(By Yue Mengyan) Pursuant to China trademark laws and regulations, if certain trademarks have been already registered for certain goods, applicants cannot apply for such same or similar trademarks for any same or similar products. However, if the trademark coexistence agreement is made by the right holder of prior registered trademark and applicant of an identical or similar trademark without interfering in each other’s interests, then it is possible for the applicant to successfully obtain the approval of such application.
(By You Yunting) In the end of 2013, the Beijing Higher People’s Court rejected Apple Inc.’s trademark opposition towards “苹果” trademark (read “Pingguo” in Chinese and referring to “Apple” in English) under Class 28 for game console against Zhongshan Readboy Electronics Co., Ltd. Thereafter, Apple Inc. has gone through 4 procedures, including the Trademark Office’s opposition proceeding, TRAB’s review procedure and two administrative actions and ultimately lost the “苹果” trademark under Class 28 for game console. The following are abstracts from the judgment of the final trial and our comments.
(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.
(By You Yunting) As a big manufacturing country, China deals with a lot of products categorized as original equipment manufacturing (the “OEM”). With regard to whether OEM constitutes trademark infringement, where local courts had handed out different decisions and infringing standards for this problem, the Supreme People’s Court has not yet expressed a clear standard for determining. Recently, China’s Supreme People’s Court has published the 2012 Top 50 typical trademark cases, and, among them, there is a case concerning OEM trademark infringement, where the manufacturer of an OEM won an infringement claim against it by the trademark holder. From the SPC’s decision in this case, we find rather clear evidence of the court’s attitude toward this particular issue.
(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.
(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.
(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 “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.
(By Albert Chen) Brief of the case:The Louis Vuitton Company (the “LV Company”) holds the rights to the “LV” trademark in Mainland China, and it registered the trademark “LV” as early as January 15, 1986. At present, the term of protection of the mark has been extended to January 14, 2016. The registered classes for the “LV” trademark include toys, Chinese checkers, Backgammon, golf gloves, etc. On November 13, 2003, Guo filed an application for a patented design called “Mahjong (23)”, and the application was approved and published on July 14, 2004. The published patent includes 5 pictures, which contain the front view, left view, back view, top view and three-dimensional views. Among them, the front view contains an image consisting of the letters “L” and “V.”
(By Albert Chen) Whether original equipment manufacturing (OEM) can lead to trademark infringement has been long argued. The opinions on it may vary among the judicial organs in various regions and between the judicial department and various administrative departments. A Shanghai court once confirmed that a processing party should not assume infringement liability in the case Shenda vs. Jolida. Following this decision, some began to advocate the idea that OEMs could be considered a safe harbor in the seas of trademark infringement. Can that point of view reasonably be established in China? In today’s post, we would like to introduce you to Chinese cases and popular opinions in judicial circles concerning OEMs and trademark infringement.
By You Yunting
Today, we would like to introduce how Chinese enterprises protect their brands. Months ago, the news reporting Tencent (SEHK: 700)’s QQ trademark registration in all classes, including condom, is heatedly spread among Chinese netizens. From the report, we saw the local IT giant registered more than 1, 000 trademarks in the classes to protect its well-known mark “QQ” avoiding the free-riding by others, among which the class of food, matchmaking and condom is listed. Unlike the author who criticized Tencent a muddled thinking, we prefer the applications as the company’s thoughtful and overall strategy on trademark protection. Now, here’re our conclusion on Tencent’s experience and the analysis:
According to the report of hc360.com (the news is in Chinese), Beijing High People’s Court adjudicated the final judgment on the trademark opposition filed by Apple Inc (Apple) against Zhejiang Red Apple Electronic Co., Ltd. (Zhejiang Red Apple) on 28th November, 2011, Ltd, rejecting Apple’s opposition on the defendant’s registered trademark in class 9 of CCTV monitor. Till then the proceeding of the case for 10 years is finally ended up.
Early in November of 2002, Zhejiang Red Apple’s application of red apple trademark was approved by China Trademark Office, and afterwards opposed by Apple, who demanded no approval for the mark, for the similarity between the red apple image and the first applied Apple trademark. Despite the opposition, the trademark office approved the application and issued the “Image Trademark Opposition Ajudication”, (2007) Trademark Yi Zi No. 3887 on 27th August, 2007.
Recently, the Qiaodan Company (Qiaodan is the pronunciation of Michael Jordan’s name), a Chinese domestic sporting goods manufacturer, confronted trademark troubles on IPO in China, because Nike has opposed to 8 trademarks of Qiaodan, claiming that it might lead to the confusion with Nike’s “Air Jordan”. Nevertheless, such opposition was refused by China Trademark Office, and Nike filed no administration lawsuit afterwards.
The opposition filed by Nike to Qiaodan is based on the provision of the China trademark law:
—How to Comprehensively Protect Application for Famous Brands’ Trademarks
Recently some Chinese media have reported that many B2C websites such as 360buy are selling the alleged knockoff UGG snow boots. The Deckers Outdoor Corporation (the “Deckers”), the manufacturer of UGG Australia, claims its exclusive ownership of the UGG trademark and those boots promoted and sold in the name of UGG but without its license are counterfeits. In today’s post, Bridge IP Law Commentary would analyze the dispute of UGG trademark by relevant China laws and regulations.
It was reported by the Beijing News and Legal Evening Paper that the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court (“Court”) has sentenced the case Coca Cola charging the infringement of the trademark “Ku Wawa” registered in the against Coca Cola’s copyright of designed trademark “Qoo”, judging that the Trademark Review and Adjudication shall rescind its approval for trademark registration of “Ku Wawa” and make a new decision.
The Court held that the trademark “Ku Wawa” bore no material similarity with the trademark “Qoo”, which however was registered by Coca Cola in 2001, and for this reason “Ku Wawa” shall not infringe the copyright of “Qoo”. On the other hand, although the registered products of beer of “Ku Wawa” is different from the beverage of “Qoo”, they actually relate in consumers and marketing approaches. Accordingly, the Court decided the trademark “Ku Wawa” constitutes a similar trademark used in the similar products, which could be trademark infringement, and demanded the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board cancel “Ku Wawa” and make a new decision.
We once reported the administrative refusal on Mcdonald’s opposition on Wonderful’s trademark (the W trademark) which is similar to Mcdonald’s “M” trademark (you may check the details in How Could McDonald’s Beat Free Rider of Trademark in China?). After that, Mcdonald’s initiated the administrative lawsuit on the refusal.
According to Beijing Morning Post’s report on 10th December, Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court judged on the first instance of the administrative lawsuit, refusing the claims of Mcdonald’s.