Playboy wins trademark lawsuits in China

发布时间: 2017/5/26 15:58:00

  Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court recently made a final decision on trademark disputes filed by Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. against two Chinese companies, Shanghai Baotu Investment Company and Guangzhou Meitu Leather Company, awarding the Playboy Company 800,000 yuan compensation for damages and economic losses, Shanghai Baotu and Guangzhou Meitu ceasing infringement immediately, dismissing the two defendants' appeal and sustaining the original judgment.

  Established in 1953, the Playboy Company built the Playboy into a world renowned brand. In China, the Playboy Company owns the No. 271819 trademarks of PLAYBOY, the No. 11873706 trademark of Playboy ICON and the No. 272971 the rabbit head figure trademark. In November 2012, the Playboy Company signed license agreements with GDB, ICON and SINO. According to the agreement, the Playboy Company licensed the ICON Company to use the trademarks mentioned above and the license was not allowed to re-license to a third party without the Playboy Company's written authorization materials.

  However, the Playboy Company found that the products manufactured by Shanghai Baotu and distributed by Guangzhou Meitu, had used PLAYBOY as trademark. The Playboy Company held that the two companies had violated its exclusive right to use the registered trademarks. The Playboy Company decided to safeguard its rights and interests. Later, the Playboy Company brought the two companies to the court and seek to cease infringement and 3 million yuan compensation for damages and economic losses.

  Shanghai Baotu held that it had signed entrusted brand operation agreement with the SINO Company and was authorized to use the Playboy trademark. Guangzhou Meitu held that it was a legal distributor and no trademark violation constituted.

  In the first-instance decision, the court held that the SINO company had no rights to reauthorize to a third party based on relevant agreements, as a result, Shanghai Baotu failed to gain the Playboy trademark operation rights. As a distributor, Guanghzou Meitu failed to fulfill the reasonable attention obligation. The court then made a first-instance decision that the two defendants cease infringement immediately and pay 800,000 yuan economic losses. Disgruntled defendants then appealed to Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court, which sustained the original judgment.(by Wang Guohao)


(Translator Jiang Xu Editor Yan Ru


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