According to a recent media report, someone made a malicious complaint against Wechat public accounts, resulting in a large number of public accounts containing the word “beauty” closed by Tencent, perhaps because the word “beauty” has been registered as a trademark and such an owner filed a complaint on this matter. Afterwards L’Oreal appealed for recovering its public account of “YSL Saint Laurent Beauty”. As such an incident has been heated up via the Internet, Tencent recovered all the public accounts it previously closed. Now let me introduce you approaches to deal with a malicious complaint against a public account.
(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.
(By You Yunting) I was once asked by a journalist what the foundation of intellectual property courts and the ratification of the Opinions on Quicker Development of the Globally Influential Scientific and Technological Innovation Center matter to small and medium-sized startups, and replied the outcome of those two events were the same, both of which ultimately aimed to enhance the awareness of intellectual property throughout our society and guide small and medium-sized enterprises to establish a competition barrier and a management philosopher on how to avoid infringing others’ intellectual property rights. As governmental authorities define and set official instructions and policies, each startup should take full use of its intellectual property during daily operation, trying to become positioned to succeed, just like a well-known Chinese aphorism says that even the pig can fly when the typhoon comes. Combined with my experiences, this article mainly deals with the issue of how small and medium-sized startups seek intellectual property protection both internally and externally.
(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”)
Recently, DeBund takes a big step forward in providing mobile internet legal services that You Yunting Team, on behalf of clients, succeeds in pulling a popular game from the AppStore by more than 10 lawyer’s letters.
The Developer of the complained game copied large amounts of background elements of a well-known game, including graphic design, plots, role names and geographic names, and also used the brand of the original game. The Developer also made a cartoon modeling on the game characters, and did a slight change to the game name, not exactly the same as the original game. The infringed benefits greatly from the complained game to millions of yuan every month.
(By You Yunting) According to the news, Alibaba Group, an Chinese e-commerce that provides consumer-to-consumer business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals, has already obtained the registration of the trademark “双十一” (meaning “double 11”, actually the date of November 11th) (the “disputed trademark”) and authorized its affiliated Tmall.com to the exclusive use of the disputed trademark. Moreover, Alibaba delivered letters to various news media arguing that the JD.com’s use of “双十一” infringed the rights of its trademark. However, JD.com, one of the largest B2C online retailers in China by transaction volume, replied that the date of “November 11th” has already became a shopping day for all retailers and Alibaba’s registration on the “双十一” is accused of having the monopoly. Actually, Sunning Appliance, Gome and Amazon have suffered such impacts as well as JD.com.
(By Luo Yanjie) According to the latest news report, more than 14 millions of trademark applications in China have already been filed by June 2014. It indicates that Chinese economy develops very fast and also that brands across China and even all over the world, big or small, are attempting to the protection of trademark registration in China. However, there is no doubt that some trademarks were registered with bad faith at the beginning, i.e., pirate trademark rush-registrations. Among those trademark rush-registrations, some of rush-registrars are connected to the original holders, thus leading to prevention from agent’s trademark rush-registration as regulated in Article 15 of the Trademark Law (2001 version). Furthermore, in the newly applicable Trademark Law from May 2014, legislature departments made implementation on the Article 15. In today’s post, we will discuss the modification and its application.
(By Luo Yanjie) According to the Trademark Law, the geographical names of administrative divisions at or above the county level, and foreign geographical names well-known to the public shall not be used as trademarks, except for geographical names that have other meanings or are not geographically-oriented. However, under certain circumstances, geographical trademarks shall, if they are of sufficient distinctiveness as a whole, may be considered to have the requisite requirements of distinctiveness. In today’s post, we will introduce such a typical case for our readers.
(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.
(By You Yunting) Recently, a news article sparked concern that the Qihu Investment Company (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 Company, the news still attracted attention from both venture companies and lawyers. In today’s post, we would like to address how venture companies should resolve trademark squatting.
(By You Yunting) Recently, Chairman Zong Qinghou of Hangzhou Wahaha Group, acting as NPC representative (NPC refers to National People’s Congress), proposed a draft proposal revising the Trademark Law and strengthening the protection of well-known trademarks. We have previously introduced this case in the article Wahaha Group suing KMPG in China, please read this post for further background information. In my opinion, his draft indicates that Chinese entrepreneurs have already found that the growth of Chinese enterprises will be limited unless they improve the standard of protection offered under intellectual property rights law. However, his draft only focused on the intellectual property rights protection of the Wahaha Group, did not account for the interests of the public, and required special protection for the Wahaha Group beyond conventional protection from the government. As such, his draft is not practical.
(By You Yunting) We have already introduced today’s topic in our previous post how to record patents with China Customs. For more background information, please read this article first. Recently the Chinese General Administration of Customs has updated its previous recordation system for intellectual property rights enforcement and began to utilize this latest recording system from March 1, 2014. This updated recording system puts forward a new requirement that upon patent recordation, the right holder of a patent that has been recorded by Customs must present valid documents of the relevant patent rights before the given deadline, otherwise the patent recordation will be canceled.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: In today’s post, we will introduce a typical case discussing Lenovo’s defense against a “free rider” utilizing its well-known trademark. In this case, when Lenovo claimed cross-class protection for its Lenovo trademark, the court established two rules in its decision, which are as follows:
First, “misleading the public and causing injury to the interests of the registrant of a well-known trademark” is a legal basis for whether or not a well-known trademark may receive cross-class protection.
(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.