(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) China is facing a worsening situation with regards to serious trademark squatting. With more and more registrars rushing to register possible trademarks that once were used by famous enterprises, there is little help for enterprises holding such famous trademarks. For example, a registrar has just succeeded in the grant of a trademark, similar with what HUGO BOSS AG had, under the class for cosmetics and fragrances. Today we will introduce this case as follows.
Introduction to the Case:
(By Luo Yanjie) Today we will introduce an example of a trademark squatting case where a Chinese online game operator rush-registered a trademark. In this case that trademark was canceled by Trademark Review and Adjudication Board.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: The new Trademark Law stipulates that only the interested party may file an opposition to a trademark application based on relevant grounds. Previous opposition proceedings were so complicated that the new Trademark Law removes the trademark opposition review proceedings completely, with the exception of the review period of twelve months.
Our Trademark Law has been revised many times since its inception in 1982. In August 2013, the National People’s Congress approved the latest revised Trademark Law. In today’s post, we will analyze and compare the two Trademark Laws from the standpoint of the revised opposition system.
(By You Yunting) When applying for trademark registration in China, foreign companies are often puzzled by an issue arising out of a translation of a foreign trademark into Chinese being rejected by the Trademark Office due to a language conflict with some preexisting trademark. In our experience, however, if an applicant can prove to the court that its trademark won’t cause confusion with previously registered trademarks, there is a great chance of success in a foreign trademark ultimately being registered. As follows, we will introduce a case where a Chinese court supported the Japanese Shiseido Ltd. Co. in applying for registration of its BéNéFIQUE trademark.
(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 Luo Yanjie) Abstract: “Agent” in conduct of Agent’s preemptive registration refers to “trademark agents, representatives or other agents and representatives based on sales and agency relationship such as distribution and agency”. Commodities that no agent or representative may apply for registration include commodities same as the commodities where the trademarks of the principals or the persons represented are attached to as well as other similar commodities. Considering trademark is a private right, judicial institutions shall fully respect parties’ autonomy.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: China’s new Trademark Law still enforces the principle of “first to file,” but at the same time a prior user of a trademark only need prove to some extent that their prior use of a registered trademark had a degree of popularity, and need not prove that a subsequent user of the trademark “squatted” the trademark by registering it. If the board approves such prior use, the prior user will have the right to continue using the trademark in the original scope of use. “Improper means” as stated in Article 31 of the Trademark Law, refers to situations “where the applicant knows or should have known that the trademark had been used by others with a certain degree of influence, and preemptively registered the same, then such applicant shall be determined to have used improper means to register the mark.”
(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) According to a recent report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the British television series Downton Abbey (In Chinese, translated as “唐顿庄园 Tangdun Zhuangyuan”), which is very popular in China, and Carnival Films, who produced Downton Abbey, was attempting to sell Downton (in Chinese, Downtown is translated as “唐顿 Tangdun”) branded wine in the North American, European and Australian markets. However, according to a disclosure by the State Trademark Office, some Chinese merchants drew first blood, registering the “唐顿庄园 Tangdun Zhuangyuan” trademark and subsequently obtaining rights in the trademark. This news also pointed out that a Shandong-based Merchant Li Xiangjun had already received ownership of the “唐顿庄园 Tangdun Zhuangyuan” trademark for wines in China.
(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.
（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.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: as for whether trademarks are similar, many times, it is decided on the subjective cognition of the judge. Furthermore, considering the fact of the distinctiveness of a trademark, whether the “TT” trademark has distinctiveness is still in doubt.
Automobile models are always composed of simple numbers and English letters. Sometimes manufacturers of bestselling cars once hoped to register these simple models as trademarks but all failed (for example, A6, A4, etc.). However, Audi canceled the rules handled down by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board through administrative litigation processing, thus possibly obtaining trademark registration: