Bad Faith Trade Mark Registration in China: a Case Study

shutterstock_81193486-520x345It is always important to register your trade mark in China, as IP rights are territorial and European trade marks will have no automatic protection in China. Oftentimes, European SMEs ask their local partners to take care of trade mark registration as local partners already have a good understanding of the registration process. However,  a case study of today’s blog post demonstrates that European SMEs should always be on top of their trade mark registration as local partners may sometimes register European SMEs’ trade mark in bad faith. 

Introduction

Intellectual property (IP) is a key factor in the competitiveness of business in the global economy and it is particularly relevant to the SMEs as they internationalise their business to areas such as China. Although SMEs often have limited time and resources, it is important to be aware of how IP can benefit the business. Besides helping the SMEs to protect their innovations from competitors, IP assets can also be an important source of cash-flow for SMEs through licensing deals, as well as a significant pull-factor when attracting investors.

Even though China’s IPR regime has improved over the years, counterfeiting and other IP infringements still persist in China. Thus, IP protection is of utmost importance when doing business in or with China. SMEs normally start with registering their trade mark in China when starting their business activities. Because they invest time and money into building the reputation of the company, it would be very damaging to business if someone else began using their name to sell their own products or services. Trade mark registration offers protection against infringers, as in most cases only companies with registered trade marks are able to enforce their rights in China. Continue reading “Bad Faith Trade Mark Registration in China: a Case Study” »

How to Protect your Trade Mark in South-East Asia

trademarkWith the arrival of the new year, many SMEs are planning to start new business endeavors in the lucrative markets of South-East Asia. However, with all this new year’s enthusiasm, it is very easy to forget that counterfeiting and other IP violations are still commonplace in South-East Asia. Thus, it is very important to have a robust IP strategy in place when entering the promising markets of South-East Asia. In today’s blog post, we are, therefore, taking a closer look at trade mark protection in South-East Asia, focusing on trade mark registration, protection and enforcement. 

Generally speaking, a trade mark is a sign which serves on the market to distinguish the goods and services of one undertaking from others, and over which the owner has an exclusive right. Trade marks are words, logos, devices or other distinctive features which can be represented graphically. In some South-East Asia countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, they may also consist of the shape of goods or their packaging in three-dimensional form. As of now, Singapore is the only South-East Asian country to recognize trade marks based on sound.

Trade marks are an essential part of the identity of goods and services. They help deliver brand recognition, i.e. they distinguish your company from the competition. They also help to build trust, reputation and goodwill for your company as well as play an important role in marketing and advertising. A trade mark can become an important asset with significant monetary value for a company and should, thus, be protected. Continue reading “How to Protect your Trade Mark in South-East Asia” »

CALISSONS EN DANGER – DES LEÇONS À TIRER ET À RETENIR

Le blogue d’aujourd’hui a été rédigé pour nous par notre expert  en propriété intellectuelle Maître Philippe Girard-Foley de GIRARD-FOLEY & Associates en réponse à la couverture médiatique de l’affaire de Calissons d’Aix. Dans cet article de blogue  Maître Girard-Foley explique le cas en détail et donne quelques conseils sur quelles mesures pourraient être prises pour protéger la marque.

Introduction 

Les médias français résonnent de nouvelles alarmantes concernant l’appropriation des Calissons d’Aix par « la Chine » qui démontrent une grave méconnaissance du sujet. Il paraît urgent de réintroduire dans ce débat un peu de rationalité, ne serait-ce que pour le bénéfice des fabricants concernés et de producteurs français placés dans des conditions semblables de supposée vulnérabilité.

Une marque sans valeur ?

Une marque « Calissons d’Aix » ne vaut rigoureusement rien en Chine sur le plan commercial. Ceci pour la simple et pourtant évidente raison que les mots la constituant sont  incompréhensibles et impossibles à mémoriser pour un consommateur chinois.

La seule valeur de cette marque pourrait être de nuisance, faisant obstacle à l’entrée sur le marché chinois du produit authentique, ce qui serait donc une valeur de rachat.

En termes commerciaux, ce qui compte est (i) la translittération en langue chinoise, basée sur un concept ou sur une analogie phonique, car celle-ci est reconnaissable par le consommateur chinois et (ii) la marque figurative de l’apparence distinctive du calisson. Continue reading “CALISSONS EN DANGER – DES LEÇONS À TIRER ET À RETENIR” »