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Trial Docket: (2014) SuiZhongFaZhiMinChuZi No. 75
Appellate Docket: (2017) YueMinZhong No. 633
Guangdong Province

The Trademark Law of China, Article 13(2) provides, "A trademark application for registration for use in connection with unidentical or dissimilar goods which is a reproduction, imitation or translation of another's well known mark already registered in China and likely to mislead the public to the detriment of interests of the registrant of such well known marks shall be denied for registration and shall be enjoined from use."
Plaintiff: Jaguar Land Rover Limited
Defendant: Guangzhou Fenli Food Co., Ltd.
An affiliate of Land Rover registered in China in 1996, 2004 and 2005 "LAND ROVER" under No. 808,460, "路虎" ("Land Rover" in Chinese) under No. 3,514,202, and "LAND ROVER" under No. 4,309,460, all in class 12 for "land motor vehicles," which marks enjoy great reputation, and were subsequently assigned to Jaguar Land Rover Limited. Guangzhou Fenli Food Co., Ltd. ("Fenli") on its website and in its stores promotes and sells "Landrover (in Chinese) Vitamin Beverages" and used in connection with its products, packaging and websites the accused indicia including "Landrover (in Chinese)", "LANDROVER," "Landrover and Chinese Equivalent," as well as "(Chinese Equivalent) and LandRover in two lines." Fenli applied in 2010 for registration of trademark "(Chinese Equivalent) and LANDROVER" in class 30 for "nonmedical nutritional solutions" and in class 32 for "nonalcoholic beverages," but all were refused registration. Land Rover sued Fenli for infringement. The trial court ordered injunction and levied damages plus reasonable litigation cost for 1.2 million yuan. The appeals court found the evidence was ample to support Land Rover's claim that its trademark had become widely known in China to the extent of well known trademark. Defendant's infringing act had weakened the distinctiveness and good reputation of Land Rover's well known trademark, causing damages to Land Rover, and must be enjoined. The court dismissed the appeal, and affirmed.
[Judge's Comment]
This is an exemplary case of crossclass enhanced protection of well known trademarks. Apart from applying the basic principles of "Recognition by Need" and "Recognition by Case" in well known mark cases, another unique aspect of this case is that Fenli was found to have misappropriated large number of well known marks of well known entities or persons by forestalling trademark registrations. The appeals court affirmed the trial court's decision as appropriate, taking into account Land Rover's number of trademarks, well known status, Fenli's involvement in infringement suits, circumstances, time span, consequences and business activities, as well as Land Rover's reasonable expenses for the litigation, and awarding 1.2 million yuan. This amount of damages show the court's attitude toward curtailing bad faith trademark warehousing. This case has produced exemplary effect on enhancing protection of well known marks, on suppressing trademark squatting, educating public for respecting intellectual properties.