(By Wang Haichuan) With Beijing Winter Olympic Games going on well, some people are planning to take advantage of successful athletes to gain enormous profits. On 14 February 2022 China National Intellectual Property Administration made the Announcement of Legally Fighting Malicious Rush Registration of Bing Dundun, Gu Ailing, Etc. Trademarks, arousing wide concerns. According to the announcement, a few businesses and individuals maliciously applied hot words related to the Winter Olympics such as the mascot for 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and athletes’ names, illegally used reputation of the Olympics and the Olympic Committee and infringed others’ names and legal rights in order to gain illegal profits and therefore China National Intellectual Property Administration refused to approve 429 trademark registration applications, including No.41128524 “Bin Dundun” and No.62453532 “Gu Ailing” trademark applications and used its powers to announce the invalidity of 43 registered trademarks, including No.41126916 “Xue Dundun” and No.38770198 “Gu Ailing” trademarks. This article deals with reasons for and issues related to NIPA’s announcement of the invalidity of “Gu Ailing” trademark.
(By Yue Mengyan) There are many applicants who register a tremendous number of trademarks without the use-oriented purpose. Moreover, they register trademarks on obvious malicious purpose. In such situation, their enforcement for trademark protection shall be limited and their claims for compensation against trademark infringement may not be favored by the court.
Appellant (Plaintiff at the first instance): Guangzhou Zhinanzhen Exhibition Service Co., Ltd. (the “ZHINANZHEN”)
(By Luo Yanjie) Trademark is to distinguish the goods and services from different trademark owners. However, if the public voluntarily called it another name and made use of it, then does such use still constituted the use of trademark as regulated in the Trademark Law. If you want to know more, please read the next posts.
Introduction to the Case:
Re-appellant (third party at first instance and appellant at second instance): Gui Pufang
Re-respondent (plaintiff at first instance and respondent at second instance): Guangdong Tea Imp. & Exp. Co. Ltd (the “GDT”)
(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 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) An enterprise name attempting to use a well-known trademark is quite the norm in China. In today’s post, we would like to introduce a typical case where the courts made a final judgment that the infringer constitutes infringement but does not change its enterprise name. However, the judgment is far from playing its role in the containment of this violation.
Introduction to the Case:
Appellant (Defendant at the first instance): Beijing Royal VIDAL SASSOON Beauty Hair School (the “Royal School”)
(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 Luo Yanjie) Our former trademark laws had not yet stipulated whether a prior user constituted trademark infringement against the exclusive right holder of a registered trademark. However, the implementation of the update Trademark Law this year solved the problem. In today’s post, we will introduce a typical case concerning the prior user succeeded in competing against the exclusive right holder. Even though the case was judged before the implementation of the update Trademark Law, its judgment was kept pace with legislative purpose of the update Trademark Law.
(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.
(By Luo Yanjie) In practice, for the purpose of free-riding well-known brands, many operators often use another’s trademarks as their enterprise name to confuse consumers. As such, these conducts still constitute trademark infringement. In today’s post, we will introduce a typical case concerning that using another’s trademarks as enterprise names may constitute trademark infringement.
Introduction to the Case:
Plaintiff: Shanghai Jinsu Industrial Co., Ltd (the “Jinsu Co., Ltd”)
1st Defendant: Miergu Pipe Industrial Company (liter translated from “美尔固管业公司”)
(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) 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 a typical example of a trademark squatting case. Unilever recently succeeded in defeating trademark squatting after it undertook a nine year objection to prevent a similar trademark from being registered under a different class.
On May 28, 2003, Mr. Shi filed a personal application for “POND’S/ 旁氏” (the “disputed trademark”) under Class 5 for tonics (medicine), baby milk powder, air fresher, sanitary napkins and dental lacquer. However, in the period of trademark opposition for primary publication, Unilever filed an opposition, alleging that its prior registered “旁氏/POND’S” trademark (the “reference trademark”) had become a well-known trademark in China. Unable to achieve a supporting judgment from the Trademark Office and the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (the “TRAB”), Unilever brought the case to the court.
(By Luo Yanjie)Abstract: Pursuant to Chinese Trademark Law, those applications having unhealthy influences shall not be used as trademarks. “Unhealthy influences” refers to a negative, or inactive influence that may detrimental to the interests and social order of the public, including political, economic, cultural, religious and ethnic allusions which are a registered trademark itself or a mark that is applied to goods or services. However, the Chinese Trademark Office should have a consistent attitude regarding the trademark adjudication standard for these unhealthy influences.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: In the event that a party unknowingly sells goods that infringe upon another party’s exclusive right to use a registered trademark but can prove that it has obtained the goods lawfully and is able to identify the supplier shall not be held liable for damages. In a case that a trademark holder separately sues sellers, despite no laws requesting the manufacturers to join in the lawsuit, for the purpose of preventing contradictory judgment, the courts could notify him or her requesting joinder. It is the manufacturers that could decide whether acting as a third party to join the lawsuit.