Does the Merchandizing Rights Fall into the Protection for Priority Right in China Trademark Cases?

(By Ning Tinggang) Beijing Intellectual Property Court recently introduced some movie, TV series, music, animation and game related cases it heard in 2015 and 2016 via its public WeChat platform, including the trademark “Kuroko Basketball” invalidity case which inspired me. The way that the court dealt with this case shows a new trend of protecting merchandizing interests which we legal professionals should pay attention to.

Case Introduction

Kuroko Basketball is a popular comic work about basketball created by ふじまき ただとし, a Japanese comics artist. The work was serialized on the magazine SHONEN JUMP published by Shueisha since the second issue in 2009, and then was adapted for an animation and first broadcast on 7th April 2012. The plaintiff, SL Sport Ltd. in Kaiping (“SL Company”), filed a trademark-register application to the trademark office on 19th July 2012. As approved, this trademark (“Disputed Trademark”) should be used under Class 25. In addition, SL Company registered tens of trademarks closely connected with popular comics works such as Kuroko Basketball and SLAM DUNK that Shueisha had published, including trademarks used under Class 18, 24, 25, 35 and other types of commodities or services. Thus, Shueisha filed a request for declaration of invalidity of the Disputed Trademark.

READ MORE

Could Coexistence Agreement Be Accepted in Trademark Application in China?

(By Yue Mengyan) Pursuant to China trademark laws and regulations, if certain trademarks have been already registered for certain goods, applicants cannot apply for such same or similar trademarks for any same or similar products. However, if the trademark coexistence agreement is made by the right holder of prior registered trademark and applicant of an identical or similar trademark without interfering in each other’s interests, then it is possible for the applicant to successfully obtain the approval of such application.

READ MORE

In What Ways Can Startups Obtain Competitive Advantages from Intellectual Property?

(By You Yunting) Large number of business opportunities have arisen from the rapid development of wireless and mobile technologies. As a result, new startups appear one after another, scrambling for these opportunities. However, the faster a market grows, the fiercer competition it involves. The process of Entrepreneurship is a race with other outstanding entrepreneurs, in which they use reasonable efforts to gain competitive advantages and win their rivals. If properly used, intellectual property rights can be very helpful in creating advantages. Here, let’s talk about what advantages can startups create by using intellectual property.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Could Co-Founder Rush-Register A Planning Trademark As His Own?

lehmanbrown

 (By Luo Yanjie) Article 15 of both the 2014 version and the 2001 version of the Trademark Law stipulated that an agent shall not rush-register trademarks of the principal or the represented. In practice, Article 15 is always used to prevent from rush-registration. The following judgment will introduce a typical rush-registration case with new ideas for reference.

 Introduction to the Case:

Re-appellant (plaintiff at first instance, appellant at second instance): LEHMANBROWN LIMITED (the “HK Company”)

READ MORE

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

READ MORE

China Laws and Regulations Update in July 2014

  1. The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council Releases the newly revised Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China (under Review) and Solicits Public Opinions for It

On 6 June 2014, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council released the newly revised Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China (under Review) and solicited public opinions for it. The deadline for opinion solicitation will be 5 July 2014.

What is most significantly revised according to the draft copyright law under review includes provisions on objects, contents, ownership and the validity period of rights within the scope of copyright. Also, it has stipulated more penalties that will be imposed on those who infringe others’ copyrights and has set forth means of enforcement by administrative authorities concerned, who have powers of seizure and confiscation, which was first stipulated by laws.

READ MORE

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”)

READ MORE

Why Tudou.com Failed to Apply for Tudou trademark under Class 41?

tudou

(By You Yunting) Tudou.com (NASDAQ:TUDO) are connected with trademarks in different kinds of services relating entertainments under Class 41. However, Tudou.com failed to apply for its website name as a trademark by virtue of previous similar trademark. Tudou.com is focusing on providing services of video-sharing and video on-demand, but we found out its major services cannot be applied for trademark protection. Therefore, how to deal with this trademark application puts forward higher requests for trademark lawyers. In today’s post, we will introduce this case and discuss the comments in the following.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Regulations against Intellectual Property Malicious Litigation in China

    (By You Yunting) Malicious litigation refers to instituting a lawsuit through fictional facts and falsified evidences for the purpose of receiving unlawful benefits. In today’s post, we will introduce some provisions about malicious litigation in intellectual property laws and civil procedure law in China.

    I. Provisions on wrongful litigation injunction can be applied into malicious litigation.

    In litigations concerning patent, trademark and copyright, the right holder always applies for such litigation injunctions as termination of infringement, evidence preservation and property preservation. Where the court approved the application, if the litigation is proved to be malicious, the respondent may require the applicant to compensate for such losses. Article 13 of the Several Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on the Issues Concerning the Application of Law to Terminating Infringement upon Patent Prior to Litigation stipulates that:

READ MORE

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

READ MORE

Uber’s China Imitator Didi Taxi Meets Trademark Problems

Lessons to Be Learned from Apple Losing Their Apple Trademark for a Game Console in China

125px-Apple-logo.svg

(By You Yunting) In the end of 2013, the Beijing Higher People’s Court rejected Apple Inc.’s trademark opposition towards “苹果” trademark (read “Pingguo” in Chinese and referring to “Apple” in English) under Class 28 for game console against Zhongshan Readboy Electronics Co., Ltd. Thereafter, Apple Inc. has gone through 4 procedures, including the Trademark Office’s opposition proceeding, TRAB’s review procedure and two administrative actions and ultimately lost the “苹果” trademark under Class 28 for game console. The following are abstracts from the judgment of the final trial and our comments.

READ MORE

Could an Additional Proof be Admitted in the TRAB’s Trademark Review?

手持椰子

(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: The general principle of copyright authorship centers on the signature in the work pursuant to the Copyright Law. The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board shall determine the proof that provided by the administrative counterparty with strict and cautious attitude and consider the changes together with the combination of legal facts and objective conditions so as to make a ruling that protects the right holders’ legitimate rights and interests.

The people’s court shall have the right to revoke the ruling made by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (the “TRAB”) and order the TRAB to remake a ruling. For how the TRAB deal with the additional evidences provided by the administrative counterparty during the period of re-ruling, there are no clear laws and regulations. In today’s post, we would like to introduce a typical case with readers.

READ MORE