On December 2011, in its ruling over the trademark infringement and unfair competition case against Guangzhou Century Baochi Clothing Company, Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court granted injunctive relief and monetary relief of 500,000 yuan to the Germany-based BMW AG.
It represented another victory for BMW after litigation against Century Baoma Company.
Shenzhen Century Baoma Clothing Company, the brand owner of Century Baoma, was registered in December 2004. The trademark of its main product is MBWL and figure under No.3249546, which was registered by a company with the name Germany Century Baoma Group. The group granted the trademark in October 2004 and then authorized Century Baoma Company for use of it.
For Century Baoma Company’s action of alternating blue and white design of “MBWL” trademark which was quite similar to that of the “BMW” trademark. In addition, the trade name of Century Baoma Group contained the two characters for “Baoma”, which constituted trademark infringement and unfair competition. The BMW then appealed to Hunan Higher People’s Court in August 2008. After hearing the case, the court held that Century Baoma Company committed trademark infringement and unfair competition on December 15, 2009.
Both parties did not appeal. As the ruling took effect, Century Baoma changed its name to Fengbaomafeng.
It is worth mentioning that in 2009 the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce also rendered a decision ordering that the trademark of “MBWL & Device” under No. 3249546 be cancelled from leather shoes, clothes and caps and but allowed it to be maintained in other goods, such as ties.
The Century Baochi Company was established in November 2009, and expanded it market after obtaining the trademark of Fengbaomafeng and Figure under No.4719183 from Century Baoma group in April 2010. In February 2011, Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court took the trademark infringement and unfair competition case between the two companies.
BMW held that it has obtained the priority right in automobile and clothes, and Century Baochi constituted trademark infringement on the ground of using the blue and white design of trademark similar to BMW trademark in clothes, clothing label, brochures and website. The Century Baochi denied the accusation by arguing that it has been licensed for using the trademark and character by Century Baoma Group.
The Court held that the blue and white design of Century Baochi trademark was quite similar with that of the “BMW” trademark, which could cause confusion among the public. In addition, Century Baochi company’s action of using the characters Century Baoma Group in advertisement is likely to confuse and mislead consumers as to the sources of the goods. The above action constituted trademark infringement and unfair competition.
So the court granted injunctive relief and monetary relief of 500,000 yuan to BMW Group. It is learned that both the two sides filed an appeal recently. We would follow the developments of the case.(by Cui Wenyu)
FROM 【CHINA REPORT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY】