Today I bring to you a case study from our neighboring country, China, where a 3-D trademark lawsuit happened between well known Chivas Brothers (known for Scotch whisky, Chivas Regal) and two Shandong companies(Yantai Aowei Winery Co Ltd and Yantai Chivas Winery Co Ltd who produces and sell products under the brand name of Elysee Regal whisky). This is the first 3-D trademark lawsuit for which a decision have given by the Hangzhou intermediate court.
Chivas accused Shandong Companies of infringing their four trademarks (including trademark no. 877656)in 2009.
Chivas have three trademarks on the label, package and the characters written at the bottom and a 3-D trademark on the shape of the bottle.
· After three years of arguments, the Hangzhou intermediate court found out that Shandong Companies does infringe four trademarks of Chivas Brothers which included the three dimensional trademark on the shape of the bottle.
· Court findings of infringing activities:
§ Court said that accused were using the same company name as Chivas Regal (i.e. Elysee Regal).
§ Court found out that the company’s two different entities were involved in this infringement.
§ Court also found out that companies were producing and selling the same infringing products again and again even after being penalized number of times by the administrations for industry and commerce (AICs).
SHAPE COPIED, CHARACTERS WRITTEN AT THE BOTTOM COPIED, PACKAGING COPIED
Court ruled in the favor of Chivas Brothers and the decision was welcomed by the fraternity who owns 3-D trademarks for their products. This is the first ruling that have been given on the 3-D trademark in China.
Court gave these decisions in this case:
· Court asked Shandong Companies to immediately cease the infringing activities.
· It also told Shandong Companies to make an apology to Chivas Brothers in the newspapers.
· Court asked the accused party to pay a fine of Rmb 500,000 to the plaintiff.