The S&F law blog


China’s National Working Group of Eliminating Pornography and Illegal Publications has announced achievements that it has made since campaigns were launched earlier this year against illegal online and mobile phone publications. NWGEPIP stated on October 20 that since the special campaigns were launched to crack down on vulgar online and mobile phone content, China had seized 1414 illegal online literary works, closed 20 websites that were found spreading pornographic information, and deleted a total of more than 30,000 links to illegal web pages. Meanwhile, NWGEPIP has also issued a special circular which asks each region around China to make efforts to stop the spread of vulgar novels online and remove unhealthy content from websites. In addition, NWGEPIP also states operators of websites publishing pornographic publications will be severely punished. A representative from General Administration of Press and Publication stated that in the first nine months of this year, various measures were taken to monitor online publications and up to 50,000 literary works of more than 4000 websites were monitored. GAPP will continue to focus on four areas: making relevant regulations, speeding up the construction of online publication monitoring system, establishing a GAPP online publication monitoring center, and promoting the construction of Chinese online literary publication platform. News about these closures comes days after Chinese authors rallied online against Google’s plans to start a digital Chinese library service. has posted a message allegedly from Google which states that the American search engine will compensate Chinese writers USD60 for each book of each writer who agrees to allow Google to use the book online. The search engine stated in the announcement that it would pay at least USD60 to each writer for each book if the writer agrees to reconcile with Google, and the writer can receive 63% of the revenue from readers’ online downloading of the book in the future. Many writers have refused to accept the reconciliation agreement and have spurned Google’s take-it-or-leave-it attitude. The authors state they plan to continue to fight Google’s plans.

Source:Shanghai Daily


Chivas Regal tastes success in China securing special trademark status

The Chivas and Chivas Regal names have been recognized as well known trademarks

The Chivas and Chivas Regal names have been recognized as well known trademarks

A Scotch whisky distiller yesterday claimed a victory in the battle to protect its flagship brand in China.

The names Chivas and Chivas Regal – in English and Chinese characters – have been recognised by the Chinese Trade Marks Office (CTMO) as “well-known” trademarks.

Being granted that status elevates Chivas protection above that of ordinary registered trademarks, the firm said.

The ruling means that third parties will no longer be able to use the names or similar words to market other goods which “may cause confusion in China”.

Recognition for the brand comes after the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) convinced the CTMO last August to recognize the phrase “Scotch whisky” as a “collective trademark”.

At the time, patent attorneys warned companies to register their own trademarks as well in order to protect their brands.

Figures from the SWA show that direct whisky exports to China grew by 5 per cent last year to £44 million.

Scotch now accounts for a fifth of all Scottish manufactured exports to the country.

Christian Porta, chairman and chief executive of Chivas Brothers, said: “This formal recognition of Chivas as a well-known trademark will strengthen protection of the Chivas brand in China.

“It prevents third parties from taking advantage of the reputation and goodwill that has been generated by the Chivas brand.”

He added: “This is an important result for Chivas Brothers as China is the largest market for Chivas Regal Scotch whisky and a significant investment is made to promote the brand throughout China every year.”

Chivas Regal is one of owner Pernod Ricard’s 15 “strategic brands”, which means it receives wide global distribution. The drinks giant’s other whisky brands include Ballantine’s, the Glenlivet, Aberlour and Scapa.

Porta added: “We are also extremely grateful to both the UK Embassy in Beijing and the SWA, which actively supported our efforts to achieve this well-known trademark recognition.”

Last year, the value of Scotch whisky exports topped £3 billion for the first time, with the equivalent of more than a billion bottles shipped abroad. A spokesman for the SWA said: “China is an important emerging market for Scotch and we’re working closely with distillers to ensure that there is a strong legal framework in place to protect their intellectual property rights.”

In its recent brands report, patent attorney firm Marks & Clerk highlighted steps China was taking to combat its reputation for counterfeiting.

Last year, a Chinese court awarded $182,000 to Diageo after a Shanghai firm was found to be copying the design of Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky.

Source: Shanghai Daily

EBay Global wins suit against L’Oreal
May 27, 2009, 9:19 am
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EBay has won a court battle against French cosmetics group L’Oreal, which had claimed the online marketplace was jointly liable for trademark infringements committed by its users.

Last Friday’s decision is the latest in a series of legal tussles between the two firms as luxury goods groups seek to crack down on the sale of counterfeit goods.

L’Oreal, which owns brands Lancome and Yves Saint Laurent Beaute, lost a similar case in France last week, and is appealing against a defeat in Belgium.

However, it won two cases in Germany that involved fake perfumes and products without wrapping.

“This is an important judgment because it ensures that consumers can continue to buy genuine products at competitive prices on eBay,” said Richard Ambrose, eBay’s head of trust and safety.

“Following legal victories for eBay in the UK, US, France and Belgium, we reiterate again that cooperation and dialogue is what is needed, not litigation. Only by working together can we collectively address the issues that concern eBay, rights owners and consumers,” he said.

L’Oreal noted in a statement that the court had “agreed with the view held from the outset by L’Oreal that eBay could do more to prevent trademark infringement.”

It said the judge had referred other issues of law raised by the case to the European Court of Justice for further guidance, and that it “remains confident of a positive outcome.”

Source: Shanghai Daily

Wangzhihe to win case against german competitor
April 22, 2009, 2:08 pm
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Wangzhihe is one of China's oldest food brands

Wangzhihe is one of China's oldest food brands

A centennial Chinese brand is very likely to win a landmark lawsuit case over a German firm that rush-registered its trademark, a Chinese official said yesterday.

Wangzhihe Food Group, producer of the popular Chinese food bean curd under the brand name Wangzhihe, may get the trademark back in Germany tomorrow, when the Munich High Court makes a ruling, Vice-Minister of State Administration for Industry and Commerce Li Jianchang said.

The case dates back to July 2006, when the Chinese firm wanted to register in Germany, only to find that Germany-based OKAI had already registered its trademark.

Wangzhihe took OKAI to court in January 2007 after the two failed to reach an agreement. On Nov 14, 2007, a Munich court found OKAI guilty of trademark infringement. But OKAI appealed to the Munich High Court in February, 2008.

Source: China Daily

Chinese Vice Premier calls for an IPR system considerate of Developing nations’ interests
April 15, 2009, 2:26 pm
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Vice Premier Wang Qishan called for a fairer IPR system

Vice Premier Wang Qishan called for a fairer IPR system

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said, at an inter-regional intellectual property forum of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), that a balanced and effective intellectual property rights (IPR) system must take account of the interests of developing countries.
He said strengthening IPR innovation, usage, protection and management, as well as promoting a balanced and effective IPR system has become a major topic of international concern.

“To achieve this goal, we should deepen our understanding of the IPR system, set innovation encouragement and promoting development as the goal of the system, respect uniqueness of each country and comprehensively consider the interests of each nation, especially developing nations,” Wang said.

“We should enhance dialogue, cooperation and consensus on the basis of equality of mutual benefits so as to jointly create a favorable environment for innovation, technological collaboration and trade.”

WIPO director-general Francis Gurry, who also attended the forum, urged advanced countries to provide developing nations with more assistance on innovative technology transfer.

“It is important to achieve a balance between technology innovation and diffusion,” Gurry said. Visiting China for the first time since he took office in October 2008, Gurry Praised the Chinese government for its achievements in IPR protection.

He said patent filings in Northeast Asia had boomed over the past 20 years, most notably in China and the Republic of Korea, which had emerged as major industrial economies.

China has intensified IPR protection, with nationwide campaigns launched every year since 2004. Last year, the government unveiled an Outline of National Intellectual Property Rights Strategy, aimed at promoting innovation and the use of new technologies by China’s industries.

Source: Xinhuanet

Traders sue market owner in Beijing
April 15, 2009, 12:14 pm
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Beijing's Silk Market vendors are pressured to remove counterfeit goods from their stalls

Beijing's Silk Market vendors are pressured to remove counterfeit goods from their stalls

Traders in Beijing’s Silk Market have filed a joint lawsuit for more than $70,000 in lost earnings after being temporarily shut down during a clampdown on the selling of counterfeit goods.
Beijing Silk Street Market Co Ltd (SSM), which runs the mall, previously well known as a place to buy cheap designer knock-offs, imposed a seven-day closure on 29 stalls this year.
According to the Beijing Daily, the traders’ lawyer claimed a report highlighting the alleged offenders lacked the evidence to prove vendors were selling counterfeit goods.
Wang Zili, general manager of SSM, said: “We need more evidence to convince the vendors fair and square.” The market traders have demanded RMB 19,000 each in compensation. Their lawyer claimed the market did not have the proper authority to shut down the stalls, adding the order must come from the China Administration for Industry and Commerce.
The market moved to the five-floor mall from a shabby alleyway in 2005 as the administrators wanted to clear out fake goods and build it into a center for Chinese specialties before the Beijing Olympics last summer.

Source: China Daily

China’s annual trademark applications rank world’s 1st for 7th straight year
April 9, 2009, 8:51 am
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www.S& Trademark Intellectual property ChinaBEIJING, April 7 — In 2008, nearly 700,000 trademark applications were submitted in China, marking the seventh consecutive year that the country has ranked first in the world for number of applications. This is according to information from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Inter-Regional High-Level Forum on Intellectual Property recently held in Beijing.

The State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) handled a total of over 17,000 trademark applications under the Madrid system for the international registration of trademarks in 2008, up 4.9 percent compared to the previous year and ranking first in the world for four years in a row. The cumulative number of such trademark applications reached more than 130,000.

The SAIC is also making progress in international trademarks protection. Prior to 1979, 20 countries and regions had come and registered trademarks in China. The number increased to over 130 by the end of 2008, with the cumulative number of registered trademarks reaching over 530,000, more than 100-fold increase from 30 years ago.

Source: Xinhuanet news