Will Daily Deal Website Lashou Lost its domain name for trademark infringement?

Highlight: Lashou.com. a well-known daily deal website in China, says that the trademark of “拉手(Chinese pronunciation: lashou)”and“拉手团购(Chinese pronunciation: lashou tuangou)”have not be registered. For this, Bridge IPR Commentary made the retrieval and also put forward our advice.

It’s reported that Lashou.com is not approved for it’s application of the trademark “拉手”and“拉手团购”for their similarity to the registered ones, thus may bring Lashou.com the trademark conflict and the risk of losing its domain name www.lashou.com. If the reported facts do exist, the market of Lashou.com and its operating company Beijing Lashou Internet Technology Co., Ltd (hereinafter called as “Lashou Company”) may be influenced hereby, and even its IPO could be delayed.

For this, Bridge IPR Commentary made the trademark retrieval and the analysis as follows:

I. Analysis on the business of Lashou.com 

As described in the User Agreement of Lashou.com, the service of the web is to assemble the consumers with the same purchase intention by internet, wap or other media for the group buying from the restaurants, shoping malls and other service institutions. By such definition, the trademark “拉手”and“拉手团购”of Lashou.com shall belong to Class 35 of providing commercial information to consumers.

II. Retrieval on the trademark squatting of Lashou.com and the legal consequence 

According to the retrieval on “拉手”and“拉手团购”in Class 35 on 9th November, 2011, Lashou Company has applied for “拉手精品团购 ”, “拉手网”and“我的拉手我的团”on 4th March, 2011, however in the same class, the trademark of “LASHOU”, “啦手”(the same pronunciation in Chinese with 拉手) , “拉手”and “拉手网”(namely Lashou.com in Chinese) has been applied prior to Lashou.com, among which “拉手” has come into the procedure of oppositions.

As attorneys of trademark, we think Lashou.com put less attention on its IPR protection, and they should have registered their trademark on the beginning of their website, namely the first quarter of 2010. And it’s trapped with trademark crisis under the prior application principle in China Trademark Law. Lashou.com may be forced to alter its name once the identical or similar trademark is granted to others. Although Lashou.com has initiated the oppositions to some applied trademarks in publish, and it’s own registration will be delayed even if it could won in the opposition. And till its application is approved, Lashou.com has to face the embarrassing situation of no legal protection on its trademark.

III. Will Lashou.com lose its domain name for the infringement against otherstrademarks?

It also came to our attention that there are some registered trademark pronounced similar to the domain name of Lashou.com, including“凯尔手拉手( pronounced as kai er shou la shou)”及“凯尔手拉手联(pronounced as kai er shou la shou lian)”. And could it lead to the deprivation of Lashou.com’s domain name? In our opinion, it’s less possible though the possibility does exist.

By the Article 11 of the Judicial Interpretation of the Hearing on the Civil Conflicts concerning the Domain Names issued by the Supreme People’s Court (the “Judicial Interpretation”), once the defendant’s domain name or its main part is kind of copy, imitation, translation or transliteration of the well-known trademarks; or it’s identical or similar to the plaintiff’s registered trademark which may lead to the confusion of consumers, then it shall judge that the liability of infringement or unfair competition of the defendant is established. For there has no demonstration for the registered trademark mentioned above to be the well-known ones, and the similar pronunciation of Lashou.com domain name is less likely to arouse the public confusion, as well as the different business scope of the company owning the registered trademarks, it’s of great possibility that Lashou.com may continue to use its domain name

In a word, Bridge IPR Commentary suggest those international companies in China to complete their business strategy over trademark and domain name for the avoidance of the dilemma encountered by Lashou.com

Author: Mr. Albert Chen
Attorney-at-law of DeBund Law Offices
Co-author: Mr. You Yunting
Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Bridge IPR Commentary
Partner & Attorney-at-law of Shanghai DeBund Law Offices
Email: Bridge@chinaiplawyer.com, Tel: 8621-5213-4900,
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Bridge IPR Commentary is a website focus on the introduction of commercial laws in China, especially the intellectual property laws. All the posts here are our original works. And all news or cases referred here are from public reports, and our comments or analysis are of due diligence, neutrality and impartiality, representing our own opinions only and are our original works. You may contact us shall you have any opinions or suggestions.



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