(By Luo Yanjie) The most common trademark squatting is to register celebrity names as trademarks in China. In following post, we will introduce a case regarding where the court rejected the rush-registered trademark via the use of late celebrity names. Bruce Lee, with his Chinese name 李小龍, was a late Hong Kong American martial artist, Hong Kong action film actor, martial instructor, filmmaker and the founder of Jeet Kune Do. The descendants of the late Bruce Lee set up a Bruce Lee Enterprise, LLC in the operation of related matters to the late Bruce Lee.
(By Wang Ting and You Yunting) In enterprise name registration, if an enterprise changed its enterprise name at once, generally the new enterprise name is under protection. This means, the enterprise is no longer entitled to the rights and interests of its prior enterprise name. Such being the case, does another’s registration on the prior enterprise name cause its prior rights, or violate the Article 32 of the Trademark Law on the stipulation that the trademark application shall not infringe upon another party’s prior existing rights? Is the enterprise with a new enterprise name entitled to the prior right for its prior rights? In today’s post, with regard to those questions, the Trademark Office, the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court and Beijing Higher Peoples Court were divided in their attitude.
(By Luo Yanjie) According to the latest news report, more than 14 millions of trademark applications in China have already been filed by June 2014. It indicates that Chinese economy develops very fast and also that brands across China and even all over the world, big or small, are attempting to the protection of trademark registration in China. However, there is no doubt that some trademarks were registered with bad faith at the beginning, i.e., pirate trademark rush-registrations. Among those trademark rush-registrations, some of rush-registrars are connected to the original holders, thus leading to prevention from agent’s trademark rush-registration as regulated in Article 15 of the Trademark Law (2001 version). Furthermore, in the newly applicable Trademark Law from May 2014, legislature departments made implementation on the Article 15. In today’s post, we will discuss the modification and its application.
(By Luo Yanjie) An enterprise name attempting to use a well-known trademark is quite the norm in China. In today’s post, we would like to introduce a typical case where the courts made a final judgment that the infringer constitutes infringement but does not change its enterprise name. However, the judgment is far from playing its role in the containment of this violation.
Introduction to the Case:
Appellant (Defendant at the first instance): Beijing Royal VIDAL SASSOON Beauty Hair School (the “Royal School”)
(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) Our former trademark laws had not yet stipulated whether a prior user constituted trademark infringement against the exclusive right holder of a registered trademark. However, the implementation of the update Trademark Law this year solved the problem. In today’s post, we will introduce a typical case concerning the prior user succeeded in competing against the exclusive right holder. Even though the case was judged before the implementation of the update Trademark Law, its judgment was kept pace with legislative purpose of the update Trademark Law.
(By Luo Yanjie) In practice, for the purpose of free-riding well-known brands, many operators often use another’s trademarks as their enterprise name to confuse consumers. As such, these conducts still constitute trademark infringement. In today’s post, we will introduce a typical case concerning that using another’s trademarks as enterprise names may constitute trademark infringement.
Introduction to the Case:
Plaintiff: Shanghai Jinsu Industrial Co., Ltd (the “Jinsu Co., Ltd”)
1st Defendant: Miergu Pipe Industrial Company (liter translated from “美尔固管业公司”)
(By Luo Yanjie) According to Chinese legislation, a mark which has a common meaning in normal ways may be registered as a trademark where it has acquired distinctiveness through use and is readily distinguishable. If being registered, the mark with a common meaning would be protected under the Trademark Law. However, in practice, a competitor may use the trademark against the exclusive right holder, with a defense that the trademark has common meaning. Today, we will introduce a successful case where the court is in favor of the exclusive right holder of the trademark.
(By Luo Yanjie) Today we will introduce a typical example of a trademark squatting case. Unilever recently succeeded in defeating trademark squatting after it undertook a nine year objection to prevent a similar trademark from being registered under a different class.
On May 28, 2003, Mr. Shi filed a personal application for “POND’S/ 旁氏” (the “disputed trademark”) under Class 5 for tonics (medicine), baby milk powder, air fresher, sanitary napkins and dental lacquer. However, in the period of trademark opposition for primary publication, Unilever filed an opposition, alleging that its prior registered “旁氏/POND’S” trademark (the “reference trademark”) had become a well-known trademark in China. Unable to achieve a supporting judgment from the Trademark Office and the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (the “TRAB”), Unilever brought the case to the court.
(By Luo Yanjie) According to a recent report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the British television series Downton Abbey (In Chinese, translated as “唐顿庄园 Tangdun Zhuangyuan”), which is very popular in China, and Carnival Films, who produced Downton Abbey, was attempting to sell Downton (in Chinese, Downtown is translated as “唐顿 Tangdun”) branded wine in the North American, European and Australian markets. However, according to a disclosure by the State Trademark Office, some Chinese merchants drew first blood, registering the “唐顿庄园 Tangdun Zhuangyuan” trademark and subsequently obtaining rights in the trademark. This news also pointed out that a Shandong-based Merchant Li Xiangjun had already received ownership of the “唐顿庄园 Tangdun Zhuangyuan” trademark for wines in China.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: In today’s post, we will introduce a typical case discussing Lenovo’s defense against a “free rider” utilizing its well-known trademark. In this case, when Lenovo claimed cross-class protection for its Lenovo trademark, the court established two rules in its decision, which are as follows:
First, “misleading the public and causing injury to the interests of the registrant of a well-known trademark” is a legal basis for whether or not a well-known trademark may receive cross-class protection.
(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，
Abstract: generally, consumers’ acts of purchasing infringing goods are not considered to constitute trademark infringement. However, some limits shall be given by laws and regulations to those that intend to manufacture and sell infringing goods to damage a trademark holder’s legitimate rights and interests. Based on such analysis, we don’t fully agree with the Chinese court’s decision in today’s post.
(By You Yunting) Pursuant to the Trademark Law, infringement refers to “manufacturing and selling” goods or services of a registered trademark without authorization, but does not include consumers’ acts of purchasing and using infringing goods or services. If laws entirely indulge consumers’ infringements, it is not entirely effective in protecting a trademark holder’s legitimate rights and interests. In today’s post, we will discuss a typical case evidencing such legal limitations. Here is our analysis:
Abstract: trademark holder is not necessarily entitled to prevent others from using its trademark into a business name because operation method needs to be judged. On the contrary, consideration upon prior right of business name does not just depend on first registration but on operation methods.
(By Luo Yanjie)Using another’s registered trademark as a business name is a common phenomenon of copycat brand names in China. In today’s post we would like to introduce a typical case to you. Relying on the fact that the business name “凯伦 Kanren” was registered earlier than that of the trademark, the court determined the defendant did not infringe upon the exclusive rights in the trademark. In the author’s opinion, the ratio decidendi is worth further discussion:
(By Albert Chen) Abstract:
When a company’s trademark agent transfers a trademark without approval, a judgement of the validity of said transfer requires not only a consideration of the company approval, but also a determination of the third party good faith in the transfer. When a condition is not fulfilled the transfer will invariably be considered invalid.
In 2001, Leidi (China) Co., Ltd. (“Company L”) was granted the exclusive right in the use of the trademark “雷迪” (read as “Leidi” in Chinese). In November of 2002, Wu, as the executive director of Leidi China, transferred the trademark to the Hua Qu Duo Investment Company (“Company H”). The State Trademark Office made an announcement regarding the transfer in October 2003. Subsequently, Company H licensed the trademark to the Shanghai-based Leidi Mechanics Co., Ltd. (“Company S,” which had no affiliation with Company L).