Intellectual property issues in China have made headline numerous times this year. Popular brands such as Apple, Michael Jordan and Hermes (to name a few) have experienced just how interesting enforcing trademarks in China can be.
Louis Vuitton is now having a hard time with intellectual property infringement in China. LVMH is the well known trademark of the luxury giant. However, in 2002 Newera Enterprises Company Limited applied to register the trademark “LVMH” in Class 21 for:
cooking pot sets; thermally insulated containers for food, isothermic bags; basins; lunch boxes; chopsticks; bowels; bottles; and iron spoons.
In 2003, LVMH filed and opposed the registration, but the application was rejected. In 2008 an application for review was filed with the Trademark Review and Adjustment Board (TRAB), this too was rejected.
Newera’s application to register the mark was approved. The rationale was that LVMH was not a well known mark, and because the goods produced by LVMH and Newera were so different, confusion would not be created in the marketplace. Both trademarks could coexists.
LVMH appealed to the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court and on 20 December 2011, the Court decided that the goods of Newera and LVMH were closely related in respect of function, use and consumption. The Court therefore overruled the TRAB’s decision. The TRAB is fuming and have appealed to the Beijing Higher People’s Court. The case is pending.
It will be interesting to see what the Higher People’s Court decide. Make sure you follow @AsianFashionLaw on twitter to find out what happens next.
From your legal fashionista,