(By Luo Yanjie) The Taiwan-based Yilan Food Industry Co., Ltd. (“Yilan”) is a well-known food manufacturing company, and owns the registered trademark “旺旺” (read as “Wang Wang” in Chinese) in several classes. Alibaba (China) Co., Ltd. (“Alibaba”) is a renowned e-commerce company based in Mainland China; it owns and maintains a subsidiary that develops and promotes its instant messaging software called “淘宝旺旺” (read literally as “Tao Bao Wang Wang” in Chinese). When Alibaba attempted to register the trademark for its software application, Yilan immediately filed a protest against it. In today’s post, we will concentrate primarily on this case. The main issue surrounding the case is relatively simple: a trademark can be considered a type of rare “resource” for its owner to make use of, and if in this case the trademark “旺旺” is already owned and registered by another entity, does it seem reasonable that a subsequent registrant simply attaches the prefix “淘宝” to it to avoid inevitable issues surrounding confusion as a result of the similarity of the two?
By Albert Chen
By the local news report in China, at the settlement of the dispute between Blizzard and Valve on the DOTA trademark (Please CLICK HERE for our past post on it), a new battle over “DOTA” has begun. A local registered company in Shandong Province in East China recently lettered to online shopping website like Taobao.com, claiming it has full right to use the trademark of “DOTA” in class 25, which covering clothes, shoes and hats. Also, the company presented the certificate to the trademark right with the letter. Therefore, the company accused the websites the infringement for selling the clothes with DOTA marked on it. For the news, we retrieved the database of Trademark Office of PRC, and by the check, the trademark does belong to Wang Yongbao, the name indicated on the certificate, while it remains unknown through which methods does the company get the license to use the trademark from Wang. Meanwhile, it also comes to our attention that, in addition to Wang, the trademark of DOTA has been registered under other individuals or units’ name in different classes, involving Zheng Miao in Class6 and Ningbo Jiangbei District Dong Tai Clothing Co., Ltd., in Class 26, etc.
Highlight: The purchase of apps by black card is flooding the App Store, and the bank, seller and the sale platform, China’s C2C giant Taobao.com, are all involved in such transactions. Who is responsible, and what measures could developers or Apple take to resolve the issue? Bridge IP Law Commentary provides the below essay for consideration.
In China, the credit card thieves choose the Apple App Store to utilize their stolen cards through the purchasing of popular apps. They purchase the popular apps in the Store through the unauthorized use of stolen credit cards and then sell such apps by C2C websites like eBay. This type of transaction is called purchase by black card in China. Under such purchase, the Chinese clients could only pay 1 RMB for apps priced at 1 US dollar, though the official exchange rate is 6.5 RMB to 1 US dollar. First the prospective customer sends the seller the link of the app that the customer would like, then the seller purchases the app with the stolen credit card, and then sends the information for the customer to download the app and pay the seller. For all steps, it only cost several minutes. It’s simple and convenient, and so purchase by the black card is flooding in China. It’s even reported that the bad debt rate hereby produced is more than 80% for the App Store.
—Analysis on the Possible Legal Countermeasures against Attack on Tmall
Highlights: Tmall is facing the attack from its small merchants for the dissatisfaction on the ons side increase on the annual fee. We would like to analyze the possible legal measure Tmall may take to combat such attack.
Recently, many merchants of Tmall, a subsidiary of the biggest China e-commerce company Alibaba Group, attacked the big merchants on that platform for the upsetting on the higher annual fee with a flood of fake orders and regulatory products return leading to the cripple of the brand sites.
Highlights: Introduce the way for foreign trademark, patent and copyright owners to combat knockoffs on Chinese biggest online sales website Taobao.com
Taobao.com, the biggest online transaction website in China, signed the copyright protection memo with International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) in Beijing on 1st, Sep., promising to combat infringement on copyright. (news related, in Chinese)
In 2010, the number of online products of Taobao.com has been more than 800 million, with trade volume of 400 billion. Just like eBay, Taobao.com only provides the platform for online transaction instead of sale by itself.