(By Luo Yanjie) The most common trademark squatting is to register celebrity names as trademarks in China. In following post, we will introduce a case regarding where the court rejected the rush-registered trademark via the use of late celebrity names. Bruce Lee, with his Chinese name 李小龍, was a late Hong Kong American martial artist, Hong Kong action film actor, martial instructor, filmmaker and the founder of Jeet Kune Do. The descendants of the late Bruce Lee set up a Bruce Lee Enterprise, LLC in the operation of related matters to the late Bruce Lee.
(By Wang Ting and You Yunting) In enterprise name registration, if an enterprise changed its enterprise name at once, generally the new enterprise name is under protection. This means, the enterprise is no longer entitled to the rights and interests of its prior enterprise name. Such being the case, does another’s registration on the prior enterprise name cause its prior rights, or violate the Article 32 of the Trademark Law on the stipulation that the trademark application shall not infringe upon another party’s prior existing rights? Is the enterprise with a new enterprise name entitled to the prior right for its prior rights? In today’s post, with regard to those questions, the Trademark Office, the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court and Beijing Higher Peoples Court were divided in their attitude.
(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.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: Generally, two goods that fall into the same similar group constitute similar goods. “Similar goods” refers to the goods that are identical in such respects as the function, purpose, industry, sales channel and consumers; or goods that are likely to lead the relevant public into thinking they are associated with each other and cause confusion.
Trademark registration in China applies the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (the “Nice Classification”). Every year the State Trademark Office in China will update the Chinese Goods and Services Classification in accordance with the Nice Classification. A trademark shall be registered in accordance with the Chinese Goods and Services Classification. When a trademark dispute brought to a court, the Chinese Goods and Services Classification is not used only as a reference for judgment of similar goods or services.
(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.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: Marks that only bear the generic names, devices, or model numbers of the goods shall not be registered as trademarks. This restriction was just limited the generic names of the same goods. Trademark right is a unified national right all over the China and shall be under equal protection. In practice, for an act of an enterprise name infringing a registered trademark, the court may make a comprehensive judgment of different kinds of infringement liabilities.
With regard to some well-known brands, an act of using another’s well-known brand as an enterprise name is a typical infringement manner, which annoys the right holder. In today’s post, we’d like to introduce and share a typical case that the infringing party was finally convicted of infringement by the courts and ordered to stop using its enterprise name for the following.
(By You Yunting) Earlier in November, China’s Trademark Office announced canceling Burberry’s trademark of the “Haymarket Check” in China, known as iconic tan, black and red tartan (the “disputed trademark”), under Class 18 for packaging and bags because Burberry had not even used the registered trademark for over three years in China by the media.
A Chinese bag and apparel maker Polo Santa Roberta, who had disputes with Burberry for many years, filed an application with the China’s Trademark Office for revoking the disputed trademark that Burberry had not used for over three years. The State Trademark Office decided to revoke Burberry’s trademark due to inadequate evidence from Burberry after consideration, but Burberry applied for review with the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, triggering heated debates in China.
（By Luo Yanjie）Abstract: Current laws have no provisions as to whether a trademark coexistence agreement made by and between the trademark holder with a prior trademark and the trademark applicant with a latter trademark could impact the validity of the latter trademark. Under such circumstances, the courts shall consider and decide whether to approve the above-mentioned agreement. Where litigation concerning trademark ownership affirmation takes the form of an administrative suit, the courts shall, within the scope of the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board’s (the “TRAB”) administrative acts, decide whether its administrative acts are valid and rational.
Abstract: trademark holder is not necessarily entitled to prevent others from using its trademark into a business name because operation method needs to be judged. On the contrary, consideration upon prior right of business name does not just depend on first registration but on operation methods.
(By Luo Yanjie)Using another’s registered trademark as a business name is a common phenomenon of copycat brand names in China. In today’s post we would like to introduce a typical case to you. Relying on the fact that the business name “凯伦 Kanren” was registered earlier than that of the trademark, the court determined the defendant did not infringe upon the exclusive rights in the trademark. In the author’s opinion, the ratio decidendi is worth further discussion:
(By Luo Yanjie) Pursuant to Article 31 of the Trademark Law: anyone applying for trademark registration may not damage the existing rights of others obtained by priority, neither may it register, in advance, a trademark that has been used by others and has become influential. In practice, consumers apply a “name” to a product, which can then be considered a kind of “trademark” for the product itself. Is such passive use attributable to prior use? In regard to this legal issue, there are no actual legal provisions speaking to it in Mainland China. However, the answer in today’s post appears to be a resounding no.