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Written by : Gertrudis Perruzzi
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the legal battles of louis vuitton tesla mooji and new balance with chinese copycats speak volumes about the risks of doing business in china even the trump and bush names are victims of treymark squatters who registered those names as their own but motors the grandfather of chinese copycats has a serious lesson for all copycats hi i'm lay welcome to my show today we'll talk about how multinational brands have been fighting for their trademarks and logos in china this is the third video of my copycat trilogy you can check out my previous two videos at the end luxury brand louis vuitton has not only been fighting counterfeiting in china but also trademark squatting in 2002 wang jing a chinese fashion merchant in wuhan discovered that louis vuitton had registered only chinese and english trademarks but not its design patterns and also that the chinese trademark had expired he immediately applied to trademark louis vuitton and its chinese name as well as the company's patterns in october 2003 the state intellectual property office of china granted juan the trademarks in 2004 louis vuitton appealed after more than two years of review the agency ruled that once trademarks were valid in april 2007 lv appealed again and one threatened to mass produce the chinese version of lv products in 2009 the beijing first intermediate court route against wang jin and lv finally got its logo and patterns back pattern squatting is a common problem that multinational companies experience in china electric car maker tesla experienced it when it first entered china as early as september 2006 guangdong cosmetic merchant jian baushin applied to register the tesla trademark on 12 categories of automobile products and was approved in june of 2009 he then used the name and logo for his own products tesla tried to settle with him but failed so it filed a lawsuit in 2013. in august 2014 the beijing court announced that the case was under mediation and eventually it was settled in the same year the amount of settlement was not known but chinese media reported that zhang bao shen said that he was very satisfied with the amount former u.s president donald trump also had a trademark battle in china and it lasted for 10 years in 2006 he commissioned a beijing law firm to apply for the trump trademark in china in 2009 the trademark office rejected the application because a man from shenyang named dongway registered the same trademark 14 days earlier trump fought lawsuits for nearly 10 years and was dismissed at least four times it was not until he was elected president of the united states in 2016 that the chinese authorities invalidated dongway's trademark and approved trumps interestingly the timing of the approval was november 13 2016 10 days after he was elected president of the united states now trump is not the only us president with squadron interest in 2004 a chinese businessman applied to trademark the chinese name of former u.s president george w bush for use on diaper products but his application was rejected because the use of the names of national leaders may have an adverse social impact according to the chinese official response quoted by the new york times chinese edition in 2016. however not everyone has the chance to be president and treated favorably by the authorities the japanese brand muji for example is not so lucky its logo products stores and styles are closely copied by the chinese brand natural mill the two chinese logos and brand names are exactly the same the only difference is the english name muji started fighting for its trade name in china as early as 2001 after 18 years of legal battles and multiple appeals mooji lost the case in 2019 and was ordered to pay the chinese copycat 625 000 yuan or about a hundred thousand us dollars for losses the worst of it is that muji itself cannot use the chinese muji trademark on 24 of its own textile products in china but hands down the most outstanding drama involving trademark battles is that of american athletic shoe brand new balance when new balance entered the chinese market in the 1990s its chinese brand new balance was underhandedly registered by its chinese partner yang zhang yolian footwear company using this trademark the chinese company produced large quantities of counterfeit products causing severe losses to new balance as a result new balance withdrew from the chinese market in 2003 new balance returned to china and registered the trademarks new balance and b and the trademark letter n however it forgot to register the chinese translation of the name new balance as a result the chinese new balance and new balloon were registered by a chinese company various chinese translations of new balance also sprung up in the market in 2013 cho lulun the owner of the chinese new balance trademark filed a lawsuit against new balance for infringement the guangzhou intermediate court ruled in 2015 that new balance immediately stopped using the chinese new balance name and compensate the plaintiff 98 million yuan which is about 50 million us dollars new balance was also ordered to publish an apology on the new balance chinese official website the amount was later reduced to 5 million yuan but new balance kept fighting on in a decision on january 5th this year the shanghai huangpu district court ordered the chinese company and its manufacturer and distributor to pay damages of 25 million yuan or 3.85 million dollars to new balance the ruling came at the time when the chinese top leadership is greatly concerned about the ongoing decoupling trend from china and may be intended as a friendly gesture towards outside investors when in this case however is significant for new balance after two decades of battles it's also worth looking at the fate of a chinese automaker that can be called the grandfather of chinese copycats shanghua motors was established in 1988 as a repair and remodeling shop for chinese-made military jeeps in the 1990s it made its first car by copying jeep cherokee it even had the word jeep printed on the car's body its second car was a suv called srv which is a copy of honda's popular crv in 2003 honda sued xianghui motor for copying the crv but the chinese court ruled against honda and the company had to compensate shanghua for economic losses of 16 million yuan or about 2.4 million u.s dollars its third car an suv called s ceo was an alleged copy of the bmw x5 bmw did not sue stronghold initially but when zhang juan planned to sell the copycat suv to europe bmw filed a case and blocked the copycat x5 from entering the german market within its 28 years of history sranghai made only four cars all of which were copies its s6 was a copy of mercedes-benz smart car and was called the chinese smart blinded by the short-term benefits of copying the company didn't invest in r d had no new products within eight years and lacked the ability to solve technical issues this eventually led to cash flow problems and the withdrawal of dealers when shanghai was in crisis and sought external help no domestic or foreign auto groups ultimately offered to acquire the company due to its poor reputation outsi
Thanks for your comment Patrina Bleau, have a nice day.
- Gertrudis Perruzzi, Staff Member
hey everybody my name is marcelo dominguez and i welcome you back to my trademark channel here you are going to learn about everything trademark related whether you're a small business or medium-sized business online or offline if you haven't subscribed i invite you to do so right now before you even start watching this video if you are wondering how in the world am i going to put a stop to trademark infringement how am i going to stop that person from using my name slogan brand trademark because they've been using it after i started using it then you want to stay tuned and watch everything i have to say because you might take a few take home tips you see trademark infringement is a really big deal it's a big deal on amazon even off of amazon if you have an online store or if you have a brick and mortar store right now the issue is obviously more prevalent in online businesses and on amazon because of what is going on people working more behind their computers rather than visiting brick and mortar locations but the issue of trademark infringement has been around for a really really long time it is such an important issue that you need to make yourself aware of for various reasons which i am going to touch on in this video reason number one you need to know about trademark infringement because if you ever encounter it in other words if somebody sends you a letter letting you know that you have been trademark infringing you might not even know it you didn't know that you were using a slogan or a business name that is already in use by somebody else moreover that business name or slogan or tagline might not even be the exact same one as the one you're using and i'll tell you a little tip it's a little secret more often than not the name you are using is not going to be the exact same as the one that the trademark infringer is claiming you are infringing upon so in other words it might be similar to someone else's and they still might have the right to say that you are trademark infringing and so in those situations you might feel totally caught off guard you think to yourself but mine is so different mine is not the exact same i do not even sell the exact same products well let me tell you there's a lot of gray area when it comes to trademark infringement and i mean gray area in the mind of the consumer so if you're someone that sells on amazon then it's very important for you to know how you're going to approach this situation what am i going to do am i going to respond to this person first am i going to reach out to an attorney first so that is reason number one and i want to address that very question that i left you hanging with right now should you respond to the trademark phone call that lets you know you're infringing should you respond to the letter that tells you you are trademark infringing or should you reach out to an attorney first and my suggestion is always this if you feel you are really in a predicament and you might dig yourself a deeper hole by responding to that letter or to that phone call then i suggest that you reach out to an attorney first you see the information that you provide either on a phone call or through an email or through a letter through any means of communication can be used against you later now that sounds so cliche right it sounds some like something a typical lawyer would say anything you say can and will be used against you but that is the truth so you want to make sure that you are saying and providing information that is accurate and that won't later be used against you so sometimes you have to be careful of how you word things there are different ways to explain facts so you want to make sure that you aren't going to get yourself into any kind of trouble by responding in your choice of words so that's what an attorney is there for to kind of make sure that you're responding in such a way that you aren't digging a deeper hole for yourself now reason number three if you are made aware that you are trademark infringing it might not always be in the form of a phone call or a letter or an email and i'll tell you if you are in the trademark application process there is something called a notice of opposition now a notice of opposition is a formal filing typically by a lawyer through the trademark trial and appeal board that basically tells the trademark trial and appeal board hey i want to put a stop to this person's application for such and such reasons one of those reasons could be trademark infringement so it might not always be in the form of an email or a phone call it's going to come in a circumstance which might not be that familiar to you everybody familiarizes themselves with emails and with phone calls so you know that could be expected but when it comes in the form of a notice of opposition through you know the trademark process or through your trademark journey then it might really throw you off guard i don't want that to set you back so if you're interested in finding out why you received a notice of opposition or if you're interested in being defended against a notice of opposition then make sure that you click down below you have to scroll down into the description so use your mouse keep scrolling until you find the information that you need to be able to contact me remember it's free to send an email so i just want to remind you that responding to a trademark infringement can sometimes be as easy as responding to a phone call and working it out with the other side and if you're somebody who prefers to do all of this in email that is good because it's always great to formalize communications in such a way that you can refer back to them later but i'm not so sure that i would recommend that you should respond on your own with your own words in your own language using your you know using however you would personally respond because that could get you in trouble later now again to recap you could also be receiving a trademark infringement notice through a notice of opposition now i want to give you an example of some of the clients that i've helped without telling you all of the details but what i can say is what i have said already and that is that most of the time you're not going to be contacted by somebody who has the exact same name as the one you're trying to use more often than not it's going to be someone who's using a similar name and so that's also going to throw you off guard so trademark infringement is all about understanding these nuances right um because it is common to get phone calls that say but how how could they be uh telling me that i'm infringing why would i receive a c synthesis letter if mine is different than theirs my spelling the spelling of my name the spelling of my slogan or tagline is different maybe it's different by just a couple of letters maybe it's different by just a couple of words but nonetheless uh consumer confusion in the marketplace is what ultimately drives attorneys to send that cease and desist letter or to oppose someone's trademark so it's really important that if you want to understand what is actually going on that you hire an attorney
Thanks Jamie your participation is very much appreciated
- Gertrudis Perruzzi
About the author
I've studied historical geography at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks and I am an expert in journalism (outline). I usually feel aggravated. My previous job was transportation attendants I held this position for 7 years, I love talking about shooting sports and sand art. Huge fan of Danny Koker I practice wrestling and collect bicycles.
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