(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: In the event that a party unknowingly sells goods that infringe upon another party’s exclusive right to use a registered trademark but can prove that it has obtained the goods lawfully and is able to identify the supplier shall not be held liable for damages. In a case that a trademark holder separately sues sellers, despite no laws requesting the manufacturers to join in the lawsuit, for the purpose of preventing contradictory judgment, the courts could notify him or her requesting joinder. It is the manufacturers that could decide whether acting as a third party to join the lawsuit.
(By You Yunting) As a big manufacturing country, China deals with a lot of products categorized as original equipment manufacturing (the “OEM”). With regard to whether OEM constitutes trademark infringement, where local courts had handed out different decisions and infringing standards for this problem, the Supreme People’s Court has not yet expressed a clear standard for determining. Recently, China’s Supreme People’s Court has published the 2012 Top 50 typical trademark cases, and, among them, there is a case concerning OEM trademark infringement, where the manufacturer of an OEM won an infringement claim against it by the trademark holder. From the SPC’s decision in this case, we find rather clear evidence of the court’s attitude toward this particular issue.
It’s regulated in China Trademark Law that when the registered trademark is ceased for use for three consecutive years, the trademark office shall order him to rectify the situation within a specified period or even cancel the registered trademark. And the understanding on the ceased use is the most consulted question to us. In fact, such article was once referred in the administrative adjudication made by the Supreme People’s Court of China, and that may help us in understanding the article.