Case Study

All the cases included in CNPTlaw’s Case Study section are trademark, patent and copyright cases in China, through which you can have a better understanding of the Chinese IP laws and related regulations. Part of the cases are sorted and edited by CNPTlaw.

Case Samples

The China trademark and patent law system is difference with that of many other countries. With display of the following cases, we hope to help you gain a better understanding of the legal system of trademark and patent in China.

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The Paintor Still Enjoys the Right to Exhibit the Duplicate of the Artistic Work after Giving the Original to Others

If the copyright owner of a fine art work gives the original work to a commercial operator, the right to exhibit the original will belong to the recipient, but the right to exhibit the duplicate copy of the fine art still belong to the copyright owner. Without the authorization of the copyright owner, the exhibition of the duplicate copy in the business place with the possibility of being watched by the public will constitute infringement.


Trademark “BATTLESTAR GALACTICA” in Chinese & Latin characters” Invalidated by China Trademark Review and Adjudication Board for being Identical with a Universal Movie Name

The trademark “BATTLESTAR GALACTICA” in Chinese & Latin characters” filed in Class 28 was invalidated by China Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) for being identical with a universal movie name. Though commercialization right of movie name or character is not an existing right as confirmed by Chinese laws, when such name/character can bring extra profits to the producer, its right should also be protected by the law.


Beijing High People’s Court Refused Trademark Containing “315”: The Mark Will Have Unhealthy Influence

The number “315” usually refers to “World Consumer Rights Day”and 12315 is a Consumer Complaint Hotline and Internet Platform. Beijing High People’s Court’s judgment holds that the use of the number “21315” as a trademark will dilute the recognition of “12315” as a public welfare hotline thus affect the protection of public’s benefits and having unhealthy influence on the public welfare and order.


Trademark BARBIE in Class 29 Refused for Having Meaning of Barbecue

Mattel Company which creates the most popular Barbie Dolls received a final refusal on the mark “BARBIE” under No. 17433168 on goods in Class 29 by Beijing High People’s Court on the basis that the trademark is deceptive and misleading on the designated goods.


ZhiGuoGuo Failed in the Final Instance in Registering Trademark of “ZhiGuoGuo in Chinese characters” in Class 9

ZhiGuoGuo, an Internet-based trademark agent, applied for the mark “(ZhiGuoGuo in Chinese characters)” on computer softwares in Class 9, and this mark was refused of registration in accordance with Paragragh 4, Article 19 of China’s Trademark Law:
Except for the trademarks entrusted, trademark agencies must not apply for any other trademark registration.
This article is to prohibit trademark agencies from registering trademarks with bad faith with the purpose of hoarding marks and selling the same with high prices. Such behaviors would disturb the market of trademark registration. ZhiGuoGuo Company was dissatisfied with the decision of the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) and filed a litigation. But it finally failed due to the above-mentioned article. In recent days, Beijing High Court made the judgment of the second instance, affirming that ZhiGuoGuo should not register marks in Class 9.


Retrial judgment on disputes among Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Nanjing Golden Hope Winery Co., Ltd. and Trademark Review and Adjudication Board.

Chateau Lafite fights for its trademark right over the transliteration “拉菲”. This case went through first, second instance and retrial, and finally Chateau Lafite got supported from the Supreme Court, holding that “拉菲” and “Lafite” established transliteration correspondence.


Commercial Use of One’s Name Shall Not Infringe Prior Well-known Trademark Right

Beijing Qingfeng Baozi Shop sued Shandong Qingfeng Catering Management Co., Ltd,. for infringement of trademark right and unfair competition in 2016. This case went through first instance, second instance and retrial by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court finally overturned the previous judgments and supported the applicant of the retrial.


Simmons Brand on Mattress Products Becomes a Generic Name and was Finally Refused by China’s Supreme Court

The mark "Simmons in Chinese characters" on related goods such as mattress in Class 20 was refused of registration by the China Trademark Office, on the ground that it has become a generic name. The trademark owner Dreamwell company filed review application and further litigation. Lately the Chinese Supreme Court made the judgment that this mark should not be approved on the initial refused goods.


Black Duck Zhou’s Trademark “Suo Xian(meaning lock freshness)” Remained Valid: Not a Direct Description of Quality Characteristics of the Products

Black Duck Zhou’s Trademark “Suo Xian(in Chinese characters; meaning lock freshness)” was registered in 2015, and later Wuhan Lingdian Green Food Limited filed an invalidation against it claiming that this mark directly indicates the characteristic of the food and is not distinctive to be used/registered as a trademark. This invalidation was supported by China Trademark Review and Adjudication Board. Black Duck Zhou filed the litigation, and after two instances, the mark was remained valid.


M&G Won a Pen Patent Case against Deli: Adding Descriptive Elements to a Similar Design Will Not Have Substantial Influence on Infringement

Adding elements like color, device to the sued infringing design is regarded as extra added design elements and will not have substantial influence on the judgment of the infringement, as long as the sued design is similar with registered design. Otherwise, other parties could easily avoid patent infringement by adding devices or colors which goes against the legislative intention of the Patent Law to encourage innovation and to promote technology progress.

The amount of lawyers’ fee is decided by autonomy of will between the concerned party and the lawyers, and the court will not intervene. But the amount of plaintiff’s expenses which is regulated by law to be paid by the infringer should be limited with reasonable amount. The expenses which go beyond the reasonable amount should not be paid by the infringer. Considering the complexity of this case, the load of work of the lawyers, the actual amount of compensation and the required amount of compensation, and taking the standard lawyers’ fee provided by judicial administration into reference, the court decided that the defendant should pay RMB 50, 000 as the plaintiff’s lawyers’ fee.