China Trademark Squatters Have Not Been Ignoring the UK

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If you’re a big fan of China trademark squatting, or rather stories about the issue, check this out. Malcolm Moore and his Telegraph colleagues have done a bit of digging and come up with some good examples of China trademark squatters who have registered famous UK brands:

Investors in UK companies from Mulberry to Burberry owe much of their recent new found wealth to China’s love of prestige marques. But the country’s love of a name has taken a fresh twist.

An investigation by the The Daily Telegraph has found that it’s not just handbags that the Chinese are snapping up. It’s the names of the brands themselves.

In a revelation that will shock many UK business leaders, it has emerged that High Street names are being registered by Chinese individuals in their droves.

Nice article, although if any UK business leaders are shocked at this information, they probably shouldn’t be leading anyone about anything. This is a well-known story that international business types should already know about.

Some nice quotes in there by China Law Blog’s Dan Harris. I think some additional context might have been helpful to explain this one, however:

Chinese courts look dimly on Western companies who complain their brand has been registered by another party in “bad faith”.

This is one of those “it depends” situations. If you go to court (or, more likely, the Trademark Review and Administrative Board) with sufficient evidence, then TRAB will, eventually, be happy to rule on your trademark cancellation action. It might take a couple years, though, which might be a non-starter for a lot of folks. That’s why Dan suggests that a re-branding might be necessary. However, for brand owners like Hermes and Chivas, the problem was lack of evidence that they were well-known in China at the time the mark was registered by the squatter.

Anyway, good stuff. Go read it.