Edited and translated by People's Daily Online
A court in Beijing rejected a request from rejected a request from Chivas Brothers, maker of Scotch whisky, to stop a Chinese company from using a similar brand name on clothing.
On July 15, 2003, a businessman surnamed Wen based in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province applied to China Trademark Office to register “Chivas Regal 88” as a trademark for garments, shoes, and hats. Chivas Brothers filed complaints but was all rejected by the office.
On Feb. 28, 2007, it applied to the Trademark Appeal Board for a review of the legitimacy of Wen’s trademark. The board ruled that Wen did not violate Chinese trademark law because the brand is used on different kinds of products. Discontent with the ruling, Chivas Brothers brought the case to the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court.
Chivas Brothers said that Wen infringed on the company’s copyright on the Chivas Regal trademark, including its graphic design, and that Chivas Regal 88 is a knockoff of its well-known brand Chivas Regal. Furthermore, the company argued that it has already used Chivas Regal on clothing.
The court said Chivas Brothers did not have enough evidence to prove that the whiskey brand was already “well-known” in China before the registration of Chivas Regal 88. The company also cannot prove that the design of its whiskey brand was completed and unveiled before the time Wen registered Chivas Regal 88.
In addition, Chivas Brothers has used Chivas Regal on the uniforms for its salespeople, not on clothing for commercial sale. The court ruled against Chivas Brothers because there was insufficient evidence to support the company’s claim that Wen illegally used its well-known brand.