(By You Yunting) Kellogg Company, an American multinational food manufacturing company, produces cereal and convenience foods, including cookies, crackers and fruit-flavored snacks. However, in China, someone tried to apply for “Kellogg” as a trademark under Class 41 for educational services. After discovering this, Kellogg Company filed an opposition, but suffered a setback at first in that both the TRAB and Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court rejected its claim. After Kellogg Company appealed, Beijing Higher People’s Court supported its claims, on the ground that the disputed trademark infringed the prior enterprise name of Kellogg Company.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: To judge whether two goods are similar, generally is ruled upon the basis of the Chinese Goods and Services Classification and then on the courts’ interpretation of different cases and facts. The trademark application shall not be a means to register a mark that is already in use by another party and enjoys substantial influence, and shall also not infringe upon another party’s prior existing rights.
The statement “Goods and service are similar” refers to the goods and services that are associated with each other and thus are likely to produce confusion among the relevant public (our previous post, Why the “NEXT” Trademark could Receive Cross-class Protection in China had introduced similar problems), in which the actual situations conflict with the Chinese Goods and Services Classification of the Chinese Trademark Office (the “CTMO”). In today’s post, we would like to introduce a typical case.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: Generally, two goods that fall into the same similar group constitute similar goods. “Similar goods” refers to the goods that are identical in such respects as the function, purpose, industry, sales channel and consumers; or goods that are likely to lead the relevant public into thinking they are associated with each other and cause confusion.
Trademark registration in China applies the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (the “Nice Classification”). Every year the State Trademark Office in China will update the Chinese Goods and Services Classification in accordance with the Nice Classification. A trademark shall be registered in accordance with the Chinese Goods and Services Classification. When a trademark dispute brought to a court, the Chinese Goods and Services Classification is not used only as a reference for judgment of similar goods or services.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: The general principle of copyright authorship centers on the signature in the work pursuant to the Copyright Law. The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board shall determine the proof that provided by the administrative counterparty with strict and cautious attitude and consider the changes together with the combination of legal facts and objective conditions so as to make a ruling that protects the right holders’ legitimate rights and interests.
The people’s court shall have the right to revoke the ruling made by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (the “TRAB”) and order the TRAB to remake a ruling. For how the TRAB deal with the additional evidences provided by the administrative counterparty during the period of re-ruling, there are no clear laws and regulations. In today’s post, we would like to introduce a typical case with readers.
(By Luo Yanjie) The Audi A4, A6 and other series of Audi cars are popular classic cars in China. However, Audi’s trademark applications for the A4, A6 etc., are always rejected. In today’s post, we will introduce a typical case regarding these trademarks, followed by our analysis for our readers.
Introduction to the Case:
In January 2007, Audi China filed an application with the State Trademark Office to register its “A4” mark (the “disputed trademark”). The State Trademark Office upheld that “A4”, a common vehicle model, lacked distinctiveness. Based on this finding, the Trademark Office rejected Audi’s application. After Audi applied for a trademark reexamination with the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (the “TRAB”), the TRAB held that, the disputed trademark comprised of the English Letter “A” and Arabic numeral “4” was so simple that it would be difficult to distinguish the function of the source of goods; in addition, it lacked distinctiveness, a requirement pursuant to the Trademark Law. Again, based on these findings, the TRAB rejected Audi’s application for reexamination.
（By Luo Yanjie）Abstract: Current laws have no provisions as to whether a trademark coexistence agreement made by and between the trademark holder with a prior trademark and the trademark applicant with a latter trademark could impact the validity of the latter trademark. Under such circumstances, the courts shall consider and decide whether to approve the above-mentioned agreement. Where litigation concerning trademark ownership affirmation takes the form of an administrative suit, the courts shall, within the scope of the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board’s (the “TRAB”) administrative acts, decide whether its administrative acts are valid and rational.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: Only if another trademark would “mislead the public and injure the interests of the registrant of a well-known trademark, the well-known trademark could obtain “across protection”. The court shall apply on leniency protective conditions of “injure the interests of the registrant of a well-known trademark” to cross-protection for well-known trademark.
Generally speaking, the well-known trademark can get the trademark cross protection, in particular, the “cross-category” does not mean that the well-known trademark can obtain only related categories’ protection , not all categories. A case in our today’s post is about a well-known trademark failure to get the cross protection sharing with readers as follows，