often happen. We would like to introduce a typical case regarding that Guizhou Ronghe Shaofang Wine Business Limited Company used a same bottle label and packaging with that of Maotai Wine but carries its “荣和”(pronounced “Ronghe” in English)brand in our today’s post. The final binding judgment contained by Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court decided that such act of using the same bottle label and  packaging constituted trademark infringement.


Why Wallet and Clothes in Different Trademark Classes Would be Taken by China Court as Similar Products?

(By Luo Yanjie) When registering trademark in China, the applicant shall first determine the classification of the trademark to be registered. Class 18 of the Classification of Goods and Services include goods such as leather and artificial leather, goods made from these materials and not included in other classes, cases, travelling bags, and umbrellas. Goods under Class 25 includes clothing, footwear, and headgear. Looking at it closely,  Class 18 is classified by its physical attribute, while Class 25 is classified by the purpose of the goods. Would the two Classes constitute similar goods for any particular product? In today’s post, a specific case would be introduced to analyze this question.


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. 


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.


Summary of the Administrative Case Verdict in the Yi Jian Lian Trademark Squatting Case


We are often consulted by clients asking what standards are used to determine trademark squatting, and why was malicious squatting found against Sony Ericson and HERMES but denied against COCA COLA or LANDROVER? Furthermore, once a trademark application has damaged anothers’ name right, copyright, or trade name right, what standards do courts use to determine infringement. Under the Trademark Law, what measures can be taken to protect the trademarks of well-known fictional figures, such as 007 or Harry Potter?