How to Determine Joint Liabilities of shareholder for IPR Infringement in China?

(By Wang Ting and You Yunting)The limited liability of the shareholders means that the liability of the shareholder to the company are limited to its capital contribution, and the independent personality of corporation means that the Company shall fulfill its external liabilities by all of its properties. Therefore, the shareholders usually do not take personal responsibility in IPR infringement cases even when the long-term business of the company is infringement of the intellectual property rights (“IPR”) in most cases. However, today we will introduce a recent case, in which the shareholders were determined to take such joint liabilities for the IPR infringements.

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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.

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China Supreme Court Approved Passive Use as the Use of Trademark

(By Luo Yanjie) Trademark is to distinguish the goods and services from different trademark owners. However, if the public voluntarily called it another name and made use of it, then does such use still constituted the use of trademark as regulated in the Trademark Law. If you want to know more, please read the next posts.

Introduction to the Case:

Re-appellant (third party at first instance and appellant at second instance): Gui Pufang

Re-respondent (plaintiff at first instance and respondent at second instance): Guangdong Tea Imp. & Exp. Co. Ltd (the “GDT”)

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Why Did Using a Literal Meaning of “智慧背囊” be Judged Trademark Infringement?

送给青少年的智慧背囊

(By You Yunting) Introduction to the Case:

Appellant (1st defendant at first instance): Qingdao Publishing House

Respondent (plaintiff at first instance): Shandong Shiji Tianhong Education Technology Co., Ltd (the “Tianhong Education”)

2nd Defendant at first instance: Beijing Readbuy Tianxia Information and Technology Co., Ltd (the “Readbuy”)

Court of first instance: Beijing Fengtai District People’s Court No.: (2014)丰民初字第03829号

Court of second instance: Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court No.: (2014)二中民(知)终字第10356号

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Could Qunar.com be Entitled to Cancel Competitor’s domain name of Quna.com?

去哪儿

(By Luo Yanjie) Generally, enterprises are always using the application of trademarks to protect their brands, but because of the strict trademark review and long review periods, sometimes enterprises could not obtain the approval of trademark registration. Even so, with regard to their famous goods, enterprises could rely on the Anti-Unfair Competition Law to protect their rights and interests. In today’s post, we will introduce and share a typical case with readers.

Introduction to the Case:

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Supreme Court Determined Trademark Non-infringement for Using Prior Enterprise Name with Good Faith

(By Luo Yanjie) Both the enterprise name and the trademark distinguish the sources of goods or services, so that in practice they may conflict with each other. However, trademark, an exclusive right, has functions so as to prohibit others from using it as enterprise name. Under some circumstances, the enterprise name can coexist with the trademark. In today’s post, we would like to introduce such a case.

Introduction to the Case:

Retrial Applicant (Plaintiff at first instance, appellant at second instance): Yinchuan Buma Trading Co., Ltd (the “Yinchuan Buma Trading”)

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P&G vs. Vidal Sassoon Hairs School’s Judgment Abstract

p&g

(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”)

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Could A Prior User Constitute Trademark Infringement against the Exclusive Right Holder of a Registered Trademark?

caidiexuan

(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.

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Alert: SoundCloud, Ubuntu and Lots of Famous Brands are being Rush-Registered as Trademarks in China !

(By You Yunting) Recently, a news article sparked concern that the Qihu Investment Co., Ltd (a similar Chinese name to Qihoo 360 Technology Co., Ltd) had rushed-registered hundreds of trademarks belonging to internet venture companies. Even though Qihoo 360 Technology Co., Ltd later clarified that it had nothing with the Qihu Investment Co., Ltd, the news still attracted attention from both companies and lawyers.

Many famous companies’ brands, such as Ubuntu, Hotel Tonight and SoundCloud were being rush-registered as trademarks and some have even entered into the process of announcement by the Chinese Trademark Office after a preliminary examination and within three months of the date of the publication. The overseas companies may lose the exclusive right of trademark in China unless they file an opposition against these rush-registrations. Worse, they will not be able to use these brands they have created when entering the Chinese market for a significant length of time. In today’s post, we would like to address how venture companies should resolve trademark squatting.

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How China Court Judges the Conduct of Using a Trademark as Enterprise Name?

miergu

(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”)

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Court Decision Made Compensation to a Foreign Buyer against Products Infringement of the Manufacturer in China

hero pens

(By Luo Yanjie) In our today’s post, when a foreign company ordered a number of Hero pens from a Chinese company, the Chinese company used the fake products to replace the authentic ones and then the fake products were found to be confiscated and punished by the Customs. Finally, the foreign company brought the Chinese company into the court and won the lawsuit, claiming that the Chinese company disobeyed the contract.

Hero pens are famous and have received well reputation for its good quality in the industry of pens in China.

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Does Using a Trademark with Common Meaning Constitute Trademark Infringement in China?

jigonghoubao

(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.

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Anheuser-Busch InBev Used the Packaging of its Beer Bottle to Defeat against Chinese Copycatted Competitor

budweiser

 (By You Yunting) Recently, we introduced that Zhejiang Xiyingmen Beer Company constituted trademark infringement through the use of recycled Budweiser’s beer bottle. In today’s post, we will introduce an unfair competition lawsuit where Zhejiang Xiyingmen Beer Company used the similar packaging and presentation with that of Budweiser-sponsored Harbin Beer.

Introduction to the Case:

Appellant (Defendant at the first instance): Xiyingmen Beer Company

Respondent (Plaintiff at the first instance):  Anheuser-Busch and Harbin Brewery Group (the “Harbin Brewery”)

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Competitor Using Recycled Budweiser’s Bottles Constituted Trademark Infringement

budweiser

(By You Yunting) Our website has previously  introduced the case where ABlnbev (China) Sales Co., Ltd filed a lawsuit against its competitor, who was unauthorized to use the bottles with the trademarks “Budweiser” and “ABlnbev”. Recently, the Shanghai Higher People’s Court made a final judgment in favor of ABlnbev (China) Sales Co., Ltd.

Introduction to the Case:

Appellant: (Defendant at the first instance): Xiyingmen Beer Company (the “Company Z”)

Respondent: (Plaintiff at the first instance): ABlnbev (China) Sales Co., Ltd

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