Le Coq Sportif Triumphs in a Trademark Dispute

esse-pto-logo-e1322153301312-240x75The group buying websites now become the focus of attention due to selling counterfeits these days. Several industry top dogs such as Ao Meimei, Accessories Group, 58 Group,
Gaopeng and Dida make the infamous list. Discovering the Zouxiu website under Shenzhen Zouxiu Ltd. and Dida website under Beijing Jinridushi company selling the counterfeit products infringing their registered trademark, le coq sportif then brought the two defendants to the court. Beijing No.2 Intermediate Court recent entered a first-instance judgment on this case to conclude the one-year dispute, ordering the two defendants to cease infringement and indemnify 80,000 yuan and 20,000 yuan respectively in damages to the plaintiff.
As a well-known sport brand, le coq sportif was established in France in 1882 and the brand means a rooster having deep love for sport. From 1948, the rooster image was used as the trademark. During 1990s, the trademark privileges in China was transferred to a Japan-based company from a European company and this Japan company is the right holder of the le coq sportif and the rooster image. In March 2011, the right holder was reported that the defendant Dida website was selling a pair of sport wear on the price of 99 yuan which would be affirmed as counterfeit later.
The defendant Zouxiu website then issued a statement announcing that the sportswear they sold were legit products manufactured in Argentina. The products were exported to Hong Kong and then distributed in China’s mainland. They have all the necessary
documents proving the goods were legally imported.
The right holder investigated and collected evidence and then brought the case to the Beijing No.2 Intermediate Court on the ground of trademark infringement.
“The group buying websites are developing rapidly, and further development not only depends on the competition from outside, but also relies on self-regulation. Those who strictly operate in accordance with the law and regulations will be accepted by the consumers and those who act against the law will be inevitably abandoned,” Wang Ke, CEO of le coq sportif company told CIP News. The le coq sportif’s attorney from a Beijing IP firm told CIP News that the case is a typical trademark infringement case following the massive boom of group-on websites, the two defendants sold counterfeit products at an extremely low price and attempted to hide away from troubles on the ground of qualified products from overseas and made it
difficult to collect evidence and right claim. The court’s decision secures the rights and
interests of the right holders.
“The le coq sportif’s triumph in this case tested the credibility of the group buying industry and sent a strong message to them while paving a path for companies defending their IP rights, “One expert said. (Source: SIPO 2012-06-19)

Author and contributor:
ESSEN Patent & Trademark Office
Beijing | Shanghai | Suzhou | Taipei | Kaohsiung
Web: www.essenptl.com

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