Why did the Trademark Office Reject Audi’s “A4” Trademark Application?

(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.

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A Compromise between Michael Jordan and Qiaodan Sports?

Reportedly (Note this report is in Chinese), Michael Jordan, the star sportsman of NBA, recently made a statement that Qiaodan Sports Co., Ltd. (“Qiaodan Sports”) is suspected of infringement on his right of name, and he had initiated the legal proceeding in the People’s Court of China. And by the late news, the Shanghai Second Intermediate People’s Court has accepted this case. It is reported (Note this report is in Chinese) that the Qiaodan Sports has been approved by the Issuance Examination Committee of Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) to issue 11.25 million shares collecting RMB 1.06 billion, which would be issued publicly upon the future approval of China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). (the image above is the trademark information retrieved from the trademark office of PRC)

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