Brooks Brothers Successfully Protects Golden Fleece Trademark

Brooks Brothers Successfully Protects Golden Fleece Trademark

2014/11/3

Recently, the Supreme People's Court of China made a decision to overrule the judgments of Golden Fleece trademark lawsuit made by Beijing High People's Court and Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court. The Supreme Court made a motion to dismiss plaintiff for lack of standing.


Transferred from a Chinese nature person surnamed Yuan to a British company Whisey Bens Fashion Control Limited (hereinafter as Whisey Bens), the questioned trademark No. 3158776 Sheep logo (as Image 1) was registered to utilize on Class 25 products as clothing, shoes and socks. In the legal time limit, Retail Brand Alliance, Inc., the owner of the cited trademark (as Image 2) as well as the predecessor of Brooks Brothers Group, Inc.(hereinafter as Brooks Brothers), filed a dispute to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of China (SAIC). Brooks Brothers claimed that, the cited trade mark, Golden Fleece logo, had been used in China for years and had a certain reputation; the questioned trademark was similar to the cited trademark and would cause confusion of consumers. TRAB revoked the questioned trademark for the reason that Whisey Bens was dissolved and had no right to register trademark. Whisey Bens then filed a lawsuit against the decision.


Whisey Bens claimed that, the reason for its dissolution was failing to pay the address fee, and it operated normally; TRAB's revoking the trademark was beyond its jurisdiction. Both the intermediate court and the high court dismissed TRAB's decision. Then Brooks Brothers filed an application to retrial to the Supreme People's Court.


The Court found that there were two British companies both named Whisey Bens Fashion Control Limited involved in the case. One is No. 4668587 Whisey Bens Fashion Control Limited (hereinafter as No.587 company) dissolved in November 2004, which was the assignee of the questioned trademark. The other is No. 6611002 Whisey Bens Fashion Control Limited registered in June 2008, which is the plaintiff of the case. Brooks Brothers claimed that Whisey Bens had no relationship with No. 587 company, which meant lack of standing in the case. While Whisey Bens claimed that it inherited No. 587 company, and was absolutely able to be the plaintiff.


The Court held that, Whisey Bens and No. 587 company has each independent legal standing; Whisey Bens did not have an inherit relationship after No. 587 company; there is no stake of Whisey Bens in the trademark dispute; for which Whisey Bens has no legal standing to be the plaintiff. Accordingly, the court made the decision. 


(Source: China IP News)




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