Why Does China Court Order New Balance a High Amount Compensation of RMB 98 Million for Trademark Infringement?

(By Luo Yanjie) Recently, Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court ordered New Balance Trading (China) Co., Ltd, an affiliate of US-based Sports footwear manufacturer New Balance, to compensate a Chinese shoes owner, Zhou Yuelun, with a rarely high amount of RMB 98 million for infringing his Chinese “新百伦” trademark, a Chinese transliteration from English word New Balance, in the first instance. Such high amount of compensation is unusual in China intellectual property infringement. It is for this reason that this case attracted extensive attention. Upon the public records, from the legal view, we will briefly introduce and analyze this case in today’s post.


Why could China’s Courts Decide for Audi’s “TT” to Apply for a Trademark?


(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: as for whether trademarks are similar, many times, it is decided on the subjective cognition of the judge. Furthermore, considering the fact of the distinctiveness of a trademark, whether the “TT” trademark has distinctiveness is still in doubt.

Automobile models are always composed of simple numbers and English letters. Sometimes manufacturers of bestselling cars once hoped to register these simple models as trademarks but all failed (for example, A6, A4, etc.). However, Audi canceled the rules handled down by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board through administrative litigation processing, thus possibly obtaining trademark registration:


Analysis on Proof Requirements in Figurative Trademark Infringing Others’ Copyright Cases by China Court


— A trademark certificate cannot be taken as evidence of copyright ownership

(By Luo Yanjie) On June 27th 2002, Hua Yuan Company (hereinafter “Hua Yuan”) filed an application to revoke the disputed trademark “老人城LAORENCHENG” (hereinafter Lao Ren Cheng) pursuant to on Article 31 of the Trademark Law, with the claim that the trademark infringed upon Hua Yuan’s first rights in the mark. The disputed trademark was applied in Class 25 with registration number 1497462. During prosecution of the trademark, Hua Yuan submitted certificate of the No. 590673 trademark and No. 696935 trademark as evidence of its first rights in the mark. As indicated by the documents, the trademarks were registered before the trademark “Lao Ren Cheng.” Considering the opposition was mainly filed on the ground that Hua Yuan’s first rights had been infringed rather than due to similarity of the trademarks, the focus of this particular case depends on whether a trademark certificate may be treated as evidence of trademark ownership.


All General Vocabulary Cannot Be Registered As Trademarks in China?


(By Luo Yanjie) Early in this year, JDB Inc., the famous herbal tea manufacturer argued with Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Company (the “GPC”) regarding ownership of the Wang Lao Ji trademark, which concluded in JDB being ordered to cease its use of the trademark. Now, JDB has begun its second battle with GPC, this time accusing GPC of infringeing the trademark “Ji Qing Shi Fen (吉庆时分).” Wanglaoji Health Industry Co. Ltd. (Guangzhou Wanglaoji Company) affiliated with GPC, recently made a statement that the State Trademark Office had accepted its application to revoke the registration of “Ji Qing Shi Fen (吉庆时分)”, the main reason being that the mark is considered generic in the sense that it is vocabulary in common use. Due to this, the State Trademark Office further advocated that it is uncertain whether there can be any exclusive right in the use of the registered mark.