Nemo Finds Its Way: Disney Nails 9-year Trademark Battle

发布时间: 2017/9/20 10:42:00

  FINDING NEMO(Chinese translation: 海底总动员), produced by the U.S.-based Walt Disney Company in 2013 quickly became a smash hit around the world with its excellent production as well as well-knit, humorous and thought-provoking plot. However, what caught us by surprise was that the Chinese translation of the animation accidentally triggered a transnational trademark dispute.

  Beijing High People's Court recently wrapped up this 9-year trademark dispute with its final-instance judgment, rejecting the registration of No. 4304882 "海底总动员" trademark (hereinafter referred to as trademark in dispute) owned by Beijing Dianshichengjing Investment Management Company, upholding the decision by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board(TRAB)under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce(SAIC)。

  The animation FINDING NEMO was released in China on July 30 the same year after its premiere in the U.S. on May 30, 2003. On October 11, 2004, Beijing Green Spring Technology Development Company applied for trademark registration for "海底总动员"the trademark in dispute, certified to be used on Class 28 products. The Trade Mark Office(TMO) under the SAIC preliminarily approved and published the trademark in dispute on February 27, 2008.

  The Beijing-based company changed twice its company name as well as the title of applicant for the trademark in dispute. The title of applicant was approved to be changed Beijing Zhongde Ji'en Chemical Technology on August 6, 2009 and to Dianshichengjing Company on July 26,2011.

  On May 27, 2008, Disney filed an opposition request with the TMO citing its No. 3251710 "FINDING NEMO"(hereinafter referred to as reference mark), which was filed for registration on July 23, 2002 and certified to be used on Class 28 products on December 28, 2003.

  After examination, the TMO approved the registration of the trademark in dispute on March 2, 2011. Disney then sought reexamination at the TRAB on April 19 that year. The TRAB rejected the registration of trademark in dispute on June 24, 2013.

  The disgruntled Dianshichengjing Company brought the proceeding with Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court. In its first-instance decision, the Beijing No. 1 Court upheld the TRAB decision on October 17, 2014. After two loss in a row, Dianshichengjing had no choice but pinning its last hope in Beijing High People's Court.

  Beijing High held that before the date trademark in dispute was filed, FINDING NEMO had enjoyed popularity and reputation among consumers in China after release and had a close association with Disney. Although there were other forms of Chinese translation of the animation, it was not enough to affect the corresponding relations between "海底总动员" and "FINDING NEMO". Under such circumstances, the trademark in dispute was used on the same or similar products with the reference mark which would cause confusion on the source of products among consumers.

  In this connection, Beijing High rejected the appeal from Dianshichengjing Company and upheld first-instance judgment. (by Wang Guohao)

  (Editor Li Xingyi)

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主办单位:中国知识产权报社 未经许可不得复制