The S&F law blog


CHINA CLOSES 20 ILLEGAL LITERARY WEBSITES

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. Chinawriter.com.cn 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

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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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25.08.08-ebay-logo

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



China Easing Up on IP Enforcement According to U.S. report
The USTR recently released a report on IP infringement in China

The USTR recently released a report on IP infringement in China

As the global economic situation continues to deteriorate, U.S. trade officials are concerned that China could regress on intellectual property protections.

The annual “priority watch list,” released by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, said that despite increased attention toward intellectual property rights in China, officials there are pushing for less-stringent enforcement efforts, a concerning trend for footwear companies struggling to protect their brands abroad.

“I am particularly troubled by reports that Chinese officials are urging more lenient enforcement of [intellectual property rights] laws, motivated by the financial crisis and the need to maintain jobs,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “China needs to strengthen its approach to IPR protection and enforcement, not weaken it.”

According to the most recent statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, $102.3 million worth of fake shoes were seized in fiscal year 2008, which accounted for 38 percent of all infringing goods seized. China was the source of 81 percent of all goods seized for intellectual property violations in 2008. China was one of 12 countries named on the USTR’s priority watch list for countries that don’t adequately safeguard or enforce intellectual property rights. The list also included Russia, India, Thailand, Pakistan and, for the first time, Canada.

Source: Xinhua News

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Tom.com Sued By CCTV.com For Illegal Broadcasting Of Spring Festival Gala
April 28, 2009, 9:58 am
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China Central Television sued Tom.com

China Central Television sued Tom.com

CCTV.com, the official website for China Central Television, has sued Chinese Web portal Tom.com for illegaly broadcasting the 2009 Spring Festival Gala and asked the defendant for RMB 1 million in compensation.

The CCTV newtwork argued it invested heavily in the producing of both the 2009 Spring Festival Gala and the 2009 Lantern Festival Gala, which are the largest and most influential variety show parties for the TV station. Under the authorization of CCTV, CCTV.com enjoys the exclusive rights to spread the videos via the Internet.

CCTV.com states that Tom.com broadcasted these videos on its website without authorization and placed a large number of commercial advertisements on the pages of the gala feature.The case has been accepted by Beijing Dongcheng People’s Court and a hearing is ongoing.

Source:Chinatechnews.com



Noah accused of patent infringement
April 21, 2009, 1:02 pm
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sf law, www.sflaw.cn, s&f law, intellectual property, China

Noah produces a popular series of electronic dictionaries

A TV ad for the latest educational product made by Shenzhen-based Noah Education Holding Ltd promises that “Touching the words on the screen of a Noah digital-and-pronouncing learning devices (DLD), it will perform the pronunciation of the words”.Noah, the country’s leading DLD provider, has been involved in a patent-violation lawsuit.

Noah Education Holding Ltd recently lost the first round of a lawsuit filed by Shenzhen-based Vanhon Information and Technology Development Co.

Noah was accused of pirating Vanhon’s patent on DLDs. Following the judgment in Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court, Noah was required to stop manufacturing and selling its NP12 DLD products, and to pay RMB 500,000.

The  driving force that made Vanhon finally file a lawsuit to fight patent piracy in 2007 was Noah’s large-scale branding campaign through the TV advertisements, which helped Noah’s DLD products win public attention and contributed in good measure to Noah’s impressive sales revenue.

In response, Noah announced that compared with Vanhon’s DLD products, Noah’s NP12 DLD products contain additional and unique functions.

Source: English.ipr.gov.cn



CHINA’S STATE ADMINISTRATION FOR INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE SUED BY DAIMLER-BENZ

www.S&Flaw.cn intellectual property law ChinaDaimler-Benz has decided to take China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) to court after it rejected a trademark application by the German company.

After setting up a joint venture in August 2005 called Beijing Benz Daimler Chrysler, Daimler submitted an application to the PRC Trademark Office to register the trademark BEIJING BENZ. Since then this application and a subsequent appeal has been turned down.

The reason for the refusal, given by SAIC’s representatives, is that Daimler’s application violates Chinese Trademark regulations. By using ‘Beijing’ in its trademark it could misguide consumers about the origin of the products, SAIC representatives said. Further, any name of a region above county level in China is forbidden to be used as a trademark.

Daimler claims that ‘Beijing’ is used in the trademark to indicate the production place of the products, and so will not misguide any consumers.

No ruling has yet been reached.

Source: China CSR