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Weekly China Trademark News Updates
August 3, 2021
1. Licensed “Mulinsen in Chinese” infringed “FILA”
FILA Luxembourg S.à.r.l. (“FILA”) sued Fujian Shishi Fusheng Footwear Co., Ltd. (“Fusheng”) for two casual shoes and slippers that simultaneously printed the “Mulinsen in Chinese” trademark and a logo similar to the “FILA” trademark.
Fusheng asserted that it was not the products’ manufacturer and provided the trademark licensing agreements signed with Zhuzhou Jiamuhang Trade Development Co., Ltd. (“Jiamuhang”) and the approval issued by Jiamuhang that the alleged infringing products were produced by it. Accordingly, Fusheng asserted that the alleged infringing products were all produced by Jiamuhang, and Fusheng did not produce or sell the alleged infringing products.
The Fujian High Court found that the alleged infringing products bore the “Mulinsen in Chinese” trademark held by Fusheng, and that Fusheng’s corporate information was printed on the shoe box. Both the trademark and manufacturer information pointed to Fusheng. If there is no evidence to the contrary, it should be determined that Fusheng is the manufacturer of the alleged infringing product. Even if the alleged infringing product was produced by Jiamuhang without authorization, it would be an internal act of Jiamuhang violating the agreement with Fusheng in the performance of the trademark licensing agreement. Moreover, according to the agreement between the two parties, Fusheng should have known of the production of the alleged infringing products, thus, Fusheng should be liable for the legal consequences of trademark infringement caused by such act.
2. In the first half of 2021, intellectual property infringement crimes were mainly counterfeiting registered trademarks and selling products with counterfeit registered trademarks, which accounted for 80% of the total prosecuted cases
Last year, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate established an Intellectual Property Procuratorate Office to implement centralized and unified intellectual property criminal, civil, and administrative procuratorial work, and carried out pilot work Beijing, Shanghai, and nine other cities.
In terms of criminal prosecution, the efforts to handle cases have been significantly increased. From January to June 2021, procuratorial organs across the country prosecuted 6,017 people for intellectual property infringements, a 12.6% year-on-year increase. Among them, the counterfeiting registered trademarks crime and the selling products with counterfeit registered trademarks crime accounted for 80% of the total prosecuted cases.
In terms of civil prosecution, intellectual property related cases have also increased significantly. From January to June 2021, a total of 100 effective civil judgments and mediation cases involving intellectual property and competition disputes were accepted, an 88.7% year-on-year increase. Among them, there were 63 intellectual property rights disputes and infringement disputes, accounting for 63% of the total accepted.
3. The CNIPA: Continue to maintain a high-pressure state of combating malicious trademark registration applications
Recently, a reply letter issued by the CNIPA pointed out that under the current legal and policy framework, it is difficult to increase the trademark review power of the local administration of market regulation. The CNIPA will continue to maintain a high-pressure state of combating malicious trademark registration applications, strengthen credit supervision in the trademark field, actively promote the revision of relevant rules and regulations, and conduct research and demonstrations on key issues such as regulating malicious trademark registrations and strengthening the obligation to use trademarks in order to further improve trademark laws, systems, and laying the foundation.
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