(By Luo Yanjie) According to the Trademark Law, the geographical names of administrative divisions at or above the county level, and foreign geographical names well-known to the public shall not be used as trademarks, except for geographical names that have other meanings or are not geographically-oriented. However, under certain circumstances, geographical trademarks shall, if they are of sufficient distinctiveness as a whole, may be considered to have the requisite requirements of distinctiveness. In today’s post, we will introduce such a typical case for our readers.
(By Luo Yanjie) China is facing a worsening situation with regards to serious trademark squatting. With more and more registrars rushing to register possible trademarks that once were used by famous enterprises, there is little help for enterprises holding such famous trademarks. For example, a registrar has just succeeded in the grant of a trademark, similar with what HUGO BOSS AG had, under the class for cosmetics and fragrances. Today we will introduce this case as follows.
Introduction to the Case:
(By Luo Yanjie)Abstract: Pursuant to Chinese Trademark Law, those applications having unhealthy influences shall not be used as trademarks. “Unhealthy influences” refers to a negative, or inactive influence that may detrimental to the interests and social order of the public, including political, economic, cultural, religious and ethnic allusions which are a registered trademark itself or a mark that is applied to goods or services. However, the Chinese Trademark Office should have a consistent attitude regarding the trademark adjudication standard for these unhealthy influences.
(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，
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.