Starbucks Loses 7-year Trademark Battle

发布时间: 2017/7/26 14:32:00


  The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) approved the registration of No. 6418150 星冰乐 (Frappuccino in English) trademark application filed by Shanghai Mingbang Rubber Products Company (hereinafter referred to as Shanghai Mingbang), handing a loss to the U.S.-based Starbucks Corporation after a 7-year marathon.

  Back to December 2007, Shanghai Mingbang filed the No. 6418150 星冰乐 trademark application on Class 10 products of medical apparatus and instruments, condoms, non-chemical contraceptive, etc In November 2009, the Trademark Office (TMO) under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) preliminarily approved Shanghai Mingbang’s filings after examination.

  In March 2010, Starbucks challenged Shanghai Mingbang’s filing during the opposition phase and seek objection from TMO, which would approve Shanghai Mingbang’s filings after examination and denied Starbucks’s request. Starbucks then brought the case to TRAB under the SAIC to seek re-examination in January 2012.

  In December 2013, TRAB made a re-examination decision in favor of Shanghai Mingbang. Later then, Starbucks appealed to the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court. However, Starbucks lost the case. The disgruntled Starbucks then sought the last resort at the Beijing High People’s Court, alleging that Shanghai Mingbang copied their two registered trademarks and the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court failed to adopt the anti-dilution standards and did wrong in applying the laws.

  The Beijing High People’s Court held that Starbucks’ 星冰乐 and 星冰樂 trademarks were certified on products of drinks, different from Shanghai Mingbang’s application in the industry sectors and distribution channels. Even if the 星冰乐 and 星冰樂 trademarks constituted well-known marks, the trademark in disputes would cause no harm to Starbucks’s interests and rights. Meanwhile, dilution is one of the specific situations causing confusion among consumers and damaging trademark owner’s interests and rights. The court has made no mistake in the first-instance decision.

  The Beijing High People’s Court also held that the trademark in dispute would not have any negative effect on public interests or social order in China, it would not cause harm to China’s politics, economy, culture, religion, and ethnic groups.

  In this connection, the Beijing High People’s Court rejected Starbucks’s appeal and upheld the original decision. (by Wang Guohao)

  (Editor Li Xingyi)

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